Tag Archives: Martin Waddell

Picture Book Giveaway

To celebrate over 500 Twitter followers (wow), as a pay-it-forward thank-you for picture books I’ve been very kindly sent, and to pimp this blog and facebook page I’ve decided to run a small giveaway.

Any regular readers may have guessed I’m a teeny bit addicted to books. I like to support local independent bookstores and charity shops, but acquire books from many different sources. I recently purchased a Martin Waddell picture book collection from The Book People but we already had two of the books. These are what I’m offering as a giveaway 🙂

Martin Waddell writes a huge amount of varied books, many of which are well deserved classics. The two books offered in this giveaway are definitely classics: Owl Babies and Farmer Duck.

Farmer Duck (1991) is illustrated by the amazing Helen Oxenbury. It tells the story of a lazy farmer who overworks the poor duck, until the other animals come up with a plan. Beautifully illustrated and a firm favourite with children.

Owl Babies (1992) is illustrated by Patrick Benson (they also collaborated on one of my Fiction Fridays favourites, The Tough Princess). It is the classic tale of separation anxiety – three baby owls wake to find their mother missing and wait for their return. It’s probably the scariest scenario for small children but fortunately all ends well and Mummy Owl reassures that she said she would come back.

In order to be in with a chance of receiving these two books, you must have a UK address for the books to be posted to, and:

  1. Leave a comment on this post
  2. Follow Child-Led Chaos blog
  3. Like Child-Led Chaos on Facebook
  4. Tweet about this giveaway
  5. Write a blog entry about this giveaway

That gives up to five (optional) entries per person. For each entry, please leave a separate comment on this post. I’ll write the names and get MG or DG to pick one out randomly – nothing but the highest technology here! The closing date for entering this giveaway is midnight Monday 7th May. The winner will have one week to claim the books. I’ve not done this before so bear with me if I make mistakes!

Opening Lines

I used to want to be an author. I used to read avidly, literally hundreds of books a year. And I wrote, and wrote. But this was way back in my teens and early 20’s, now I’m 36 it’s been 15 years since I wrote regularly and over 10 years since I wrote anything at all. But inspired by the Children’s Writer blog and behind-the-scenes writing comments from (too many to mention) picture book authors and illustrators on Twitter, I thought I might revisit a story that’s been in my head all that time and write it for my girls…

My aspirations to be an author have faded over time, and I don’t have the patience to really write at this stage in my life but I thought I could manage a short story just for my girls. I hoped to be able to pull the threads of my ideas together, put the words in some sort of order and sort out the ending so it worked. Ideas are easy, writing is the hard part!

With that in mind, I started to think of the opening sentence(s). Perhaps just writing the story down first would be the best idea, but it’s been in my head for so long I thought I’d start at the beginning. Fiction Fridays have taught me that the first sentence can really sell a book to the reader. The story is a non-traditional fairy tale, so I looked for inspiration:

“Once upon a time there lived a King and a Queen who weren’t very good at it.” The Tough Princess (Waddell & Benson)

“Once there was a Dragon who was convinced he was TOTALLY TERRIFYING.” The Totally Terrifying Three (Oram & Melling)

“Once upon a Tuesday the king was in a hurry as usual.” The Kiss That Missed (Melling)

“Once upon a time, there was a deep, dark forest, where monstrous trees groaned, terrible beasties moaned and wiggly woos waited to tickle your toes.” Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Big Adventure (Stephenson)

“The trouble with Dragons is… Dragons make Dragons and they make some more till there are wall-to-wall Dragons making Dragons galore.” The Trouble With Dragons (Gliori)

“Long, and long ago, when Oberon was king of the fairies, there reigned over the fair country of Phantasmorania a monarch who had six beautiful daughters.” The Ordinary Princess (Kaye)

The Ordinary Princess isn’t a picture book. It is however a perfect fairy tale. I think it’s the book I want to write. Except it was already written over 30 years ago! It definitely deserves its own post.

After looking at the inspiration, I thought about the opening lines for “my” story. Hmmm, maybe I’ll think about writing again in another ten years… 🙂

Fiction Fridays #10: The Tough Princess

FF#10
The Tough Princess: Martin Waddell & Patrick Benson (1986)

Once upon a time there lived a King and a Queen who weren’t very good at it.

Read more about Fiction Fridays here.
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Extra Info:
I found this book in a charity shop and fell in love with it instantly after a quick flick through. It’s an alternate fairytale by the team who created Owl Babies. Princess Rosamund is not what her parents expected. She’s a girl for a start. She also absolutely refuses to follow fairytale conventions, have a spell cast on her and be rescued by a prince. Off she goes to slay dragons and rescue princes, but none of them are good enough until… Well, you’ll just have to read the book!

I’m quite happy to read this to my two young daughters, but some people might prefer to leave it for older primary aged children – there is a lot of biffing and bashing, but sensible children (and most of them are) will understand this is a story. I think it’s fantastic, and is just the kind of fairytale I want my girls to have: “I’m not going to marry a ninny!” says Rosamund. Good for her.

I also have an extra soft spot for this book because Destructo-Girl’s real name is Rosamund, and it’s always nice to read a book with your name in it – although apparently not at two and a half: “Not Rosamund!” 😆