Monday, 3 December 2012

A very exciting new App Project - Introducing Edmund and Cecilie

Here’s an exciting thought.

A BAFTA nominated animator and special effects expert (that would be a certain Matt Howarth, formerly of Granada Television) teaming up with Author Illustrator Chris Mould (of Yorkshire Life magazine), and backed by those wonderful peeps at Puffin, Coming together to create an interactive storytelling experience that might just be about to create an electrical storm in the app world.

Edmund and Cecilie is still in the early stages of development but because I can’t wait to get my paws on it I decided to find out some more top secret inside information.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Well, here’s Cecilie (the small non-dragony one). 

Cecilie LOVES stories and having just worked her way through an entire library she’s eager for more. 
Her inquisitive and adventurous nature leads her to an old blue storytelling dragon called Edmund who might just be the right kind of beast to solve the problem.

Edmund introduces Cecilie to the enchanting storyforest and through the door of every tree, lies one of Edmund’s tales waiting to be told. 

Together they encounter whacky wizards, snotty old witches, bumbling brave knights, cool castles and much much more.

Here's a sneak peek at the storyboard in progress ...

A simple but seemingly effective concept that sounds well suited to the functionality of the iPad (other platforms will be available)

Edmund and Cecilie is set for release in June 2013 and quite frankly I can't wait. 

More coming soon...

Saturday, 10 November 2012


We've got lots of exciting app reviews coming up very soon including a feature on Chris Mould's amazing new project but we thought it might be interesting in the meantime to hear about apps and app development from an alternative perspective and in this case from straight from the mouth of a student studying apps at University. 

So here is a guest post by student Pedro Kirk

My name is Pedro and I am a student at Goldsmiths University studying music computing, which is essentially a creative computer course. 

I have just started a creative computer project that will span the full year and I wanted to work on a project that has potential to be more than just coursework. I hit upon the idea of creating a digital book app for children after seeing how adept my young nephews were in playing with a musical game app I created last year. 

I am really interested in how the children's digital book market is going to grow over time, as I think it enhances the experience of reading paperbacks. It allows children more options and can contain further fun activities to accompany the book they enjoy.

I have created a questionnaire for my current project as over the next few months I have to research the market in this area and gain feedback to help inform my design decisions from the people who will be the potential users. The market is very unsettled at the moment with no real way of knowing if digital formats of childrens books will really take off. One of the main reasons for this is the huge number of free apps available from companies who don’t expect a return on them, just more exposure. I personally think there is room for creative original art works to be seen in app form. If the illustrations and story are strong enough one would hope even small developers would see interest through word of mouth and online exposure.

My partner Chloe Douglass recently wrote and illustrated an original children's book called The One and Only Pablo as her final project for her Masters degree at Kingston, I thought to combine our skills and I’m using her story for my app. (
Read Chloe's blog here!)

The current market seems so hard to get into for smaller independent illustrators and writers, so I see this as a brilliant way of getting more exposure. 

If the app is successful then it can raise the profile of the illustrator/writer and bring in a larger audience for the book. Diversity of platforms is a good way to interact with new audiences, and from my research so far children are using iPads almost as much as their parents.

THANK YOU Pedro for giving us this interesting insight. GOOD LUCK with the rest of your course.

Images (c) Chloe Douglass

You can participate in Pedro's questionnaire here

Wednesday, 7 November 2012



Little App Puppy loves Toca Boca Band.. A future Hendrix in the making!

If you haven't checked it out yet you are in for a REAL treat. 

It's engaging, hilarious and easy to use. you'll be hooked making your own ear worms and beat boxing like there's no tomorrow !

Find out more about this smashing app here... on this lovely shiny website. 

Also follow them on Twitter! @tocaboca

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Tickled pink with Harry Pellereau

Recently we were lucky enough to be introduced to Timmy Tickle the ingenious app creation of dynamic and super enthusiastic developer Harry Pellereau.

Harry is an independent creative/developer, and when the iPad was launched decided that she wanted to make interactive stories, so set about learning how. Harry's app features a colourful little octopus called Timmy Tickle.
You can read more about how her ticklesome app was made here.

1- How did you come up with the concept for your app?

