It couldn’t be more apt that Marty Kristian chose to write his first children’s book about two koala bears linked to the unofficial national anthem of Australia. Singer-songwriter Marty, an Aussie who has lived in Chorleywood since the 80s?, helped Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Harmony as a founder member of award winning 70s vocal harmony group The New Seekers who sold over 35 million records worldwide, but art has been as much of Marty’s life as music for decades, from sculpting and fine painting to large scale murals. The Adventures of Walt ‘n Matilda, The Black Stump is the result of many years of Marty developing and sketching animated scenarios featuring two colourful wide-eyed koalas.
“The pair have grown with me and become my intrepid heroes! I have nurtured them since the 70s and they have delivered so many messages to friends and family as greeting card illustrations over the years. I often use the duo to comment on topical events, most recently the World Cup and Wimbledon. I was egged on to turn the characters into a story book by my boys Jamie and Ollie and by the time I had put it together I had a granddaughter, Liberty, to dedicate it to! I have always enjoyed painting, especially for children, and was so privileged to have shown Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother a series of my murals at the opening of the paediatric wing of Queen Charlotte’s Hospital which doesn’t exist any longer. I have met so many celebs, politicians and royals throughout my show-biz career but this was definitely a highlight, she was charming!”
This story of Koalas Walt and Matilda and their friends is set in the outback of Australia. Walt is impulsive, courageous and determined and launches himself headlong from one adventure to another. Matilda, his older sister is practical, conscientious and more considered than her swashbuckling brother. Their signature tune is Waltzing Matilda!
The Adventures of Walt ‘n Matilda, The Black Stump is a book that is guaranteed to make you smile as you read it and very likely to make your children or grandchildren ask for more. They won’t need to wait long, Marty has already started planning more tales of the cute sibling koalas who hail from Gumtree Gully in a sunny corner of Australia.
“Walt and Matilda venture way beyond the Aussie Bush next time and start to explore the rest of the world. I have so many stories in my head! ”
Unsurprisingly there’s a song in the pipeline too, another one that Marty may well teach the world to sing.. Well, lots of bear-loving children and their parents anyway.
Buy The Adventures of Walt ‘n Matilda, The Black Stump for £8.99 on the website, at Chorleywood Bookshop or meet Marty and buy a signed copy at the Artists and Makers Fair, Chorleywood Memorial Hall on Sat 22 September.