Rastamouse creator wows children at library

Little Venice author has watched his Rastafarian mouse gain cult status

The man behind a children’s TV series which has gained cult status for starring a Rastafarian mouse treated youngsters to a morning of fun at Church Street library last week.

From the humble beginnings of self-publishing the first Rastamouse book, Little Venice resident Michael de Souza has watched his Caribbean mouse creation grow to have his own 52-episode television series and even perform a live show at Glastonbury this summer.

“We [Mr de Souza and co-author Genevieve Webster] wrote the first book in about 2002 and self-published it in 2003,” said the man who children call Mr Rastamouse.

“We were approached by a publisher and they liked it but their vision for it wasn’t what we wanted so we did it ourselves.

“We decided to do it in rhyme and decided to put in the patois.”

The mouse, who speaks patois, the Caribbean regional dialect, is not the typical children’s television star but he has taken the country by storm alongside the rest of Da Easy Crew.

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Not just a hit with primary school age children, the TV series has grown cult status among adults for its use of slang.

“We wanted to write a book that children could enjoy with a black character as the lead to address the lack of books catering for the Caribbean community,” said Mr de Souza.

“We wanted to produce something completely different.

“We also wanted something that adults could enjoy when they were reading it to their children or when they came home from a night out and watched it on TV.”

Last week saw Mr de Souza take a break from his writing routine and day job as a swimming instructor to hold a workshop at Church Street library for children ranging in age from two to 15.

“We bring props along and get the young kids to act out bits of the story,” he said.

“I want to give the children some confidence to speak in public and develop some of their skills.

“With the older kids I talk to them about publishing and all the different elements of producing a book from illustrating and design to printing and character development.”

With another TV series in the pipeline as well as more books, a stage show, a range of merchandise, a CD and a DVD, Rastamouse looks set to be around for a while yet.