Friday was looking “iffy”, as rain threatened to move the Savannah Children’s Book Festival inside the civic center on Saturday- which wouldn’t have been terrible. But at the author’s dinner Friday night, Christian, with the Live Oak Public Library, announced that the sun would shine on the 10th annual celebration of kids and reading. Christian was right, Saturday was picture perfect: sunny and 75- bringing an estimated 30,000-plus young fans of reading out to picturesque Forsyth Park to meet the creators of the books they love. The headliner was Marc Brown, creator of the popular “Arthur” series of books, and the TV show that followed. But other greats were in attendance as well- Christopher Paul Curtis, “The Watsons go to Birmingham-1963”, Nick Bruel “Bad Kitty”, John Erickson, “Hank the Cowdog”, Rachel Renee Russell, “Dork Diaries” and a young talented guy I spoke with at the author’s dinner- Peter Brown, “Children Make Terrible Pets” & “Creepy Carrots”. Peter has a varied illustration/painting style in the different books he works on; I particularly enjoy Creepy Carrots; done with pencil, with inspiration coming from film noir and the TV show “The Twilight Zone”. How can you go wrong with that combination for a kids book?! At the festival, I made lots of new Hamster Sam fans, sold and signed books and met a few of the other “local” authors exhibiting in the Coastal Writers “Literacy Lane” beneath the spanish moss. One local author, Catherine Maguire, “The Boody Book Bag Ordeal”, pointed out a gentleman across the sidewalk from us at the Leopold’s Ice Cream stand. Stratton Leopold‘s family ice cream business has been in business for generations, and Stratton was there in his hometown giving out samples and chatting up the customers. He’s also the former Executive VP of Production at Paramount Pictures, where he produced Mission Impossible III, The General’s Daughter and was the unit production manager of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek- all films I’ve not seen, admittedly. Just another interesting twist to a day filled with surprises. For more pictures, visit Hamster Sam on Facebook! Bravo, Savannah Children’s Book Festival! Standing ovation to the staff and volunteers of the Live Oak Public Libraries, Foundation members and attending writers & illustrators. An enormous success, and I hope to return next year!