Elaine Forrestal

Professor Louis Labrat

Although To See the Worldis now finished, I know that there will still be a lot of demands on my time until after the book is launched on the 1st May. Anne Chappel from the State Library of Western Australia is doing a great job of organising the launch, as part of the Heritage Festival, but there are always little unforeseen problems and details to sort out, often at short notice. So I can’t really settle to a new novel just yet.

Elaine Forrestal sharing one of her published picture books with students

At times like this it’s great to have something like the Professor Louis Labrat idea to play around with. I am hoping that the short story that is developing might turn out to be my next picture book, but even if it ends up going nowhere it’s fun to do. I tried out a rough version of the text on the four classes of Year 1s and 2s I was speaking to last week. My brief had been to give the students some insight into the process involved in writing and publishing books. As it happened I had, early that morning, been working on adding two new ‘scenes’ to the story. I took my messy hand-written additions with me so that the students could see the crossing-out, renumbering and adding-in that happens, even after you think that the story is finished. After reading Professor Louis Labrat to the students I got some great feedback, from them and their teachers. That gave me the confidence to recite it, like a poem, at the birthday party of a friend yesterday.  She had asked me, as she does, to tell one of my stories during the celebrations.

I’m still not sure whether Professor Louis Labrat is a poem, a song without music or a picture book without pictures at this stage, but everyone seems to love it so I will keep working on it and see how it eventually turns out.