New Celebration Of Scottish Children’s Stories From Wigtown’s Oscar Nominated Folk Duo 

  • Three days of fun at Big DoG festival of children’s literature 
  • The Bookshop Band unveils songs for Scotland’s Year of Stories 
  • Head to Dumfries for readings, films, model-making, theatre and more  

This weekend Oscar-nominees The Bookshop Band, from Wigtown, will be unveiling songs from their forthcoming album – which is inspired by Scotland’s fabulous children’s literature.

Folk duo Beth Porter and Ben Please wrote, produced and performed the music for Robin Robin, Aardman Animations’ first ever musical, which was released on Netflix as a Christmas special for all the family.

Their live performance of songs from Dear Land of Storybooks – an ode to Scottish children’s literature (see editors’ notes) will be a highlight of the Big DoG festival of children’s literature taking place at venues across Dumfries, and online, from 1-3 April.

The free family performance takes place at Moat Brae, Scotland’s National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, at 4pm on Saturday.

Beth said: “It’s been an amazing few months – a movie that’s been watched worldwide on Netflix, winning a major British animation award, an Oscar nomination for Robin Robin, and now the chance to start sharing the songs from our next album.”
The album, which is part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, will have 15 songs that have been inspired by classics such as Treasure Island and Peter Pan through to contemporary work including Alan Windram’s One Button Benny and Debi Gliori’s Goodnight World.
Ben said: “After we moved to Scotland a few years ago, and had our daughter, we obviously had a need for lots of bedtime stories. I think it was that, and also living in Scotland’s National Book Town, that really made us aware of the immense richness of the country’s children’s literature. 
“As this is the year of Scotland’s Stories we thought it would be a great idea to create an album that celebrated some of these wonderful works – with a special emphasis on some, like Peter Pan, that have special links to Dumfries and Galloway.”  

This naturally included Peter Pan, which has its roots in the games the young J M Barrie and his friends used to play in the garden at Moat Brae – which is the HQ for Big DoG.

Other events taking place there as part of the festival include special sessions with Aardman Animations’ senior model-maker Jim Parkyn who will teach people how to make some of the company’s favourite characters – Morph, Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. There will also be free showings of some of Aardman’s best loved movies.

Organised by Wigtown Festival Company (WFC), in partnership with Moat Brae, most of Big DoG will feature:

  • Croc in the Frock, a riverside tour by Mostly Ghostly inspired by the crocodile in Peter Pan and packed with folklore, history and tales of ghosts and adventure.
  • The Good The Bad and The Poultry, free street theatre at the Midsteeple Plainstanes, telling the tale of the most “impeckable” gunslinger this side of Texas.
  • A digital appearance by poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah to discuss his novel Windrush Child (2021 Diverse Book Award winner) and his new picture book, We Sang Across the Sea.
Andy Stewart, WFC Children and Young People’s Producer, said: “There’s so much going on during Big DoG. It’s very exciting that it’s back and that we are offering the first ever chance to hear these new songs from The Bookshop Band. It’ll be a real treat for everyone who loves Scottish children’s literature. 
“And Aardman films are loved worldwide, so to hear the band who created the music for Robin Robin, to meet one of the top animators and learn to make your own Gromit, Shaun the Sheep or Morph will be brilliant. 
“There’s so much more on offer as well – the festival should be amazing fun.” 

Big DoG is named in honour of Nana, the big dog who looks after the Darling children in Peter Pan).


Big DoG events include 

  • A Best Friend for Bear with Petr Horácek at The Theatre Royal: Black Bear is feeling lonely, so he decides to look for a friend. Luckily, he meets Brown Bear, who is in the same situation.
  • How Billy Hippo Learned His Colours with Vivian French at Lochthorn Library: Help Billy Hippo learn his colours as he searches for a very special present for his dad’s birthday. Sing a song with Seadog Steve as he helps to solve Captain Crankie’s big problem.
  • Magic at the Museum: Join storyteller Mara Menzies for a new show specially commissioned for Big DoG. She reveals the mysteries behind some of the secret exhibits normally hidden away in the bowels of Dumfries Museum.
  • Tuck-in-Tales with Renita Boyle: Why is Grandfather Bear so grumpy? Who does Hare see under the moon? How does Busy Beaver build? What mischief is Raccoon up to? Join Renita for warm woodland tales and tunes in and out of the dusky bluebells.
  • The Kippford Mermaid: A drowning sailor is rescued by a beautiful mermaid. Authors and illustrators bring the story to life with multi-sensory stimuli which are sure to engage and entertain. An accessible event for those with a wide range of needs.
  • One Button Benny and the Gigantic Catastrophe (in Arabic and English) with Alan Windram and Saffanna Al-jbawi: One Button Benny is back with a new adventure. All the robots can’t wait for this year’s Cool Cat competition, but disaster strikes when aliens kidnap all the cats.
  • Super Silly Museums with Nick Sharratt at Dumfries Museum: Nick leads us on a tour of seven of the silliest museums ever. There’s the Blueseum, the Shoeseum, the Confuseum… even the Pooseum! He’ll guide you around the craziest collections of the oddest objects, with jokes and puns galore. Expect fun drawing activities, too, with paper and pens provided. 

Latest Articles