Rolli shares tales of cats, tigers, nannies and bees

Lisa Goudy
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Saskatchewan writer and cartoonist visits local elementary school

There was talk of nincompoops, piles of garbage and a nanny with sharp teeth at King George Elementary School on Thursday morning.

Rolli, a writer, illustrator and cartoonist from Saskatchewan, spoke to students at the school in pre-kindergarten to Grade 6. A few Grade 8 students who are in a writing and drama group attended the presentation as well.

“I like all the funny stuff in his stories” said Destiny Whyte, a Grade 3 student at the school. “He’s really funny.”

“They’re fun to read,” added fellow Grade 3 student Ashlea Peters.

Rolli has had four books published so far. He read a few excerpts of some of his stories, including from his new children’s collection Dr. Franklin’s Staticy Cat. His cartoons have also appeared in Reader’s Digest and other magazines. His next book will be about Kabungo, a cavegirl who lives on Main Street.

“I think it went well. They seemed like they were very interested in what was going on and the questions were pretty good, especially for a lot of younger ones. Sometimes they don’t ask anything. I was pleased,” said Rolli after the session.

“They seem to enjoy it. It isn’t always something they get to see very often. Especially for kids interested in writing, it exposes them to someone else who’s done it and can show them the ropes and encourage them.”

He added he doesn’t find it difficult to get ideas for stories.

“I drink so much coffee that my neurons are always fired up. So it’s never hard to find an idea. Plus you meet interesting people or you read something or see something,” said Rolli. “I like reading to younger kids. The kids are the best. They seem to pay attention the best.”

The time it takes to write one of his humorous stories varies, he said.

“The tiger story was the fastest one I ever wrote. I wrote it in 45 minutes and it was perfect. It was done,” said Rolli. “A lot of the others took a week at least. So it just happened. It was a good coffee day, I guess.”

Grade 6 students Makayla Sloan and Jaimee Hodgson said the stories were entertaining.

“I like how he makes them fictional. I really like the fairy tales and picture books,” said Sloan.

“I like the drawings too,” added Hodgson. “I like the tiger story.”

Grade 8 student Jessica Harder said she liked having a chance to speak with a published author.

“We want to more tips on writing. That’s what I get from it,” she said.

Clarissa Howell, fellow Grade 8 student, said Rolli was “very creative.

“It’s really cool to have a writer at the school just because at some schools that doesn’t happen so we’re lucky,” she said.

“(His stories are) a lot different from all the other books I’ve read,” added Jessica Ludke, another Grade 8 student.

Rachel Halvorsen, a Grade 8 student, said she enjoyed hearing Rolli’s different voices and watching his expressions as he read his stories.

“Instead of some random person reading it or one of your friends or reading it (yourself), you get to hear it from the actual person,” she said. “He’s very imaginative with his books and what he puts in them.”

Grade 8 student Shasta Ventzek remarked how much she liked all of the “really cool” things he puts into his stories.

“He keeps it short and simple,” she said.

“You don’t usually hear about getting eaten in a child’s book,” added Alexa Friesen, a Grade 8 student. “You get to hear it right from the great mind.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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