Timmy Tickle started as a project to help me learn how to make apps. I was working as a digital creative -  making visuals, animations and websites when I did a project for Templar Publishing.
I became inspired by creating interactive content for children and when the iPad was launched I thought it was worth exploring. I decided the best way to learn was to follow a single idea through from start to finish, so I understood the whole process. I have always loved Octopi so started by sketching and then modelling the early Timmy in plasticine. The story and activity ideas came organically as I mulled over what would be interesting to kids and what was possible with this medium. The poems were originally written in Hampstead Heath one sunny afternoon.
Later on I asked a brilliant wordsmith friend of mind to rewrite them, so the story was more engaging and the tasks on the page were described better.

2- What was the most enjoyable part of the development process?

Creating Timmy Tickle involved a very linear set of production stages. Creating the concept, character development, visual design, 3D modelling, 3D animation, video compositing, developing the code, bug testing and finally user testing. Then the process almost starts again, as things are revised and improved. Probably the most enjoyable part for me was taking the character animations and connecting them with the code to make Timmy come alive. The most rewarding was the user testing. This part was very very hard, as I had become so involved with the project that it was difficult to hear that parents and kids didn't "like" this bit or that. However, the changes were always for the better and  it was great to see the app slowly morphing into something more user friendly and engaging to use.

3- Where do you see the future of digital apps?

Creating apps for kids is a very tricky task and requires a lot of different skills. I would love to think that more independent story-tellers and animators will launch their projects on apps first, however I think at the moment the bar is set pretty high. Some companies are creating amazing and incredibly complex content, and selling it for very little. The larger companies with established brands can afford to do this as they will sell in such large numbers, however I think it is hard to make a project profitable with an unknown brand and it is only getting harder. The biggest issue for app developers is getting noticed, and as more kids apps flood the market this issue will only get worse. My hope is, that quality will rise to the surface and small gems of digital content will get discovered organically. I hope that smaller development teams and independents will continue to make innovative and creative apps to delight and inspire young kids and harness the future capabilities of tablet devices.

4- How do you think apps will effect the book market?

Personally I don't see apps replacing books. They work best as a partnership and expand on the child's experience. I hope that as apps are used to educate and entertain kids they become a way of discovering new characters and stories, which will then translate to books and reading.

5- What will you be working on next?

At this point I am taking a little break from app development. I would love to make another app with Timmy, however I have to see if it would be a commercially sensible venture. The first book was definitely done for the love of the project - creating an app is a incredibly labour intensive and exhausting process! I would like to explore Timmy's character in other mediums and have approached some publishers about making Timmy Tickle into a range of printed books. In the meantime, I plan to keep my finger on the children's app pulse and see how the market develops!

Meet Timmy for yourself by clicking here!

Timmy Tickle is an engaging and enriching app with which so much care and attention in the development process has lead to the creation of a great value app which explores many of the functions of the iPad allowing your little ones to play, learn and explore this app over and over.


Click here to read a cracking review featuring Timmy Tickle on the CApptivatedKids blog

All images featured are taken from the Timmy Tickle App - (c) Helen Pellereau

Friday, 29 June 2012

And the winner of our App competition is....

- Helen Dineen @aitcheldee

Here's her entry ...

I would love to see Meg’s Veg, by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski made into an app. Meg and Mog books would be brilliant on the iPad because they have such bright, bold colours, text stripped to the bone, and action on every page. Who could resist helping Meg and Mog to dig the garden, plant seeds, stake peas and thin carrots? You could help Mog to make his scarecrow (bagsy mine a HUGE hat) and put everything into the cauldron for Meg’s spells. And finally, help Meg, Mog and Owl to eat their veg!* (*actual real-life veg eating optional).
Helen wins a fabulous limited edition App Puppy canvas bag designed by Stephen Lenton stuffed with some of the Sniffer's fave books, a signed copy of Oliver Jeffer's The Hueys and the New Jumper

With hand drawn Huey!

AND a brand new Ipod Nano.


Follow Helen on Twitter @aitcheldee

THANK YOU to everyone who entered - all of your suggestions were marvellous.. here are a few of my faves!

