Bug News the pet issue
Editorial | Our Pet Issue
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
I have 2 paw pets, this is Cypress she is a gooey American Bulldog who will serenade sadly when left alone too long. We also had Chevy a Mastiff x American Bulldog, 2 guinea pigs (George and Sweetheart), a very special princess parrot called Axl (must be beak to nose kissed) and 5 chickens (Penny, Hattie, Betty, Foxie and Cranky). Our pets all have different personalities and contribute to our lives in different ways. Cypress is my wonder dog though; she knows how to make me smile and just having her beside me makes my world a soggier, hairier and generally a more enriching place, even though she does smell rather bad at times.
My pets are always number one. Whether I agree to it or not... They include - Bailey the lovely lady Golden Retriever, Abel the strong (yet sensitive) German Shepherd pup, Spaz the old but tiny (pocket sized) Russian Blue Cat, and Pixel the Brushtail Possum. If we didn’t have pets, I just don’t know what we would do with ourselves. If they didn’t bark while I am working, how would I remember to get up and stretch away from the computer every hour? They just know me. So, thankyou to my furry family for being there for me. I dedicate this issue to my Tai, a Belgian Malinois Shepherd, and Shelby, the Ginger Tom/Alley Cat/Terminator. New to Rainbow Bridge but guaranteed to already be running the show.
Letter from the editor We have really enjoyed bringing this edition of Bug News to you, with its pet and animal theme it has been a very fuzzy and fun experience to put together. It isn’t really surprising that so many people treasure their pets and value wild animals in our world. They offer comfort and unconditional love, they fill our hearts and minds with such emotions as awe, wonder and joy. Different animals can represent different things to us and have always done so for a long time, if you take a look back in history you can see many examples. The power and grace of a bird of prey or the compassion and gentleness of an elephant herd, these things touch our hearts and give
Bug News the pet issue
us inspiration. Within these pages you will see several people in the book world with their pets and read how they feel about their life being enriched by a companion. We hope you enjoy exploring Bug News Autumn 2012 and if your pets inspire you why not send us in a picture (see page 27) for the We Love our Pets competition. Good Luck.
k o o B a n i Bug
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Introducing | Our Pet Issue
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. Hippolyte Taine
This edition of Bug News is all about our pets and animal friends. We are sharing our stories and pictures of those who help us get through the cold nights, clean our plates, inspire and motivate us and often make us giggle like loons because of their quirks and character. We hope you enjoy reading about our favourite pets and we welcome you to send us your stories and pictures. Julie Murphy
teaches us about the very cute and peculiar puffin, Thomas Hamlyn-Harris has contributed a great tree frog activity, Sandra Temple our featured illustrator has shared samples of her amazing animal artistry and Dee White our featured author talks about her journey into the book world and her fantastic program Writing Classes for Kids (not just for kids).
I live to serve the animals here at Ford Street. Dogs get a 40 minute run every morning, get fed, then the cat (no run for her!), the chickens -- they have a run, and lastly the fish, who I figure move about so much they don’t need any exercising. Oh, and a native pigeon that lands on the chicken shed whenever I’m feeding the chickens -- he/she gets some mixed grain, too. The pups are my most cherished pets, of course. Named pups, because “dog” is such a derogatory term and I believe a lot of humans should be tagged that term, and not lovable animals that do only good (for the most part). My heeler is incredibly smart. Or cunning. One or both, in any case. Usually I go to the kitchen for breakfast after I’ve fed them, and Molly comes in with a shoe. She won’t let go till she gets a treat. Yesterday I didn’t follow that routine and went to my computer first. Molly dutifully followed. She sat. She waited. Then suddenly she took off. “Strange,” I thought. Seconds later she reappeared with a
shoe in her mouth, tail wagging. Smart? Cunning? Dunno. But immeasurably lovable. She can be seen performing a few tricks to help me promote Mole Hunt, my latest book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4tTn_WXCiw. I figure she knows the more successful I am, the more food she’ll get.
All my life my family owned cats but I always wanted a dog. So much so that I had two imaginary dogs I’d refer to around the house. I finally got my very own ‘real’ pup four years ago - a ridiculously cute Cavoodle named Frankie. He sleeps on my toes while I write and curls on my lap while I read. He has boisterously turned up in several of my stories. He has cheered me up after many writing and life set-backs. This photo is of the day the first copy of my picture book arrived in the mail - there’s nothing quite like the excitement of a puppy to get you in the mood for celebrating.
