Write stuff: Authors Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre sign their latest book Oliver and the Seawigs for children at the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature in Dubai on Wednesday Image Credit: XPRESS/Zarina Fernandes

Dubai “This is amazing. Children out here are very sharp and imaginative. I am very impressed,” said author Philip Reeve as he signed a copy of his book Oliver and the Seawigs for Shayan, a Year 3 English College student.

Clearly the star of the morning at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature’s Education Day at Dubai’s Intercontinental Hotel on March 5, Reeve obliged every autograph-seeking student whom he had earlier wowed with his co-author Sarah McIntyre.

“I loved the way Oliver and the Seawigs came alive at the discussion. I thought the book was for younger kids but it wasn’t,” said Ethan Wart, a JESS Jumeirah Year 4 student.

Fun all the way

“We enjoyed the excerpts of the book being read out to us,” said Noora and Hamda, Year 5 students of Ajman Academy.

“It was so much fun. Sarah taught us how to draw a sea monkey,” gushed Ezebella, a Year 6 student of Dubai British School, her classmates Annie, Lisa and Erica echoing her words.

To their delight, Sarah, in a fancy headgear, drew her trademark sea monkey in every book that came her way. There was no mistaking that the illustrated novel had struck a chord like no other as students couldn’t stop talking about protagonist Oliver’s search for his missing parents, the evil Stacey de Lacey or the army of greasy, green sea monkeys.

The Education Day workshops also hosted Francesca Simon, author of Horrid Henry, among others. The festival which goes on till March 8 is also giving students an interface with other authors and illustrators like John Boyne, Eoin Colfer, John Burningham, Charlie Higson, Helen Oxenbury, Vivian French, Sally Gardner, Samar Mahfouz Barraj, Tony Ross, Nadine Touma and Saniyasnain Khan.