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by Al Williams

Two New Zealand children’s entertainers shared their brand of fun with Timaru last Friday.
Craig Smith and Dean O’Brien the stage at Highfield Primary School for shows at 9am and 11.30am.
Smith is well known as the author of children’s book The Wonky Donkey, while ‘Brien performs under the alias of Mr Yipadee.
O’Brien arrived back in New Zealand recently after a decade cutting his teeth as an entertainer in the United Kingdom.
Smith said the collaboration came about after O’Brien contacted him.
“Dean contacted me after his parents bought him a copy of The Wonky Donkey for his daughter.
“Dean’s performance is higher energy than mine; this is why he’s second in the show. Mine is a little more sit-down and Dean’s is more stand-up.”
Smith had a career in sales and marketing until he became a children’s author and entertainer about eight years ago.
O’Brien described the show as a “fun live-music performance with interactive props, instruments and characters for the kids to join in with”.
“There is singing, dancing, comedy and, of course, a chance for the kids to sing and read along with the books.”
O’Brien said previously he had worked for radio stations in New Zealand and the UK.
“About four years ago, I lost my job working in media and then decided to pursue a dream of creating fun kids’ music and inspiring them to laugh, love and believe in themselves.
“We kept battling on and then my album started gaining traction with increased touring, and it rose to No 1 in the kids’ charts in the UK.”