Kitty Biscuits A cat’s pinup board...
This German Shepherd mix began to bark and claw at the front door until his owner let him outside. Within seconds, gunshots shattered the silent night and an armed intruder entered the home. Alerted to his presence by Sirus, the intruder was subdued. Though he took a bullet, Sirus miraculously survived.
This floppy-eared homeless pooch turned search-and-rescue dog was sent to Japan to search for for survivors after the country’s earthquake and tsunami. Pearl’s shelter-tohero story was captured in a children’s book, A New Job for Pearl.
When this Siberian husky’s owner, Marci Snead, went into hypoglycemic shock, Neo sprang into action. He ran into a nearby building and alerted several Good Samaritans, who followed Neo back to Snead. The paramedics were called and Snead fully recovered.
Cats ha v each fro e five toes on nt four toe paw but only s on ea ch back paw!
Pet Names made famous in Books!
• Smudge the dog in ‘Little White Dogs Can’t Jump’, Bruce Whatley and Rosie Smith. • Skitty
A lolcat (pronounced LOL-kat) is an image combining a photograph of a cat with text intended to contribute humour. The text is often idiosyncratic and grammatically incorrect, and its use in this way is known as “lolspeak” or “kitty pidgin”.
the dog in ‘That Magnetic Dog’, Bruce Whatley.
• Hopper the rabbit in ‘Hopper’, Marcus Pfister. • Lorkie and Sweetheart birds from ‘A Song for Lorkie’, Dean Bowen and Jennifer Castles. • Perry (dog) and Edwin (cat) the pets from ‘Olivia’, Ian Falkoner. • Ollie
the rabbit from ‘I Love Easter’, Anna Walker.
the rabbit from ‘Squish Rabbit’, Katherine Battersby.
• Popcorn the pony from ‘Stubborn Little Pony’, Kyle Mewburn and Heath McKenzie. • Pickle
the turtle from ‘Slowcoach Turtle’ Kyle Mewburn and Heath McKenzie.
• Pumpkin the dog from ‘Funny Little Dog’ Kyle Mewburn and Heath McKenzie. • Slinky Huggy loves to rest his floppy chops on the top of my head. It makes me feel loved and gives him a better view of the TV! Christine Bongers
the cat from ‘Slinky Malinki’, Lynley Dodd.
• Schnitzel the dog from ‘Schnitzel Von Krumm’s Basketwork’, Lynley Dodd. • Noni
the pony from ‘Noni the Pony’, Alison Lester. 6
Feature | Writers & Pets
Bill Styron walking with Aquinnah, Roxbury, Connecticut, April 29, 1979. Photo: Jill Krementz 7
“For the last few months, whenever I have been home--which has been most of the time--I have been accustomed to taking long daily walks with my dog Aquinnah. Our walks are for business and for pleasure, and also for survival--interlocking motives that have somehow acquired nearly equal importance in my mind.
Ann Patchett with Rose, Nashville, Tennessee.
Without a daily walk and the transactions it stimulates in my head, I would face the first page of cold blank paper with pitiful anxiety.”
“Like any love, it was giddy at first. I couldn’t get my work done. I kept having to stop and roll around on the floor with her. She followed me from room to room, licking my ankles. I could hardly sleep at night for watching her sleep. She was small and white; maybe a cross between a Jack Russell and a Chihuahua, without the deep neuroses of either breed. If shedding was an Olympic sport, she would have brought home the gold. I was besotted.” From Ann & Rose: How to Love a Dog, by Ann Patchett.
A note about Spaz...
The last time Spaz, my Russian Blue impromptu housecat, gave me a hint of genuine attention just for the sake of giving attention... well, I can’t recall. Every single day without fail, ‘Spazzy’ purrs at my tired, just-woken legs, prompting coffee spillage and toe-stubbing on conveniently placed door frames. After this daily sabotage of my peaceful morning shuffle, she eventually snacks happily on top-dollar ‘diva dine’ slow cooked beef, enjoys a solid 12-hour sleep on our $3,000 couch (with a blanket for extra softness), presses countless keyboard shortcuts whilst attempting to impress you with her glorious behind, and ticks off a few more hours on the ‘fly screen hole project’ she’s been working on. I think she was an engineer in her previous life. Or an assassin. We didn’t exactly pick Spaz. She was one of those cats you inherit from other family members who move house/get bored/claim the cat never liked them. It was a case of “we’ll be in Queensland for a while, can you cat-sit?” That was six years ago. Spaz was aptly named after her high-octane method of playing with paper - scrunched paper, shredded paper, toilet paper. Once the initial ‘spook’ of new visitors is overcome, Spaz makes for a perfect party cat.
