If you follow the North Bay music scene, chances are you’ve heard of The Gator Nation Band and David Sydney Scott, who plays the saxophone. But what you may not know is that a song he composed for children 20 years ago is the inspiration behind the recently published children’s book, Platypus Picnic, written by Scott and illustrated with enchanting drawings by Teresa Hatton.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Scott brings his passion for music and the world of life down under to children’s concerts. “The song was received well right away,” says Scott. Before playing the song, he explains to children that he’s an immigrant from another country and asks them to guess where. He gives them a number of clues. “I tell them my country has a platypus, a koala (that’s not a bear), a wombat, and a kangaroo,” he says. Once they hear “kangaroo,” the children gleefully shout, “Australia!”
The song is always a crowd pleaser. “It’s easy to sing and has a fun New Orleans rhythm,” says Scott. The picture book is aimed for children, ages 3 to 8, and describes the adventures of a platypus picnic down by the billabong where everyone can gather in their “dancin’ pants.” It also includes a glossary of terms such as a billabong (a water hole), a platypus (a water creature with a duck-like bill) and a wallaby (a small kangaroo).
Scott began taking saxophone lessons at age 10, and met Louis Armstrong at a radio station when he was 15. Scott was there to get his autograph and mentioned to the jazz artist that he also played the wind instrument. “Keep on practicing,” Armstrong advised young David. Scott began playing professionally at 17 for a hit rock and roll band, known as “The Leeman.” Later, he left Australia to travel the world, playing in Japan, Hong Kong, New Caledonia in the South Pacific, and Tahiti.
Platypus Picnic is available in the North Bay at Copperfield’s Books and at Reader’s Books in Sonoma. It’s also available at etsy.com, or at Gator Nation children’s concerts. For more information, visit gatornationband.com.
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