Over the moon to meet space author

WIDE-eyed youngsters took a trip to outer space when a South Tyneside author dropped in to see them.

Simon Bartram visited South Shields Museum and Art Gallery to lead excited children on an alien hunt.

The author and illustrator has won countless awards for his series of picture books about Bob, the Man on the Moon, including the Blue Peter Children's Book Award.

Mr Bartram, who grew up in Hebburn, was at the Ocean Road museum as part of its latest exhibition, Space Age: Exploration Design and Culture.

He read from his best-selling book Bob's Best Ever Friend, while children joined in with alien spotting and helped him design and illustrate a brand new alien.

He said: "I always love to get out and about to read my stories to children, and to read them to children in my local area is even more special.

"The museum provided a wonderful space for alien spotting and the kids were particularly eagle-eyed.

"I'd love to do another event here soon. It was a blast."

The packed-out event was attended by more than 40 local fans and their families, who were delighted to meet their favourite author.

One youngster, six-year-old Andrew Lawler, from Sunderland, had a great time at the event.

He said: "My favourite bit was when Simon drew the alien. I got to join in by helping decide what clothes the alien should wear and how many legs it had.

"I love the Man on the Moon books – my favourite is A Right Royal Disaster, which Simon signed for me."

Andrew's dad Keith said: "The Man on the Moon is our favourite bedtime read. The whole family are big sci-fi fans, so we've had a great day out today meeting Simon and having a look around the Space Age exhibition."