The ‘ball of scrunched paper + cat + polished floor boards’ party trick is her best-known act. Add a strategically-placed wall or stack of empty bottles and it’s immediately Funniest Home Videos material. After her party is over, Spaz enjoys a nice curl-up on the warmest lap in the room, and will spend a good hour shifting from each family member in order to locate the prime heat position. Mind you, once that location is established - simply standing up to refill the chip bowl won’t budge this kitty, but will leave you with a lovely pair of shredded pants. It’s Spaz’s way of supporting the ‘hobo chic’ fashion trend. Throw in some Cabernet Sauvignon splatters and you have yourself a Milan fashion week frock that would have Rihanna green with envy. I guess Spaz has her qualities, though we have had a long rocky road to receive them, she does come with a cuteness that you can’t help but love. Sort of like the love you have for a mini desk cactus. Having said that, it would be nice to cash in on the six years of cat-sitting fees, but then I would have to find another way to entertain party guests...and that’s just not cricket. By Danielle Bagshaw.
Regulars | Ask Dudley
reetings dear readers, I hope you are all thoroughly enjoying this Bug in a Book special edition on Pets and Animals. A perfect opportunity, I thought, to drag myself out of the kennel and chat about some of my favourite dog books; because, well … after all, does anything else really matter? Since advice columns are all the rage these days, and everyone and their – you guessed it – dog, are trying to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do and read, I hope you won’t mind if I leap nimbly upon said band-wagon and call today’s column “Dudley’s Do-Dos”. The very first book that came to mind when I put paw-to-keyboard for this article was the wonderful Some Dogs Do, by Jez Alborough. With the help of his family Sid, the starring canine, works his way through a rather unique peer-induced insecurity issue. This is a wonderfully illustrated book, with a rollicking rhythm to the perfectly rhyming verse that makes it an absolute joy to read. Next on my list would have to be the Kipper Story Collection, by Mick Inkpen. In the space available I couldn’t hope to convey how much I loved Kipper’s stories as a pup. Maybe it was the strong sense of kinship that developed? He too was disorganised, absentminded, indecisive, lazy, fixated on food and ever-so-slightly cheeky – but he did it with style! I bow to Mick Inkpen, master of suspense (‘Sock Thing’ reference), and illustrator extraordinaire. If you’re in need of yet another great dog story – not to mention several more reasons never to trust vegetarians – then you shouldn’t go past Wombat Stew, by Marcia Vaughan and Pamela Lofts. You’d be hard pressed to find something as enjoyable, and with a more Australian flavour, than this Dingo-led romp, beautifully illustrated in the colours of the outback – unless, of course, it was actual Wombat Stew.
www.facebook.com/askdudley If one dog per story just isn’t enough for you – and, let’s face it, you just can’t have too much of a good thing (especially when it contains as few calories as a dog) – then you could do a lot worse than tracking down one of the many Hairy Maclary stories by Lynley Dodd. Not all dogs, however, wear their wonderfulness, super intelligence and amazing abilities on their sleeves – for the reader more interested in action, subterfuge and intrigue, might I recommend one of the many Spy Dog books, by Andrew Cope? Starring Lara (Licensed Assault and Rescue Animal) as AGENT GM451. For those more interested in the classics, allow me to suggest The famous Five, by Enid Blyton. Who, as most people would be well aware, were only famous for their roles supporting the wonderful dog Timothy in a great number of adventures. But where to stop such a list as this, when we have yet to discuss Spot, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Lady and the Tramp, Snoopy, Fred Basset, and so many more? I tell you, the canine talent pool could be used to host Olympic Freestyle events! But – and I’m not sure who made this decision – this issue is not all about dogs. So to celebrate the literary accomplishments of a few more members of the animal kingdom, and I focus here on comics only because I am immature and they are so much fun to read, go and have a look for Bloom County (with Opus the penguin and friends), Calvin and Hobbes (since Hobbes is technically a tiger, not a cat, I am prepared to share my column with him), and Non Sequitur for lovers of the eloquently equine. Meanwhile, feel free to drop by my Ask Dudley Facebook page and suggest your own favourite titles pertaining to canine lives, loves, legacies and lice. Until we meet again!
