After giving up full time teaching in order to write, Sue Wickstead is now a supply teacher in Sussex and Surrey. Her involvement in a real mobile ‘playbus’ project lead to creating a photographic history book, and now the accompanying story book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’.
Jay-Jay the bus is rescued from the dirty scrap yard, where he was sadly gathering dust and cobwebs. Feeling nervous yet excited, he is taken to an airport where he is magically transformed into a ‘Playbus’ full of toys, games and adventure. ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’ is a fictional tale based on a real life bus, Supersonic, which flew into the imaginations of the many young children who visited it.
Sue began writing the children’s story following the publication of the information book ‘Bewbush Playbus’. This was a collection of photographs which had been used to publicise and promote the work of the mobile project as well as a means to generating much needed funding. As a supply teacher, Sue had many opportunities to tell visit schools and tell the children about the bus and the accompanying book, which developed a lot of interest. The children wanted to know more about the playbus: what it was, what it did, who would use it… But also she received comments from those who remembered the bus fondly and wished it was still around! Due to this level of interest, Sue decided to write about the playbus journey as a story book, and was able to trial it on the children that she was teaching.
Once the book was completed, Sue faced the task of illustration, an important aspect of the book when appealing to children! Sue told us about the challenges of this process: who would it go to? What style would she want? What would this cost? After some research and a few attempts of illustration herself, Sue finally reached the point where the story was the best it could be, and was ready for release. She told us…
“I am so pleased with the final outcome and glad to see the end of this part of the journey. There are many mobile projects around and they all work in different aspects. They are usually bright and colourful, self-contained and most of all mobile; taking services to the community. Today many are based on trucks and vans but to me the double-decker bus held the fondest memories.”
A playbus is a unique mobile project which takes the services direct to the users.