ROD Campbell’s much loved and well thumbed children's book, Dear Zoo, has been adapted by Rod into a play, which is touring the country and calling in at Ulverston’s Coronation Hall this weekend. Written by Rod, produced by Norwell Lapley Productions and directed by Michael Gattrell, Dear Zoo Live on Stage is suitable for children aged two to six, and brought to life through child-engaging puppets, original music and lots of audience interaction, serving as a wonderful introduction to those coming to the story for the first time.

The delightful story of Dear Zoo – in which a child writes to the zoo asking to be sent a pet – has become a publishing phenomenon and celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2017 with a unique partnership with London Zoo.

Now, having established himself as one of the most successful children’s authors in the UK, at the age of 72 Rod is entering a brave new world. He says he found the process of writing a play quite an eye-opener and admits that the job of transferring his story to the stage was, at times, challenging. He was anxious to remain as faithful as possible to the essence of his best selling book. “The stage show will play on the thrill of opening the crates,”adds Rod. “Children up to the age of six love the animals and they also love the guesswork - “what’s in the box?’”

It’s that curiosity, Rod believes, which has ensured that the book has remained so popular: “Children have a great curiosity about what’s behind the flap. They love to open the flaps again and again. Of course, they know what’s behind each one, but every time they approach it as though they don’t. For every child each time is like the first time.

"The pay off in the play is that inside each crate is an animal that speaks.”

Performances on Saturday are at 1.30pm and 3.30pm; Sunday, 11am and 2pm.

Box office 01229-587140.