Actor and writer Chris O’Dowd, who’s currently starring in Puffin Rock, talks children’s books and the animation’s Irish setting in an exclusive interview.
Was there a favourite book that your parents read to you when you were a child?
I was really into the Enid Blyton books as a kid, so maybe The Faraway Tree and then Roald Dahl and The Witches and The BFG. Then I was lucky enough to do the audio book for Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is a wonderful story.
Do you have any tips for reading to your child?
At the age that he’s at, anything in a high voice seems to work.
If you could go back and tell your younger self to read one particular book, what would it be?
The Pearl by John Steinbeck. It’s a great and powerful read about not getting carried away with shiny things.
Puffin Rock is set on a beautiful island off the coast of Ireland. Did you visit similar places growing up?
There is a little island off the west coast which is very similar to where Puffin Rock is shot, like Belmullet or Achill Island, so I can immediately identify with the type they are talking about. Or there’s Inishmaan over in the west that we used to go to as kids, which are very beautiful and teaming with life that you don’t really see anywhere else, these kind of volcanic landscapes that almost look like the coast of Iceland.
What did you enjoy most about working on Puffin Rock?
I learnt a lot about sea life, most of life and things that I probably should have known before about the lives of crabs and puffins and whatnot. I like that I can, as a narrator, I come across as the expert, when I’m learning it at the same time the audience is.
Unlike a lot of shows, it’s very calm. It’s a very gentle adventure that can only lead to very sweet dreams.
This Father’s Day take our Top of the Pops quiz and find out if your dad’s a bookish Mr Bennet, heroic Atticus Finch or adventurous William Smith from Dahl’s classic, Danny, The Champion of the World. Just visit the Penguin UK Books Facebook Page and tell us what makes your dad tick.
For even more bookish suggestions for the trickiest of dads, check out our selection of top titles on the Penguin website.