Children?s author, illustrator and comedian Kym Lardner keeps his audience laughing at Sandy Beach Primary School yesterday.
Children?s author, illustrator and comedian Kym Lardner keeps his audience laughing at Sandy Beach Primary School yesterday.

Kids have last laugh

By LEE McDOUGALL

'DO YOU like bandaids?', 'How old are you?' and 'Do you crack yourself up?' were some of the tough questions faced by Kym Lardner when he visited Sandy Beach Primary School yesterday.

The Melbourne-based children's author, illustrator, musician and comedian met with students yesterday to answer some of life's big questions.

"Gathering around the fire to tell stories is a time-honoured tradition," Mr Lardner said.

"Kids love it. It is a bonding experience. It's going into their world, talking their language. It's building a deep loving connection between each of us."

Mr Lardner has been telling stories to kids since he was a child himself.

As the eldest of five children, and with nine cousins, the task of 'entertaining the kids' during school holidays and at family gatherings fell on his more than willing shoulders.

Listening to Mr Lardner tell his stories ? such as 'When I was 3' ? it is hard not to draw comparisons.

Quickly coming to mind are Rolf Harris and a clean, childfriendly Billy Connolly.

It's not hard to see why children laugh so hard their faces hurt ? Mr Lardner combines simple stories that we can all relate to with funny voices, comedic delivery, humorous drawings and funny little tunes.

"They (children) have to face the world with meager resources of their own, so to give them humour is a powerful tool," Mr Lardner said.

"I show a great deal of respect to the kids, and they respond to that."

Mr Lardner visits schools Australia-wide, speaking with an estimated 30,000 students each year.

His first book, The Sad Little Monster and the Jelly Bean Queen, this year will be printed in Jap- anese, while the ABC will re-release his four picture books and a new DVD containing his stories.

"I'm like a stand-up comic for kids. My stories are original, no folklore or fairytales here," Mr Lard- ner said.



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