Banner image: Penny Dolan, storyteller & childrens author My
Friday, May 28, 2004
Look out for Peppa Pig!
PEPPA PIG is a totally cute cartoon series, starting mornings, Monday 31st May on Channel Five ( Peppa lasts from 7.35 - 7.40am, so is perfect for viewing while the kettle boils, munching your cereal, matching your socks, or struggling back to bed.

What age is Peppa Pig for? Holly, the four year old in Radio Times, liked "watching Peppa and her brother George jump about in the mud", and the "really sweet" voices. She said it was a bit too short, and a little too young for her. (So did her mum - the young bit, anyway!)

But I'd say whatever age enjoys it, enjoys it! We loved our piggy preview here! So add some cute to your mornings, AND support animation in the UK as well: watch PEPPA PIG! Oink oink!

(No, I ain't being paid for this - no cash or acorns have changed trotters, I promise!)
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Stupendous Suspense over Author's Ancient Website!
Yes, I did promise my website update would zapped into place by now, but poor Mr. Big Brain found that VATman was paying a visit! So I was sent sliding back down the snake again. However,I am hoping to get to a ladder and be back up the list sometime soon. The new version won't be all-singing & all-dancing, but it WILL have my two new books on it! Hooray!

Have just been invited by Rotherham Libraries to the Rotherham Children's Festival in late June, and to Hull Literature Festival's "Open Air" Day too! Exciting but scarey!

Oh, and a hello and thank you to the children and staff of:
Felliscliffe and Kettlesing Primary School, N. Yorks;
Huby Primary School, near Easingwold, N. Yorks;
Brompton-on-Swale Primary School, N. Yorks
and Wigginton Primary School, York, where I'm speaking at assembly tomorrow.

Then it's half-term! Have a good one, everybody. I'll be eating birthday cake. Yum Yum!
Friday, May 21, 2004
"You shall go to the Ball!"
Actually not a Ball, but as a diarist might write: "To the Scholastic Children's Books Summer Party, at the new Opera House by Covent Garden this Wednesday night, where there was much amiable company and fine wine!" It was a beautiful, spacious venue: a new gallery set high in the roof of the Opera House, with the setting sun gilding the stone and metal and roofs and spires of London - and lots of lovely people to meet as well. It was absolutely wonderful, so many thanks to everyone involved.

Today the opposite experience - a quick trip down into the ancient gloom of an iner city library, for a welcome cup of pre-talk coffee, and another sighting of that strange collision that was (is?) architectural planning and thinking. So many libraries of a certain age were built to suggest splendour and high thoughts! As a child, I imagined librarians working in wonderful vaulted rooms, as mystic as the Wizard of Oz, or enthroned in the copper domes, or the arches or the top turrets of those temples to literature.

So I still feel a shock when climbing up or down the steep and always-too-narrow stairs, into the space created for the library staff, rather like visiting the servant's attic dormitories in a luxurious stately home. With the lack of daylight, it's a wonder some staff have enough strength to lift the stacks of books! And, YES, I do know lots of people do all they can to make library offices bright and welcoming, but sometimes the architectural message is unmistakeable: a scratchy sacking petticoat under a grand satin gown. Let's hope the planners have moved on.

Excuse this social history digression. Because, as ever, the librarians were kind and generous and welcoming, the coffee hot, the area set out ready for my session, and the sixty or so children from Harehills Primary School were interested and fun - not to mention the bunch of flowers. Thank you! The visit was a Ball, too, and a happy way to celebrate today's official publication day for my two new books, THE PHANTOM OF BILLY BANTAM and THE GHOUL OF BODGER O'TOOLE (Scholastic). So look out for them now!

Sunday, May 16, 2004
There's just this one thing . . .
Yes, made it, my story got emailed off - enormous sense of phew! - and then I got this call. Lovely story, but one more (totally obvious, except to my dim brain)tweak needed.
This feeling reminds me of climbing up Ben More, struggling to a summit, and then finding another summit looming through the mist! Never mind, hoist the rucksack that is my manuscript, and on we go . . . ! Curse, whistle, pant, groan, can't believe I didn't see it, where's that chocolate etc. ad infinitum. I may be some time . . !
Thursday, May 13, 2004
About that web-site update - and more schools.
Yes, it's still to be done. This weekend. Maybe. Sometime. Ah well. Both too busy to check it out. Just now I'm dreaming it may start with "Penny recently took her flint axe and chipped away at another new megalith . . .."

But while I'm blogalogging, greetings and thanks to the following schools, and all who helped with the visits:
Headfield Junior, Dewsbury,West Yorkshire.
Duddon St. Peter's Primary, plus friends from Utkinton, Calveley, Eaton, Kelsall, Tarporley and Tarvin Primary Schools, Cheshire.
Holy Name RC Primary, Leeds.
Shaw School, Melksham, Wiltshire.
Great Bedwyn School, Wiltshire,
last but not by any means least
Year 7 at St Mary's, Calne, Wiltshire.

Still here . . .
Still here and thinking and writing and thinking and writing and I'm almost at the end of it except for all the bits I've found I've forgotten and the word counts too long and was it a daft idea anyway and ....... aaaagh! I'll be back blogging when this is finally totally hopefully ecstatically done. Tomorrow morning!
Monday, May 03, 2004
There are thousand pound marketing campaigns, and
There is this 1p copper coin method!

Hooray, hooray, hooray! Last week I came across copies of my TWO LATEST BOOKS, officially published on May 21st 2004, but already within a bookshop - maybe near you? The two new titles are THE PHANTOM OF BILLY BANTAM - all marshy Eat Anglian waterland - and THE GHOUL OF BODGER O'TOOLE - rocky cliffs and Cornish coves for that setting. They join THE GHOST OF ABLE MABEL and THE SPECTRE OF HAIRY HECTOR to make atmospheric and ghostly reads. (Scholastic, btw.)

I've been blessed by the books excellent covers, created by Klaas Verplancke, and the quirky black and white illustrations of Philip Hopman. Worth a lread for the art work alone.

Oh, and that wonderful place where I found my titles? One of the heroic independent children's bookshops, of course. Called, with great clarity, THE CHILDREN'S BOOKSHOP. It's at Lindley, near Huddersfield. Thanks to everyone there!

I'm off on my Tale of White Winter Hollow re-write now, so head down, eyes glued, choccy biscuits at the ready, etc etc. Back soon! Bye!
Out of the mouths of babes. . .
Well, not so much a babe but an eight year old.

There I was in the school hall, having fun with some children. We were in free flight, imagining a story about a lad who makes good by using a concrete mixer. He makes an enormous apple pie (my mind was filled with images from The Enormous Jam Sandwich, for those of you who remember it!)

Well, at the end, who drives past the school (still fiction here, okay?) but the Queen ( their choice!), who is totally delighted by the tasty Apple Pie, and grants the children . .

"What?" I ask

NO MORE TESTS! pipes up a small voice. joined by a general groan of agreement. Hmmm!
Enough for now, folks, and good luck to all of you!
A blog about the life, times and travels of a Children's Writer, Storyteller and Book Week Visitor. For more writerly thoughts, pop over to my other blog The Year Of Mouse ( Squeak!

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