Yours with paws, Dudley.
Featured Pets | Our Pet Issue
Our family has two pet Abyssinian cats — Sukekh and Seraphina. I named Sukekh after the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction (As in the Doctor Who story “The Pyramids of Mars”... Yes, I’m such a fanboy!). We call him Suti for short, and he has certainly lived up to his name. My eldest daughter named Seraphina after a character in one of the Barbie movies (groan!), and we call her Sera for short. They are wonderful, boisterous, havoc-creating cats who are only just over a year old. Unfortunately, their favourite napping spot is my office chair... Which can make writing a little difficult sometimes, when they don’t want to share. George Ivanoff is an author and stay-at-home dad residing in Melbourne, Australia. He has written over 50 books for children and teenagers, including fiction and non-fiction. He has written school readers, library reference books, chapter books, novelettes, novels and even a short story collection. He has books on both the Victorian Premier’s and the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge booklists. His teen science fiction novel, Gamers’ Quest, won a 2010 Chronos Award for speculative fiction. The sequel, Gamers’ Challenge, was published in September 2011. George also writes short stories and articles for adults as well as kids. Of all these, he is most proud to have had the opportunity to write a Doctor Who story for the Short Trips: Defining Patterns anthology (Big Finish, UK, 2008). Occasionally, George has been known to moonlight as an actor. He has had small roles in numerous productions including the television series Neighbours and the feature film Frozen Butterflies. George eats too much chocolate and drinks too much coffee. He will sometime indulge in a nice bottle of wine or a single malt Scotch. He has one wife, two children and two cats. And he is very content!
georgeivanoff.com.au www.gamersquestbook.com 11
Katrina Germein This is Sunny Dog. Many people think that their doggy is the best dog to ever have lived but theyâ€™re wrong because Sunny is that dog. He deserves an award. There has never been a dog as friendly, loyal, gentle and happy as Sunny.
Jo Thompson My pets are very small and very ugly. They have six legs, are black with orange stripes, hatch from tiny, yellow eggs and look like spiky, aliens from outer-space. Can you guess what they are? Like the very hungry caterpillar, who turns into a butterfly, my pets change into something different too. When they emerge from their pupae, they are no longer ugly,
they are no longer black with orange stripes and they are no longer spiky. Instead, my pets are beautiful, smooth, round, orange and black, spotty beetles. Can you guess now? My pets are Lady bugs! I have some yellow and black ones, as well. They love eating grapes, just like me. You might have some Ladybugs in your garden too...
Head to page 27 to see h you cou ld win so ow me gre Saffron o n the Hi at ll product s i n o u Pet Issue r Compet ition!
g n i l l o C y l l Sa
is on a ride to conquer cancer
In August I’ll be taking part in the Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer, a major cycling event benefiting the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR). Along with thousands of other riders, I’ll be cycling 200km in two days through Queensland’s scenic countryside. Each cyclist commits to raise at least $2500, and all proceeds will go to QIMR: a worldwide leader in cancer research and discovery, and one of the largest research institutes in the southern hemisphere. I’ll be doing most of my fundraising through what I do best: writing books. Positive: finding life in the midst of cancer (HarperCollins) is a collection of 50 stories of people who, against all odds, have found something good in the midst of their cancer experience.
There are stories from high-profile people, such as Sass & Bide’s Heidi Middleton and Olympic champion Raelene Boyle, as well as people who may not be famous but are no less inspirational – the quiet heroes that we encounter every day. When you buy a copy of Positive through this website, you benefit two ways: you get 50 inspiring stories, and you get the chance to contribute to the fight against cancer. I hope you’ll join me in the challenge.
Saffron on the Hill is a not-forprofit organisation dedicated to raising funds for their beautiful rescue dogs in residence. 100% of profits from all goods sold go straight towards food, care, vet treatment and rehabilitation of these gorgeous critters. How can you say no to a face like that?
Check out our cool pet products including hand-made collars and leads!
Join us on
Photo courtesy Richard van Hoesel.
Aren’t puffins cute? I was lucky to see them in the wild once while on holiday in Scotland. They were sharing a cliff-top with thousands of other sea birds in a group called a colony. As you might expect with so many birds living in one area, the colony was very noisy, very busy and very, very stinky! Atlantic Puffins are funny little creatures. They have black and white “dinner suit” colours like penguins, but their eye markings and big colourful beaks make them look more like some kind of weird clown-birds! Even their behaviour was strange.
