Monthly Archives: October 2021

A Muddy Conclusion #flashfiction

Last week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story embraces the mud. What is the mud, real or metaphor? How does it transform a character or place? What happens? Go where the prompt leads!

Although Charli gave an extended time in which to respond, I wrote my story Mud Cake Recipe in the usually one-week allocation. Some of your lovely comments encouraged me to continue the story a little further, which I have done here.

I hope you like it.

A Muddy Conclusion

“It’s just mud. It’ll wash off.”

“But it’s everywhere. Those children are unruly. My children would never —”

“And where are your children now?”

“Hmpff!” said the neighbour, stomping home, muttering about impudence, inconsideration and downright rudeness. “You haven’t heard the last of this.”

“Come on,” said the mother. “Let’s get you and the fence cleaned up.”

With buckets, brushes and rags, the children washed the fence. When it was done, they turned on each other. “Bullseye! Got you!”  They tussled and tumbled. Laughter filled the air.

The neighbour glowered at the mud-covered children. “Well, I never,” she said.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Grandmas are Greater than Great by James Solheim – #readilearn

How could I resist a picture book titled Grandmas are Greater than Great? I was captivated by Kaitlyn Sanchez’s interview with author James Solheim on her blog Math is Everywhere and knew immediately that I would have to buy this book for my granddaughter’s tenth birthday later in the year.

When I was turning ten, my grandfather impressed on me how grown up I was becoming now that I had reached double figures. I’d never forgotten how important it had made me feel. When my grandson turned ten, I wrote him a letter telling him about the significant milestone and what my grandfather said to me. With his little sister’s tenth birthday fast approaching, I knew I had to do something similar for her, but not the same. Solheim’s book seemed just the thing, so I ordered it immediately. I wasn’t disappointed. (I wasn’t disappointed either when I received a free copy from the author, simply because I’d commented on Kaitlyn’s blog. How awesome is that!)

About James Solheim

James Solheim’s books circle the globe and travel through centuries.  They explore the wackiest foods on earth and tell the stories of history through our grandmas.

Born in rural North Dakota in the U.S., he grew up mostly in Missouri.  As a child he wrote and illustrated his own books and looked for lost civilizations and dinosaur bones in his backyard.

He met his eventual wife when he was assigned to sit by her at a spelling bee in eighth grade, with the result that he misspelled “paisley.”  She is now a scientist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Their two children are imaginative, talented grownups—grown up compared to their dad, that is.

Invite James to your school or organization to give one of his “Think Big!” presentations. These programs help kids set big goals and see the importance of books in reaching them.

He’ll even do an online visit with your school or book group!

About Grandmas are Greater than Great

Grandmas Are Greater Than Great is a humorous, animated, and informative look at the lasting power of ancestors. Explore families, generations, and kid power in this heartfelt collaboration between James Solheim and bestselling illustrator Derek Desierto.

Everyone has two grandmas, and every grandma has her own two grandmas. This cycle continues back through time and history.

Traveling from generation to generation, this dynamic picture book offers young readers a bird’s-eye view of how daily life has changed over time. But despite all the differences, one thing has remained the same: a grandma’s love.

James Solheim’s lively text and Derek Desierto’s exuberant illustrations capture the delights and challenges each daughter, mother, and grandma encountered through the centuries. This rich multigenerational story explores the idea that we are all the product of those who came before us, and it will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Grandmas Are Greater Than Great includes basic information on exponential growth and a family tree.  It’s a gift of a book for all ages to read with their families, friends, or on their own.

My Review

Continue reading: Grandmas are Greater than Great by James Solheim – Readilearn

Mud Cake Recipe #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story embraces the mud. What is the mud, real or metaphor? How does it transform a character or place? What happens? Go where the prompt leads!

As you probably already know, as an educator, I primarily write for and about children. Mud is perfect for young children. It has such a great texture for play and responds in so many ways when we squish it, splatter it, stomp it, throw it, roll in it. There is something enticing about getting wet and dirty, and children seem to find puddles and mud totally irresistible. I hope I’ve captured a little of that excitement in my flash.

Mud Cake Recipe

How to Make Mud Cake

Ingredients

A patch of loose soil

A generous supply of water from the sky, hose or bucket

Rays of sunlight

A sprinkle of imagination

A torrent of laughter

Utensils

Gumboots

Method

Add enough water to soak the soil. It must be wet, not moist.

Stomp until well-mixed with no visible remnants of dry soil.

Squish the mush by hand until the hands are completely encased.

Spread by hand the gooey mixture over face, hair and clothing until well covered.

Terrorise the neighbourhood.

Leave in place until dry in the sun and the mud cakes.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Once Upon a Whoops! — Teaching Ideas – #readilearn

In this post I share some ideas for using Once Upon a Whoops! in the classroom.

Once Upon a Whoops! is a collection of over 40 fractured fairy tales and ridiculous rhymes written and illustrated by Australian authors and illustrators and published by Share Your Story in 2021.

The activities suggested in this post support teaching of the literature strand of the Australian Curriculum F-2. The list not comprehensive as there are too many stories to go into detail for each one. Instead, I provide some general ideas and reference just a few stories for each suggestion.

Of course, in addition to these, the stories can be used as a stimulus in art and technology units if children make props and other objects to support retellings, puppet plays and performances. Many of the stories also provide opportunities for mathematical discussions.

Once Upon a Whoops! is available from Amazon and other online bookstores.

Please note: this book is now also available in Dyslexia font.

Many of the stories have been recorded by the authors. The videos are available on YouTube by following this link.

My stories Silverlocks and the Three Bears and The Three Alpha Pigs are also available on the readilearn YouTube channel. Click on the titles to follow the links.

