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Fun, Laughter And Excitement Planned For A ‘Secret Undies Cover Agent’

Children’s author Dereley Barry didn’t expect the print-run of her first ever self-illustrated book to sell out in a flash. But within only one month, she had to order more books with the printers.

To celebrate the second edition of her kids’ adventure book, she will perform a live reading and fun show that is guaranteed to have Foxton’s primary school children in stitches. Her story is about a live pair of undies that gets itself into all kinds of twists at Foxton Beach.

“I worked in primary schools for decades – organising the pantomimes and kids’ drama – so now it’s my time to give back to the little ones, with a show of my own,” says Dereley.

The book-reading performance will be held in the open space of Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom’s foyer, in Foxton. The hilarious characters in ‘Top Bottom Secret Undies Cover Agent – A stripey blue adventure’ will come to life through Dereley’s use of silly voices and characterisations.

Schools throughout the region may follow suit – from Manawatū and beyond, to Kāpiti. “It’s funny how you think you’re settling into quiet retirement,” Dereley says, “and then suddenly you achieve notoriety all over the place.”

“My husband Jim and I were having lunch in Ōtaki recently, and this lady we didn’t know rushes up to him and says she’s pleased to see he’s got his clothes on…! Because in the book, Jim struggles with the Secret Undies Cover Agent, and ends up baring a fair few body parts on the beach, in the freezing cold sea and a hot bubble bath after to warm him up…”

The Secret Undies Cover Agent book started out as a real-life tale, after Dereley’s grandson left his stripey blue underpants behind at Grandma’s. She had to get them back to him, and decided to send him a story to go with it. Four years later, the (autobiographical) book was born.

“Some parts of the book are 100% true,” says Dereley. “Others, of course, are fantasy and embellishment. At my readings, I will give away a few books to the kids, if they can guess which bits are true, and which bits are not.”

Dereley didn’t find it easy to get a publisher. “One of them told me that because the book mentions ‘dingly dangly bits’ a few times – in a very innocent and fun way – book sellers wouldn’t have it in their shops. So I had to publish it myself. And it turns out that book sellers on ‘main street’ and in the malls love having it on display. My best sales outlet is the Flax Gift Gallery though, in Foxton. So it must be pretty arty as well.”

After receiving positive comments from ex school colleagues who find it ‘hilarious’ – and not just for the kids, but also for adults – Dereley decided to start promoting the book more widely, starting with schools.

The book readings start in Foxton, with plans to go out to the schools in the wider region, possibly all the way to Whanganui and Porirua.

“It’s an ideal stocking filler,” Dereley says. “And it hits the funny spot for just about everyone. So I’m looking forward to standing in front of the kids again to make them laugh. I’ve been practicing my witches’ voice, and a lot of the others. It’s showtime…!”

Secret Undies Cover Agent reading: Tuesday 1 Dec - 1.30pm / Wednesday 2 Dec - 10am

Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom: Open space, in the Foyer

Address: 92 Main Street, Foxton

Kids and Adults – Free entry

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