During half-term holidays it can be tricky to think of new places to take your kids, so I was glad to discover that Simply Books, a bookshop not far from me in Bramhall, Cheshire, had a children’s book-signing event lined up for this week while my kids were off.

The author in question was none other than Jonny Duddle, the supremely talented illustrator-author of numerous great books, most of which are about pirates. Like most five-year-olds, my son Lucas is pirate-mad, so this was the perfect half-term activity for him and for me (as a newbie children’s author myself, I hope to be doing a few book signings of my own in the future, so I was keen to see a pro at work).

Jonny didn’t disappoint. In full pirate regalia, he told the room full of kids and parents all about his background and how he came to be an illustrator. He then read one of his books in full, which I enjoyed but I think Lucas lost the gist because he became preoccupied with his own pirate outfit – he was the one child there in fancy dress and his earring kept falling off!

The best bit was when Jonny drew a pirate based on choices put forward by the children. Unsurprisingly, the result was a bit mad: a massive-nosed pirate with not one but two false legs (one with a piano wheel attached) and an alien parrot on his shoulder shouting ‘Woof!’

Suffice to say, I plan to take my kids to more book-signing events in the future.