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Slideshow: Dennis Lee and Small Print Toronto

Generations of Alligator Pie devotees braved blustery winds and slushy sidewalks on Feb. 11 to attend Small Print Toronto’s first Children’s Story Jam, featuring Dennis Lee.

The event attracted dozens of four- to six-year-olds (and their parents, of course), who were treated to a preview of poems that will appear in Lee’s upcoming children’s book, Melvis and Elvis, due out from HarperCollins Canada in fall 2013.

Fuelled by cookies and juice boxes, the young audience was boisterously accepting of the new material. In fact, Lee, who was hoping to glean which poems were least successful in an attempt to whittle down the contenders, was bemused by the workshop. “I don’t know what to make of today,” he told Q&Q. “ It’s funny to sit around hoping to find that something has laid an egg and isn’t working, but that’s actually what I was hoping to do.”

Given the lineup of parents holding out battered, decades-old copies of Lee’s books for him to sign, perhaps he shouldn’t have been surprised by the positive response.