I think Emily Gravett's Monkey & Me would make a great app, with it's fabulous illustrations & melodic refrain. I think it would be fun to animate the girl so you can see her mimic the animals. You could make use of the camera to encourage interactivity & get the child reading using the app to make animal noises. I think the pages showing the animals could have a feature where you can choose to see real life footage of animals. It would be great if the app included a  drawing masterclass from the author. It might also be fun to have a range of tights for the girl from stripy to spotty. In fact I think all her books could be fun apps
                                                         - Damyanti Patel

I would love to see Let's All Hide from Wibbly Pig by thelegendary Mick Inkpen made into an app. It would be so much fun to play hide-and-seek with Wibbly and hisfriends! It would be cool if readers could opt to pick the hiding places themselves,then pass the iPad to another person to do the seeking. The app could includelots of disguises for Wibbly’s friends to wear and a game to make sandwichesand cakes for a party afterwards. Ithink Mick’s drawings would work really well on an ipad too, as they are socute!

                                                                       - Caryl Hart

Ever since I got a smartphone, I've tried to accept that books as apps exist and are becoming increasingly popular, but I have resisted there allure thus far, but should I become weak and fall foul of such things there can only be one book that would reel me in, and that is 'not now Bernard' it is quite frankly the greatest children's book ever made, and as an app the wonderment can only be improved upon, a comprehensive 3D retelling with an audio track performed by Christopher walken, quite simply the only man capable of giving the correct amount of gravitas! An extra ending where you can direct the monsters to eat bernard's parents, an angry bird style interactive game where you can break various toys belonging to bernard! Put quite simply, this could be the greatest book app the world has seen!

                                                              - Giles Paley-Phillips

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Bizzy Bear Builds a House! - A Nosy Crow App

So it looks like our chum Bizzy Bear has been busy again, this time in a Grand Designs fashion he is helping his chums construct a house in this brand new Nosy Crow app.

With jolly bouncy music and voiced by some charmingly well spoken children, this welcome addition to the app collection perfectly compliments Bizzy Bear on the Farm.

There are familiar reoccurring points within the body of this story which will help prompt children in how to use this app.
We are invited onto the working building site and provided with a very smart yellow hard hat (glad they have paid due attention to health and safty protocol) from where Bizzy is encouraged with your help to drive diggers, deliver bricks, mix gravel and much more.
I particularly liked this cheeky little monkey (below) enjoying a good strong brew but not doing very much hard graft...

There are plenty of interactive elements on each page and changing narrative for extended entertainment. 
I really liked the fence painting activity which I found most gratifying.

This app also features the highlighted word function for reading along as well as options to change the length of the experience according to suit your reader.

Particular highlights for me, a real flushing portaloo, several google eyed pigeons bumbling about the place AND a monkey with the sawing abilities of a burly north American logger !

Bizzy Bear Builds a House is a fun packed hard days work without getting your hands dirty.
I wonder what Bizzy Bear will get up to next...

I am a huge huge fan of the illustrative prowess of
Mr Benji Davies and his work seems to fit these apps perfectly. The screen enhances the colours and the characters bounce around the pages like little jumping beans.  (Benji will be appearing on the Book Sniffer blog VERY soon)

Monday, 11 June 2012

The Singing Alphabet - A for AWESOME

The Book Sniffer recently reviewed Operation Alphabet on the Sniffer blog (which he loved BTW and you should most certainly check out) and it has been brought to my attention that there is an equally cool and addictive app to accompany the book.

The Singing Alphabet is pure-cool-genius in a bucket with a cherry on top.

You are whisked through a 3D paper cut version of the city featured in the book where upon you arrive on a screen displaying all the letters of the alphabet in all their retro cool glory, and now it's time to warm up your vocal chords.

As you touch each of the letters they begin their harmony in a jazz-tacular fashion as it sings its phonetic sound. You can add additional letters to your tune at any point and spell all sorts of funny words which the jolly letters will sing to you.


You will be mesmerised by the groovy tunes you create,  (move over Tom Jones, that's all I'm sayin')
If it all gets a bit much and the letters get a bit "shouty" there is a convenient Shhh button which instantly silences the letters ready for you to start all over again.

Simple-silly-super-cool-joyous-fun but also a fabulous tool for teaching little peeps to spell (they won't even realise tehehe.)
You may even run your iPad battery down chilling to these awesome tunes like I did - oops!
Move over Simple Simon there's a new spelling game in town.


