London-born Ivor Davis first came to America in the early 1960s, and was appointed West Coast correspondent for the London Daily Express in l963. His first big assignment: to travel with and get to know the four members of a new pop group from Liverpool who were tearing up the world with their music: The Beatles.
Davis’ subsequent journalism career included covering major events in North America. And while he is the author of several nonfiction works, his experience touring with one of the world’s most famous bands helped inspire his most recently work, his first-ever children’s book, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Penguins!
“I borrowed liberally from the Beatles and other sources to produce this kid’s book,” said Davis, now a resident of Ventura. The Penguins is available on Amazon, as well as through his website, www.ivordavisbooks.com, where folks can purchase an autographed copy.
Published in December, the book is a tongue-in-cheek story about four penguins from the Falkland Islands, a remote British territory, who decide they want to be bigger than, well, the Beatles.
Davis got the idea for the book while doing a lecture on a Princess cruise line that made a stop at the Falkland Islands.
“I was absolutely flabbergasted,” Davis recalled. “There were 3,000 human beings and 1 million penguins, so I went to visit the penguins. While I was there I thought, what would happen if English penguins on this island decided they wanted to be rock stars?”
“I try to make it suited for the kids to know what different kinds of penguins there are, because there are many different breeds. And at the same time, I have a spoof about the Beatles,” Davis explained. “The penguins become famous, and their first big hit song is, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Flipper.’ ”
The penguins go on “to great success” and become so successful that the Queen of England takes notice, honoring them with prestigious OPE (Order of the Penguin Empire) medals.
His book includes a section about everything you wanted to know about penguins but were afraid to ask. There’s also an interactive illustration in which readers are asked to find the four names of the real Beatles that are hidden as well as fun facts about the Falkland Islands and even a penguin kids can color.
Most recently, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Penguins! attracted the attention of composer and singer Alan Shapiro, who was inspired to write the song, “I’m a Penguin.”
“When I gave him the book he said, ‘do you have a penguin song?’ ” Davis remembered. “Alan woke up one morning and composed the song. I like that because that’s exactly how Paul McCartney did his songwriting. Alan did this for me, so I’m thrilled. It will climb the Hit Parade.”
Book readings of Ladies and Gentlemen…The Penguins! with live music by Alan Shapiro are slated to take place on Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. at Very Ventura Gift Shop, 540 E. Main St. Ventura; and Feb. 3 at noon at the Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main St., Ventura. For more information, visit www.ivordavisbooks.com.