I expect that Beans on Toast, the popular folky festival artist, will be toning down the sweary language in his new series of children’s books. Called The Fascinating Adventures Of Little Bee, the books will be coming out in time for Christmas, launching on December 1st, and there’s an accompanying album too.
Beans on Toast – aka Jay MacAllister – has been around the festival circuit for many years with his warm, funny, folk-based material. His songs concentrate mainly on matters of love, politics (no shortage of material there these days), drink and substance enjoyment.
Beans has now settled into family life, which has brought about a discovery – the pleasure of reading to small children. So, in collaboration with friends, he was inspired to create a series of books for children from two to ten years old. The main character is Little Bee, and he has this to say about the series…
“Since becoming a Dad a few years back, I’ve been fully immersed in kid’s books. I love them! Especially Julia Donaldson and Oliver Jeffers – incredible! I feel like kid’s books are very similar to folk songs. They’re simple, to the point, with a message about being kind to the world and its people. When Jaime and Lily (old friends who I wrote THIS song about many moons ago) presented me with a character they had invented, Little Bee, and asked if I had any ideas and what we could do with the character – I said yes – and this project of children’s stories and songs was born.”
He adds: “It’s completely different from anything I’ve ever done. I wrote the words and made the songs, Lily illustrated them, and the three of us planned where Little Bee would go on their fascinating adventures!”
The series takes us into the world of Little Bee. Presenting ten unique rhyming adventures, each will invite you on a journey to exotic new places, from the sea to the city, the woods to other worlds, into space and back in time.
Each of the ten books arrives with its own perfectly paired song, written and performed by Beans, from the dancefloor-ready disco of “To The Rainbow” to the futuristic synth-pop of “To Space”. Recorded at Durham Sound Studios with Kitty & Lewis Durham (of Kitty, Daisy & Lewis), plus Jack Flanagan (Mystery Jets) and Matt Magic Fingers, the songs will feature on an accompanying The Fascinating Adventures of Little Bee compilation album (also out 1 December).
There are four live shows across the UK to accompany. Expect live music, dancing, crafting and crowd participation. All followed by a kids’ dance party. The full list of dates are:
20 Nov – EDINBURGH – Scottish Storytelling Centre 2:30pm – 4pm
4 Dec – BRIGHTON – Komedia 1pm – 2:30pm
10 Dec – NOTTINGHAM – Rough Trade 1pm – 2:30pm
11 December – LONDON – The Clapham Grand 2pm – 4pm