Check out the Ministry of Letters website NOW  and download fun resources to go with the app also follow The Ministry on Twitter @moltweetdept #singingalphabet

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

App-Tacular Competition!

Hold on to your hats! I've been plotting a fabulous
competition to launch the App Puppy blog


To enter simply ...

1- Tell us in 100 words which picture book you would most like to see made into an app and then...

2-  recommend us to a friend on Twitter (@maybeswabey #apppuppycomp)  or on  Facebook

Post your entry on the competition prize photo page on the Facebook page, Tweet OR email your entry with your contact details to

Here's the swag!
(On a Generation Game style conveyor belt !)

1 extremely limited edition (1 of only 3 in the whole world) App Puppy Canvas Bag designed by the fair hand of penatical genius Steven Lenton

1 Top-o the range iPod nano - which not only can play you all your fave pop toonze but can also be worn as a watch! Smashing!

1 copy of Oliver Jeffers latest picture book treasure
   The Huey's and The New Jumper

1 specially wrapped copy of Operation Alphabet - one of the darnedest bestest picture books AND apps I've seen in a looong time

As well as a selection of books reviewed on the Book Sniffer blog over the last few months

The winner will be picked at random on the 30th June
- UK only

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Guest Post - Michelle Robinson tells us about her fave App!

Here's a guest post by bonkers as a bag of chimps author  Michelle Robinson on her favourite  app for kids!

Nighty Night HD (watch the video here..)

 'Night falls. The moon is high, all the people are ready to sleep as they turn off the lights…'


And so begins the Night Garden-esque narration of this enchanting bedtime app. Everything about it is beautiful; sound, vision; and that magical quality you can't quite put your finger on. It oozes naturally from all great ideas - and this is one of them.

It's so simple it's perfect: go around the candy cane cottage-style farm saying goodnight to all the animals and switching off the lights. That's it. Simple, eh? I'll bet putting it together was anything but. Heidi Wittlinger's delightful animals live in a farm painstakingly constructed from wood, cardboard, wool, straw and even bits of old sponge. I love it. My two and a half year old loves it. The stars twinkle, the crickets make that cricketty noise, the cutesy animals drift off to sleep and I have to restrain myself from licking the screen.

As a picture book author I love the purity of this idea and the quality of its execution. This is why picture book apps are such an exciting prospect - we can do things on an interactive screen that we could never truly replicate in print. If you're sucking your teeth, answer me this: how could a child turn off the lights in such a satisfying way on paper? I've seen lights-out spreads (Peggy Rathmann's 'Goodnight Gorilla' has a great one), but it's just not the same as actually finding a switch and clicking it.

This is the perfect bedtime app for animal crazy toddlers like mine, who is especially fond of the pony (and by the way, even though their absence isn't noticeable until you've met them, it's absolutely worth buying the optional additional animals because they're adorable). At the end of a hectic day, Nighty Night is a lovely way of putting the iPad to bed and switching into 'Proper Book' mode. After all, as much as Nighty Night claims to be a 'bedtime book', it doesn't have a story. If it did, I'd give it a standing ovation. As it is, it gets a high five and a hearty 'WHOOP.'

BUY this app here..

A big licky THANK YOU to Laap-dog Michelle Robinson - Check out Michelle's author page on Facebook here or visit her website if you are really up for a giggle follow her on Twitter @MicheRobinson.. yarf yarf!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Rumble In The Jungle – An Interactive Book by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz


I've long been a fan of the picture book version of Rumble in the Jungle published by Orchard Books and written by charmingly dashing fop Mr Giles Andreae  - The hilarious bite sized poems are beautifully complimented by Davids super-vibrant illustrations. The App version of this picture book is the epitome of "enhancement", the story remains delightfully engaging and the animation is unobtrusive but entertaining.

The  navigation is simple enough for even the smallest readers to operate.
There are options to read by yourself or have the story read to you by deliciously plumby Hugh Laurie, both equally enjoyable.
Each spread reveals a new jungle character with it's own tittersome mini poem accompanied by a bouncy joyful and cleverly composed soundtrack.
There are plenty of opportunities for the reader / listener to join in making various monkey ooks, liony roars or elephanty  trumpet noises.

A favourite page of mine happens to be the zebras having a sneaky snog with hilarious smooch sound effect and quivering eyebrow. Oooh La la!