Once Upon a Whoops! — what’s in the book

Continue reading: Once Upon a Whoops! — Teaching Ideas – readilearn

Whispers #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot RanchCharli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes whispers. It can be beautiful or creepy and any genre. Where are the whispers, who are they from, and what do they say if they say anything at all. Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you like it.

Whispers

She watched from the side, longing to join in, fearing being ignored. Or worse, banished. Determined to beat her shyness, she’d shuffle one step forward, then the old insecurities would immobilise her, reminding her she didn’t belong. One foot forward. Stop. Another foot forward. Stop. She was almost there when the game paused, and they looked directly at her. She froze. They feigned whispers hidden behind hands. She didn’t need to guess. She ran and hid behind a tree, wishing for invisibility. “I’ll never belong!” Soon one face appeared, then others. “Please come and play with us,” they chorused.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Australia Remembers Len Waters Boundless and Born to Fly by Catherine Bauer – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to share with you the inspiring story of Kamilaroi man Len Waters Boundless and Born to Fly, the third in the Australia Remembers Series published by Big Sky Publishing. This post is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

I previously shared information about the first in the Australia Remembers Series, Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials written by Allison Paterson in this post.

The second, Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force was also written by Allison Paterson.

About Catherine Bauer

Catherine Bauer is the author of the 2019 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Dreaming Soldiers, a moving story about the friendship of two boys from different cultures. Her picture book, Colourful Memories, was inspired by her father’s journey from post-World War II Germany to Australia in the 1950s. She has also written three children’s plays, all with Aboriginal themes.

Catherine has worked as a news and political journalist and features writer for various newspapers and publications and has advised both government and the corporate sector on media management and public relations. She is now working with the State Theatre Company, South Australia.

Her love of writing and storytelling began as an eight-year-old, when Catherine wrote and illustrated her first book about a mermaid. She aims for her stories to spark all or one of the following three reactions in readers: ‘that’s me’; ‘I wish that was me’ or ‘I’m glad that’s not me’.

Catherine lives in Adelaide, South Australia, with her three sones. She loves art, history, fitness, cats, chocolate and reading.

About Australia Remembers

Len Waters may have been born behind the gates of an Aboriginal reserve, but his big imagination and even bigger dreams took him soaring well beyond the reach of those who tried to confine him. Kamilaroi man Len Waters dreamed of taking to the skies. It was an unlikely dream at the time, but during WWII he beat the odds to become Australia’s first known Aboriginal fighter pilot.

Rules and restrictions controlled much of Len’s early life. Born in the 1920s, Len had a basic education and life was lacking in luxury. But Len had a sharp mind. He had a boundless work ethic. Len also had big dreams and a family who supported them. Australia Remembers 3: Len Waters – Boundless and Born to Fly takes readers on Len Waters’ soaring journey from making his home-made model aeroplanes at his kitchen table, to flying RAAF fighter jets in the south west Pacific in World War II.

Len was a history maker, a young man who didn’t let society’s prejudice, his culture or skin colour stand in his way. But when WWII was over, Len sadly discovered that his service and courage did not result in equality. Len once said that, out of his RAAF uniform, he simply ‘returned to being a black fellow’. Today, decades later, Len’s determination and achievements are recognised and honoured across Australia.

Ages: 6 – 12 years

Subject: RAAF, History

Sample Pages

Continue reading: Australia Remembers Len Waters Boundless and Born to Fly by Catherine Bauer – readilearn

Rainbow Flotilla #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story uses the phrase, “across the water.” It can be any body of water distant or close. Who (or what) is crossing the water and why? Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you like it.

Rainbow Flotilla

She wrote a message on each piece of paper and folded them into tiny boats. At the lake, she launched them from the bank, then watched the rainbow flotilla sail across the water. Curious ducks investigated, capsizing one or two, but the rest sailed on. A turtle popped up, knocking one off-course. It smashed on the rocks, but the rest sailed on. A dragonfly alighted on one, enjoying the free ride as the rest sailed on, finally reaching the other side. A child fished one out and opened it to dry. He read the message, then smiled and waved.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

The Adventures of Grandmasaurus — an interview – #readilearn

Today I am delighted to introduce you to the author and illustrator of The Adventures of Grandmasaurus and The Adventures of Grandmasaurus at the Aquarium Rescue Centre published in Canada by Common Deer Press. While most interviews and reviews I share are of Australian authors and illustrators, it is a pleasure to have this opportunity of introducing you to author Caroline Fernandez and illustrator Shannon O’Toole, both Canadian.

About Author Caroline Fernandez

Caroline Fernandez is an award-winning Canadian children’s author. She lives, writes, and bakes in Toronto, ON.

About illustrator Shannon O’Toole

Shannon O’Toole is a Toronto based illustrator, painter and elementary school teacher. She has illustrated Stop Reading This Book!, The Adventures of Grandmasaurus series, as well as The Math Kids Series published by Common Deer Press. Her playful illustration work is inspired by the unique and humorous characters in her life. Aside from illustrating books for children, Shannon has exhibited her artwork in galleries across Ontario. When she is not drawing, Shannon can be found curled up with a cup of coffee, watching old movies.

About The Adventures of Grandmasaurus at the Aquarium

Grandma is at it again! Moonie and I just want to enjoy our class trip to the Aquarium Recue Centre, but Grandma has other plans.

When dust makes her sneeze and turn into different Mesozoic Era marine reptiles it’s up to us to track her down, stop her funny business, and make sure we still have time to finish our field trip reports.

The first Adventures of Grandmasaurus — my review

Continue reading: The Adventures of Grandmasaurus — an interview – readilearn