While the other birds gracefully ran to the cliff-edge and took off, flying out to sea with great, slow beats of their wings, the puffins hopped to the precipice like sparrows. Then, with one little step, they were in mid-air. Then they began madly flapping their wings, as though suddenly remembering they didn’t actually know how to fly! Luckily, though, they did. Unlike penguins, whose wings are built for swimming and not flying, puffins’ wings can do both – but it looked like only just! As the little black and white clown-birds madly flapped away over the vast grey sea, I crossed my fingers for their safe return. Have you ever seen animals in the wild? Where were you? What did you see? How did you feel? Write a story or article about the experience, or draw a picture of it. Bug News would love to see your work! Fact file: Puffins spend seven months of every year at sea before returning to the land to breed. After making a nest, the parents take turns sitting on the single egg and, later, caring for the chick. While one parent guards the nest, the other flies out to sea, returning with a beak full of sandeels (small silver fish) to feed to the chick.
Australian Children’s Writer
Katz Cowley Cocoa is much more than a pet. He is a very well loved youngest member of our household. He is housetrained, reads in bed with us and accompanies us on our trips. Like us, he loves cuddles, though can sometimes be found sneaking into the chocolate cupboard at night. Thatâ€™s how he got his name. British-born illustrator Katz Cowley is a painter, assemblage sculptor, singer and passionate facilitator of creativity workshops for all ages and levels from the petrified and the inquisitive to the outrageously playful.
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Everyone that knows me, knows that I have long hair. I have had long hair for over 15 years! Very few people have ever seen me with short hair and there are even less pictures. So if Iâ€™m going to cut it back to short sides and top, it best be for a good cause. Thanks, Gavin.
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Meet the Illustrator
Sandra Temple The Bedtime Band When night comes and you need to go to sleep, whatâ€™s that noise keeping you awake? Who is in the bedtime band? A great night-time exploration of Australian animals at play ... just when the kids need to go to bed! Published by Wombat Books release date November 2011. Sandra is self taught and has been a professional artist and illustrator for more than 26 years. During this time she has had a cartoon strip running for 8 years, designed numerous corporate logos, worked with the RSPCA, the Qld Police Force and quite a few City Councils as a cartoonist and illustrator. She has taught realistic drawing at numerous primary schools with a focus on conservational education, designed and made theatre costumes and sets as well as taught stage makeup, she has designed and made unique jewellery, illustrated 9 childrens books and written and illustrated 3 more. Concentrating her energy now on painting the worlds endangered species Sandra works in all mediums and is especially keen on mixed medium paintings. She is an art judge, an art teacher working with adults and children, a popular workshop tutor and is a product demonstrator for Faber-Castell.
Thank you for having a chat with us Sandra! Your work is certainly eye-catching, are you self-taught? Yes, I am self taught. That is one of the reasons I like to hold ‘tell all’ workshops – hints and tips from someone who has already done things all the wrong ways. Animals are obviously your favourite subject to recreate, what other subjects interest you? Wildlife IS my favourite subject but I do paint most things for commission.... from buses to bodies to books. If you were to pick a favourite work of art, what would it be? That’s easy the next one. Do you have a particular ‘proudest art moment’? I have lots of proud moments like winning international awards or being exhibited in New York, but recently maybe when a collector came up to me at an exhibition and introduced himself as the lucky purchaser or 3 paintings from my very first exhibition (I was 16) and said how much joy they still bring to him and his family. If you were to name your two favourite artists, who would they be, and why? Only two may be a bit difficult, can I have three? Robert Bateman (Canada) for his tremendous work bringing conservation art to the fore, his amazing technical skills and his ability to base composition on abstract shapes. David Shepherd (UK) for his work in conservation also, his many years of fundraising for a better world for wildlife (through the David Shepherd Foundation) using his paintings to raise awareness and money, and his ability to work loosly but not lose any detail. Carl Brenders (Belgium) for his photo realistic wildlife paintings that bring you closer than you’d ever get in the wild. His technical abilities are amazing and his subjects are always appealing without being kitch. And I’d REALLY like to get to the stage where I’m able to charge the same prices as they get for their work. I do have a few years more to go ‘till I’m their ages though
What is the difference between drawing from a photo and real life? Drawing from real life (for me) is about getting an typical ‘attitude’ or position, it’s a time to sketch, to chat to people who want to know what I’m doing (one day I’m going to give in to the urge to say I’m making a snowman or some such rubbish) and to get inspired for a work. I do take a lot of photos (usually bad ones) and I use these for reference to check I’m getting things right...distance between the ears, length of tail to body etc. I’ll typically need a dozen photos to work a painting from. What influences your art the most? A lot of normal things influence me....The world around me, animals in crisis, mass habitat destruction, a trip, a worthy cause asking for help, a close encounter.... At the moment I’m preparing for my first solo exhibition in 20 years and many of my friends are fighting against Coal Seam Gas mining exploration on or near their farms/homes. I am basing all my paintings on flora/ fauna that will be affected, or gone for good, if this goes ahead. I’ll raffle off a painting to raise funds for the continuing fight. I can’t help with blockades or talking sensibly on TV so this is how I do my bit. If you were to try a different art medium, what would be your first choice? That’s a hard one as I do practically ALL mediums already. Maybe glass. Do you have any words of wisdom for artists wanting to break into the book industry? Be clear about what the publisher expects – don’t think you know best (but if you DO think something will work better, do an illustration to suit and show both). Don’t do it for the money.