Each page has tap features to animate various characters including itchy scratchy monkeys and hopping frogs - fun little treasures to discover as you read.

Everyone groans when a game features as part of a picture book app but the Snap card game at the end of Rumble in the Jungle in no way detracts from the story and adds a fun element to enjoy once the story is finished.


Take a trip through the jungle and meet all your favourite animals in this exciting new app with animations, sound effects and music.
Choose to read the rollicking jungle romp yourself, or hear it read aloud.
Little ones will love joining in with the animal sound effects and finding the touch-activated animations on each screen. This app comes complete with a simple puzzle game that reinforces learning. Guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment!

Perfect for families on the go this interactive eBook version of a classic children’s picture book is packed with animated features inviting children to engage with the story and explore each page for hidden features whilst enjoying the bouncy rhyming text.



Alex T Smith on Apps C/O The beauties at Nosy Crow!

Check out this fabulous interview with Alex T Smith on the Nosy Crow website! Three cheers for Alex and a huge kazoo toot for Nosy Crow!


ALSO check out Alex's blog here!  He is awesome with a cherry on top!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Pip and Posy: Fun and Games [OFFICIAL TRAILER]

Those Nosy Crows know how to put together an interesting App don't they - Here's the new Pip and Posy App trailer -  I like the game where you make faces with Pip and Posy .. No need for monster faces here!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

David Melling and his Hugless Douglas App!

The App Puppy would like to welcome best-selling creator of such treasures as The Kiss That Missed and Hugless Douglas Sir David Melling!

The HuglessDouglas app is expertly narrated by mop headed comedy legend and star of QI Alan Davies - If you could choose three celebrity voices for the sheep who would you choose?

 Ouch, start with an easy one! Difficult, but after much, much thought (more than I’m prepared to admit), I’d say the comedian Sarah Millican (great voice), and my children Monika (11yrs) and Luka (7yrs) – both of whom are the biggest celebrity in my life. Ha!

Sorry if I cheated there but this has been the hardest question.

This isn't the first time your work has been "animated" (David's book Jack Frost was made into a full length animated feature)

So after many pain staking, hand crippling hours slaving away paintbrush in hand how did it differ seeing your artwork transformed into an app as apposed to a printed book?

To be honest there wasn’t much adjustment to be made  - in my mind or in the artwork. I say that because with Jack Frost the characters obviously had to be interpreted by animators, redrawn and translated onto a screen.

More than once I was reminded of a comment made by a friend who had a similar experience. “It’s a different format, different medium – you have to let go!” But, as I say, with the Hugless Douglas App, there was no such adjustment. The original illustrations were used, just manipulated into very simple animation.
I call it the Captain Pugwash style of animating. And they have done a fine job!

Sometimes it's hard to tweak perfection (just ask Justin Biebers hair) but if you could change one thing about the App what would you change?

I’m really not sure, I honestly think they did a fantastic job. But looking at the artwork…well, there’s a bit of dodgy drawing in there which, given a bit of time (unlikely), I’d have a go at re-doing!

Buy the app here...

The Hugless Douglas brand has confidently conquered a myriad of formats and the app has proved a huge bearsized success -  Which other books in your extensive back catalogue would you like to see made into an app?

I think The Kiss That Missed could lend itself to the app format very well. And I also have a soft spot for The Scallywags. Oh, then there’s the Goblins series. Heck, why not do them all?

Your intricate and masterful use of brush and pen are admired far and wide and I have on a few occasions been lucky enough to see some of the artwork up close and personal  - Do you feel your illustrations have a different feel when viewed on a screen?

Definitely. And to be honest it doesn’t look so great on screen…in my view! I think, alongside digital a/w, which is smooth, bright and slick, my a/w lacks a little something. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still awesome!

But seriously, in print form the hand painted nature of my illustrations can sit comfortably alongside a wide variety of work that’s out there. (I’d like to think so anyway!). You see, I don’t use the computer at all, no screen, no tablet, no photoshop. But I do feel on screen the a/w is a little weaker. Maybe it’s the lighter line. And of course the colours will always be a little off. With digital illustration what you want is what you get. So I’m not sure, but something is lost, or lacking…somewhere. I just can’t put my finger on it.

