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Farm Girl Books Lillian Bufton


new children’s author has joined our local literary scene under the pen name of Elizabeth Barwell (aka Mary de Bassecourt). Mary assumed the pen name of Elizabeth Barwell for several reasons: First, it was a good way to test the market without people knowing who the real author was; second, Mary didn’t fancy putting her real name on the website; and third, she thinks it’s just fun to have a pen name. The enchanting illustrations are created by her sister and talented artist, Joan Harris. Joan also provides her professional artistic advice on layout and colour. Joan and Mary’s company is called Farm Girl Books and their books all have a rural theme. These hardcover books were designed to fit comfortably in a child’s hands. All are written, printed, and hand-bound by Mary. The first three children’s books were released this summer at Sharbot Lake Farmers Market. Joan and Mary were delighted with the enthusiastic reception of the books and plan to next target a couple of local Christmas markets. The first in the trilogy of animal tales is “A Rabbit’s Tale: A Most Particular Bunny.” Bernard Bunny brings a smile to the face of adult readers with his willful but thoughtful “badness.” Children can delight in Bernard and his gentle and cautious interaction with his world. In the book “A Beaver’s Tale: The Beaver Who Borrowed,” the big pond in Back of Beyond is home for many animals of all sizes and shapes, including Burton the Beaver. This delightful tale is based on a strange but true story about a real beaver who borrowed. Also based on a true story, the book “Cat’s Tale: The Terribly Timid Kitten” is about the adventures of a timid kitten who wandered into the lives and home of the McDuffs and Eric-the-Cat. The next book now in progress is about a very special Tamworth pig. Some readers say these little books remind them of Beatrix Potter’s publications, although the illustrator’s animals are more realistic, and they don’t wear clothes. The size of the books is close to that of Beatrix Potter books. These books are popular with grandparents as gifts for their grandchildren but are also popular with parents and aunts. Some grownups

confess they buy the books for themselves because they are reminded of stories they loved to read as children. Mary and her sister Joan Harris grew up on a small 30-cow dairy farm in the picturesque foothills of the Catskill Mountains in New York State. After lives full of work and family, in their “retirement” they are realizing their dream of pairing their talents and expertise to collaborate on children’s books. Joan’s lovely watercolour and ink illustrations complement and bring Elizabeth’s stories to life. Joan and Mary maintain that they love working together on something they love, with someone they love. After a busy and full life as an artist, art teacher and mother, Joan Harris “retired” to a second career as farmer/artist on a Columbia County farm in New York State. She lives in the beautiful Hudson River Valley, raising and painting rare breed Devon cattle, as well as illustrating Farm Girl Books. Joan’s love for animals and passion for art is vividly demonstrated in her watercolour and ink illustrations.

613.354.6366 37 Dundas Street East Napanee

Not surprisingly, Mary’s favourite course at university was Children’s Literature. Her working life took her on a winding detour to administrative and teaching positions and running a desktop publishing/editing home business. During those years, she lived with her husband and children in Ottawa. Mary, like Joan, returned to the country for her “retirement.” She lives with her husband in the beautiful setting of the rugged Canadian Shield and tends a large garden. For Mary, living in the country and writing children’s books in collaboration with her sister, the talented artist-illustrator, is her dream come true. Because the books are hand bound, the production level is neither high nor fast. (Joan and Mary ask that you allow 4-6 weeks for delivery, but sometimes books can be supplied within two weeks.) Mary says that for now, the scale and speed of production suit her and Joan. She enjoys the process of bookbinding while listening to audiobooks and says that producing a quality product from start to finish is very satisfying. “Joan and I talked about working on children’s books together for many years. Finally, we are realizing our dream and enjoying it immensely!”

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HOURS Monday: 7am – 5:30pm Tuesday: 7am – 5:30pm Wednesday: 7am – 5:30pm Thursday: 7am – 5:30pm Friday: 7am – 5:30pm Saturday: 7am – 5pm Sunday: Closed

To order books or to contact Farm Girl Books, Mary and Joan invite you to email them via their website:

The trilogy of children’s animal tales published by Farm Girl Books this summer. Some readers say these delightfully illustrated litttle books remind them of Beatrix Potter’s publications.

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The SCOOP // October / November 2019  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...

The SCOOP // October / November 2019  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...