What do you always have on hand when you start a new piece of art? Chocolate and coffee of course.
Meet the Author
Dee White Letters to Leonardo A unique and powerful story about a fifteen year old boy who tries to deal with his mother’s mental illness by writing letters to Leonardo da Vinci. A powerful, unique and sometimes confronting coming-of-age story told in an engaging and realistic manner. Published by Walker Books Australia release date July 2009.
Dee White is a former journalist and advertising copywriter. She is the author of books for children and young adults, a qualified writing teacher and avid blogger. As a kid, Dee lived in her imagination. She was lucky to grow up in a house full of books and to live in a family that talked literature at the dinner table and shared the lives of the characters they were reading about.
“My goat, Molly inspires me... She sits in the home paddock outside my study window and watches me work...”
This year, she has become a friend of the National Year of Reading so she can help and encourage kids who don’t have this same access to books. During 2012, Dee is donating 10% of her fees from school visits to foundations and charities supported by the National Year of Reading. You can find out more information about Dee at her website or her blogs. Dee has Facebook pages at Dee White Author and DeeScribe Writing and you can follow her on twitter @ DeeWhiteAuthor. Writing Classes For Kids has a Facebook page and tweets @KidsWhoWrite.
Thanks for having a chat with us, Dee! What is your story in a nutshell? I wanted to be an author since I was seven years old and haven’t stopped writing since. I had my first book, A Duel of Words published in 2008 and since then I’ve had Hope for Hanna, Letters to Leonardo and Harry’s Goldfield Adventure published. I live in regional Victoria with my husband, two boys, two rabbits, two cats, a dog and a goat (who thinks she’s a dog). My human and four-legged family and my writing buddies are my rock. They have absolute faith in me and keep me optimistic. You have wanted to be a writer since you were seven. Was there much help for young writers when you were starting out? No. Being an author wasn’t even considered to be a proper job when I left school. When I was seven I did calisthenics after school and I was really bad at calisthenics. I would have much preferred to do writing classes. Even today, there isn’t much available for kids, particularly in rural areas like where I live. Whenever I do author visits there seems to be at least one or two kids in every class who are passionate about their writing. So recently I started Writing Classes For Kids, an online writing school for kids anywhere in the world. What sort of classes do you offer? I offer six-week writing courses on a range of topics including story ideas, plotting, character development, using pets in your story, and editing and submitting. Each course includes session notes and an activity that you receive feedback on. The courses are flexible so they can fit around school and work commitments. I run the courses through my Writing Classes For Kids blog. What else can visitors to Writing Classes For Kids expect to find? There are interviews with authors, and posts about how they write. There are also a number of free writing activities at the blog. I understand that teachers have many other commitments in the classroom so I also provide lesson plans and activities that they can use for keen young writers they teach. These resources can also be used by homeschoolers. Some kids just want feedback on their work so I provide manuscript assessments and I try to use these as a teaching tool too. I don’t just make suggestions about how to make a piece stronger, I give examples on how to do it. You’ll see what I mean if you check out Friday Feedback at my DeeScribe Writing Blog. At Writing Classes For Kids, I also run four FREE writing competitions per year with book and manuscript assessment prizes. The current competition, writing fantasy stories closes on 31st March.