Having said that, I’ve just completed some a/w for Discover Children’s Story Centre for an online project later this year. I think 12 stories have been commissioned and illustrated and will be interactive. I know at least two other illustrators also don’t touch a computer. But probably, for the most part, there will be plenty digital a/w on show, so it’ll will be very interesting to see the different styles look and compare collectively.

Would you ever consider writing a story with the sole intention of it being made into an App rather than a physical book?

It would be less interesting for me. I love books and everything about them. Following on from the previous question, I would have to think about adapting my artwork for the screen.

 I can’t help but feel this would be the beginning of a slippery slope for me, away from hand painted illustration. On the other hand - he said recognising this Q&A was all about how fab and exciting apps are – it’s always good to challenge yourself, move forward and respond to what is being done. I guess my knee-jerk reaction is to cling onto my ‘traditional ways.’ But of course, it’s not like that, not as extreme as that, and any adapting I would have to do would require, on my part, a shift in approach and technique. Not a bad thing to do from time to time, creatively speaking. Ultimately, however, it’s still about telling stories and that does interest me.

So really, it might not be so bad after all! I guess I have a built in resistance to illustrating with a tablet. As I say, not necessarily a good thing…I do recognise that. And finally, at the risk of rambling on, I also recognise there are things you can do digitally that are just not possible with pencils and paint etc…and that is also potentially interesting.


I have recently trained the monkey butler to make a mean gin and tonic (Pimms is SO last year)- If you could invent a gadget to assist you in your every day life what would it be?

A shoulder masseuse. Something that could have come out of Wallace & Gromit’s workshop…all leavers, pulleys and two giant white handed gloves. It could go about it’s massaging without interrupting me while I work. Oh, and I’ll have two; one for home and one for work.

As an old fashioned fan of the good old hard back picture book I have in the past been accused of being a Luddite - Do you think more authors / illustrators should be open to and embrace the world of Apps and downloads?

Um, bearing in mind my answer for Q6…absolutely, yes! I’ll be honest, it’s not something that hugely excites me now but it is something that will probably change…and probably should! I’d hate to see the app replacing the physical book, and in particular the picture book, although I don’t see that happening (with the latter), anytime soon. Then again, who knows what’s right around the corner? Everything is moving sooo fast.

 The thing is, I guess I’m still a little sceptical. Only the other night I read an app to my son at bedtime. We don’t have many but it was one of our favourites. Anyway, quite unexpectedly it malfunctioned! Now you can’t say that about a book, can you?  The pages turned too early while the text was being read and the actions began to jumble. We switched it off and opened a book!

But, in truth, there are many new and exciting things happening in publishing and that is to be celebrated. We (authors and illustrators), can’t ignore that, or we do so at our own peril! There are so many possibilities and it would be wrong to turn our back and stick to what we know. I genuinely believe that. Move and adapt. I suppose what I’m saying is they work well side by side, traditional and digital publishing. I just hope there will always be a mix of the two and that digital publishing doesn’t make traditional publishing obsolete.

 You've recently taken Twitter by the scruff of the neck and wrestled it into submission (Follow David @DavidMelling1) - Apart from  tittersome @maybeswabey Who do you think we should follow and why?

 There are celebrities which I find can be entertaining which embody part of how I see twitter. Also, fellow authors and illustrators who I admire and, of course, friends and family. Recently I’ve been enjoying, for a variety of reasons*:


Chris Priestley : @crispriestely , Sarah McIntyre : @jabberworks , Ian Beck: @ianarchiebeck , @joecraig , @PhilipArdargh

Celebs:  @TheRealJackDee , @SarahMilligan , @rickygervais @RobBrydon

And a couple of funny, entertaining off the wall tweeters:

@GarethAveyard  and @BertramFiddle

*Disclaimer: Apologies to all those wonderful people I follow on twitter but there just isn’t enough space to list you here and I wouldn’t want you thinking…

THANK YOU for popping by David! see you again soon.
Say Hi to Andy Sharp at Hodder Children's Books for us next time you see him - we always found him to be a very inspirational chap!

NB you can send your very own special Hugless Douglas hug here.. very clever and sweet!! 


You can join our Book Sniffer  Facebook group here! Pop along there's always something strange happening !