Totsapalooza hit the city this weekend, featuring Oliver Jeffers, noted author and illustrator of books such as How to Catch a Star and Lost and Found, indie rock artist Donn Kerr, and CBC personality Kevin Sylvester. This cool kid party celebrates do-it-yourself culture through music and stories, specifically picture books.
Originally conceived by Chris Reed, Artistic Director of Small Print Toronto, Totsapalooza marked its fifth anniversary with fun and revelry at Revival on College Street. The afternoon offered a chance for kids to listen to Oliver Jeffers read his stories (while the illustrations were projected on to a film screen above a stage), participate in a dance contest in which winners received book prizes, and create a craft project that saw colourful paper penguins take flight.
Revival was filled with mostly happy kids and parents, but I found one major miss with Totsapalooza. The space was too small, and the resulting crowds hampered the ability to move through the space and really engage with the activities. An obvious marker of success for Small Print Toronto is the fact that this is an annual event that sells out (and very quickly), but perhaps more consideration for the practicality of hosting this kind of production is needed. Let's see how next year goes.