Is Writing Classes For Kids just for kids? No, due to popular demand, I’m now offering classes and assessments for adults, and there’s an adult category in the com petitions. When it comes to writing, what are the things you do well? What are the challenges? My books tend to be character driven so I think that developing characters and voice seems to come more naturally to me than plot. My weaknesses are that I tend to make things too complicated and I have a tendency to put too many images together in the one scene. When I’m editing I also look out for word repetition, telling not showing and places where I need more setting or where the character isn’t really interacting with the setting so it just becomes description. What is your proudest achievement? My debut YA novel, Letters to Leonardo which was published by Walker Books in 2009. It took 10 years, 30 drafts and over 1 million words on paper. I’m hoping it will be available as an e-book soon. What would be the best thing that could happen to you this year? Professionally, it would be to have a manuscript accepted for publication overseas. My pet who inspires me... My goat, Molly inspires me. She was hand reared and came to us when her owner was killed in a car accident. She sits in the home paddock outside my study window and watches me work (when she’s not looking out over the valley at the kangaroos). She likes to come to the front door in the morning and say, “Hello”. She comes for walks with the dog and likes to be part of the family campfire. I’m also inspired by a pair of wedge-tailed eagles who live in a tree not far from our house, and I love watching them soar past my study window.
Faerie Crystall Painting Bears
Bears…. The fluffy type.
It is all about animals in this issue. And no exception here on the kids page! Did you ever wonder how to paint a teddy bear? The same recipe can be used for any fluffy or fury animal. It is simple and quick. You need three colours. A dark tone (dark brown), and a middle tone (cream) and a light tone (white). All you have to remember is the dark colour goes first, and the middle tone second, and the lightest third. You can change the colours to say, dark blue, grey and white. You will also need a ratty tatty brush… the tattier the better. And here is the most important thing… DO NOT WET IT! Now let’s fluff up a bear. You only need to know how to draw a circle!
So with your ratty tatty brush, paint a dark brown circle. Tap the paintbrush down gently, and hold it strait up and down. This kind of painting is called stippling. Only tap the paint on, do not swish the brush or paint strokes. Just tap tap tap. When you have finished, DO not stick your brush in water to clean it. Just wipe it on some paper towel. Leave the circle to dry.
Now tap the brush into the mid tone (cream) Softly pat it onto the dark brown, do not cover the whole thing. See how the bear’s tummy is looking fluffy already! Leave the edges pretty dark. The dark spots make shadows. The mid tones stick out a bit more. When you paint the white on top, they will stand forward. So if you image the bear was real, and you touched it, the front bits would be in white.
Now gently gently tap the brush into the white paint. Don’t put too much on your bear’s belly. Just a little fluffy highlight. Now follow the instructions again, making a smaller circle for a head, and smaller again for feet. Sausage shapes for arms. (sausage shape for legs if you want your bear standing!) Now if you like, you can paint a nappy on a baby bear, a cape on a super bear, or a tutu on a fairy bear. Happy painting!
Faerie Crystall gardenbabyfaeries.webs.com
KIDS CLUB ACTIVITIES
Buggy Pets The Rhinoceros Beetle The strongest animal on earth! They are covered in black armour and sport large horns on their heads. They eat rotten fruit and sap. The female rhino beetle lays about 50 white eggs in the soil, in warm seasons. After a month the eggs hatch, and the larva emerge. The larva stage can last several years. The larva stays underground for six months to one year. The Pupa stage doesnâ€™t last very long. It usually takes a few weeks. Once they grow into adults they still remain in the ground until spring. Goliath Stick Insects
Ideal for schools. Huge spectacular stick insects. Adult body length 200mm! They eat eucalyptus leaves. Easy to care for and handle, excellent for educational animals. Sheds exoskeleton during growth stages.
Giant Rainforest Mantid Australiaâ€™s most powerfully built praying mantids. Ferocious hunters and fascinating animals to keep. Feeds on other insects. Ideal for schools. Adult body length over 75mm. The praying mantis goes through three stages of metamorphosis: egg, nymph, and adult. The nymph and adult insect look alike except it is smaller and has no wings. A mantis nymph increases in size by replacing its outer body covering with a sturdy, flexible exoskeleton and moulting when needed. This can happen up to five to ten times, depending on the species. After the final moult it has fully-grown wings. For more great buggy pet suggestions or to order a buggy pet of your own I recommend you visit www.minibeastwildlife.com.au I found this site informative with a great range. You can also find them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/MinibeastWildlife/113977340717. By Angela Hall
Spiny Leaf Insect
Fascinating behaviour. Can be handled and makes an excellent pet or classroom study animal. Eat eucalyptus leaves. The eggs laid by the female drop down into the leaf litter. The eggs have a tasty little fleshy bit on the end (which ants find irresistible) to actually encourage the ants to pick them up, they do not eat the rest of the egg and they are stored safely in the ants nest. When the tiny nymphs hatch out they look just like ants, emerging from the nest to begin their life. Giant Burrowing Cockroaches Australia is home to the largest cockroach in the world! They can grow as big as the palm of your hand, measuring up to 80 millimetres. They can live for up to 10 years. They do not have wings. The females do not lay eggs. They bear live young with up to 30 in a clutch. Giant Cockroaches can be kept in a medium sized tank with a few inches of sandy soil and can be fed dry eucalyptus leaves. 23
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My Littlemakes Bookcase connections with stories... After reading A Bit Lost, we learned that sometimes animals find themselves in difficult situations where they need a little help. Sometimes they get lost and sometimes they get hurt. To connect with the text, we created our own pet rock. We took him on an adventure and helped him with tasks he couldn’t do on his own. It is a great starting point when learning how to care for animals. TRY IT YOURSELF Maybe you’re preparing to get your first family pet, or you want your children to take some more responsibility in caring for your pet. Reading some pet themed books is a great way to stimulate thoughts and discussions in your home, followed by an activity that helps your children connect with the stories.
1 Find some suitable rocks. 2 Paint and decorate the rocks. 3 Add some googly eyes and hair (feathers).
4 Take your pet rocks on an adventure with you.
Help your pet rock with tasks he can’t do on his own.
These are some other books we love at My Little Bookcase about pets and caring for animals: Oh No, George! By Chris Haughton Little Dog by Katrina Germein and Tamsin Ainslie Millicent and Meer by Richard Byrne Zoe and Beans by Chloe and Mick Inkpen Wanted: The Perfect Pet by Fiona Robertson Let’s Get a Pup Bob Graham Pink by Janet A Holmes and Jonathon Bentley I want a Pet Lauren Child How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham Puggle by Catriona Hoy and Andrew Plant A Bit Lost by Chris Haugton Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie For all Creatures by Glenda Millard and Rebecca Cool
Bug Recommends 0+ Author
Thomas & Jodi Hamlyn-Harris Publisher Steve Parish Kids
Animals in my World Series Jill Ackerman Author Publisher Scholastic Release August 2009
My Favourite Pets Author
Matthew Van Fleet with Brian Stanton Publisher Simon & Schuster Release August 2011
2+ Brett Curzon Author Publisher Independant
Bill the Fish Wombat Books Australia
Sarah Acton Author Publisher Scholastic Release August 2011
Ben and Duck
L IT TLE
Mary Ellen Jordan & Andrew Weldon Publisher Allen & Unwin Release October 2011
Lazy Daisy, Busy Lizzie 25
Bug Recommends 4+
6+ Author Illustrator Publisher Release
Cathleen Daly Stephen Michael King Scholastic September 2011
Prudence wants a Pet
Sarah Horne Author Publisher Sholastic Release July 2011
Paws, Claws & Frilly Drawers
Philip C. Stead Author Illustrator Erin E. Stead Publisher Allen & Unwin Release August 2011
Kyle Mewburn Author Illustrator Heath McKenzie Publisher Little Hare Release August 2009
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Pop Hooperâ€™s Perfect Pets Series
Author Illustrator Publisher Release
Tania McCartney Kieron Pratt Ford Street Publishing September 2009
More books, reviews and products at
7+ J.E Fison Author Publisher Ford Street Publishing Release August 2011
Hazard River Series
Michael Bauer Author Publisher Scholastic
Just a Dog
Various Author Publisher Steve Parish Kids
Nature Watch Series 26
O F R P J M
Is your pet too adorable for words?
N I W
To be in the draw for your chance to win a prize pack for your pet (sponsored by Saffron on the Hill and Katrina Germein) simply send into our facebook page a picture of your pet and tell us why they are amazing. Prize includes pet products (collar and toys) and a signed copy of the book Little Dog by Katrina Germein! Competition closes 15th of March. Open to Australian residendents only (sorry, this is for postage reasons). One entry per person. 27
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