Let Sleeping Ladybirds Lie!

“Where have they all gone?” my youngest daughter asked me recently . “Who do you mean sweetheart?” I replied, absent-mindly thinking that she would mean her little dolls-house dolls, or something similar. “The ladybirds mummy!” she replied, whilst pointing towards the garden. “I haven’t seen one in ages!” Well quite! How right she is! We are now of course in the midst of November and ladybirds, along with squirrels, hedgehogs and other such gorgeous creatures are huddled and snuggled down somewhere warm, hibernating for the winter (lucky them is all I can say! I’d quite like to join them!)

I had never come across a picture of ladybirds hibernating before until this week, when I discovered the image below that is on the UK Safari website. I dip in and out of this wonderful website, along with other woodland related blogs, to gain writing inspiration for my Whimsy Wood children’s series for 5-8 year olds. I really do need to sit down and make a proper start on book 15 in my 35-book series, but my inspiration and imagination had run dry this week….. Once I’d looked through this website site a few days ago and discovered this incredible image, a new character in the form of ‘Letty Ladybird’ sprung to mind, along with the need for a spider character! I believe he may be named ‘Sidney Eight-Boots’, but I’m not completely decided on this just yet.

Ladybirds huddled in seed pods

Ladybirds huddled in seed pods

Well, I’d better get on and actual write about ‘Letty Ladybird’ and ‘Sidney Eight-Boots’, or Whimsy Wood’s 15th book will never be created! If you’re stuck for something outdoorsy to do with the children over the next few days, then how about making a bug-hotel from piles of logs, twigs, stones and leaves. It costs nothing and is lots of fun! You even get to name your bug-hotel and the children can check on their ‘hotel guests’ regularly 😉 I’m sure insects looking for somewhere to hibernate, such as ‘Letty Ladybird’, would be delighted to come across a brand new bug-hotel to snooze the winter away in 🙂

For regular updates on my Whimsy Wood children’s series please follow us on twitter 🙂 We’ve got 3 Christmas fairs coming up in the next month, which will be lots of fun I’m sure 🙂

 https://twitter.com/WhimsyWood

Wishing you all a whimsical week, Sarah 🙂

FAN-FIREWORK-TASTIC!

Hello there! I hope you’ve had lots of fun celebrating bonfire night this week and seen some fan-fizzle-tastic fireworks, as ‘Ping Pixie’ would describe them! Incase you don’t know, ‘Ping Pixie’ is the boy pixie in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series of 35 books. He appears in book 4, ‘Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party’, which was published by Abela Publishing in May this year. ‘Ping’ loves making fireworks and in the words of his cousin ‘Posie’, “….sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t and sometimes they set his hair on fire!” Please see below the link to book 4, ‘Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party’.

http://abelapublishing.com/posie-pixie-and-the-fireworks-party–book-4-in-the-whimsy-wood-series_p27279864.htm

Front cover of 'Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party', book 4 in my 'Whimsy Wood' series

Front cover of ‘Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party’, book 4 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series

After the fireworks party that ‘Posie Pixie’ held for her cousin ‘Ping’ and his enormous new ‘Pixie Wheel’ firework that he’d created, the woodland folk spent the next few days tidying up outside ‘Posie Pixie’s’ copper kettle house where they’d held the party. The firefly party lights had blown off the trees and got taffled up around a clump of giant funnel mushrooms. It took poor old ‘Mrs Spottisdowne the sparrow’ most of the morning after the party to unravel those lights! ‘Bromley Badger’ had his usual sore head after a party and had to lie down in his dark, quiet set all day, so he was absolutely no help whatsoever! ‘Florence Fox’ and ‘Raspberry Rabbit’ had gathered up all the left over party treats, shared them out and delivered them to the woodland folk the following day, so nothing was wasted.

If you haven’t already, I hope you get to nibble on a few toffee apples, munch on some hot-dogs and toast some marshmallows this weekend! In the meantime I’d better carry on tweaking book 6, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’, but I shall wish you all a wonderfully whimsical weekend and leave you with this fabulous firework poem that I stumbled across this week 🙂

“Bang there goes another one,

Screaming as it goes.

It’s getting high, up in the sky,

And fizzle-there she blows!

WHOOSH! Up high above the house,

Behind a trail of sparks.

Yellow, orange, red and white,

Exploding in the dark!”   Anon

Mystical magic!

This afternoon we ventured to the mystical, magical place that is Avebury, to admire the splendid stones and for the children to enjoy a ‘creepy cat trail’ that was on  as a half-term activity. Every time I’ve visited this amazing site, I’ve been transfixed by these silent stones and their almost magical presence. I couldn’t help but think about ‘Posie Pixie’, ‘Wibble Woodlouse’ and ‘Raspberry Rabbit’ from my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series and how much they would love to explore the amazing Avebury stones and the undergrowth around them.

” Yes, yes, yes, that’s all very well,” I hear you say. “What has magic got to do with your ‘Whimsy Wood’ series? Aren’t all your characters woodland creatures?” Aaaah, well most of the ‘Whimsy Wood’ folk are indeed woodland creatures, as you rightly say. However, there is a rather special magical resident within ‘Whimsy Wood’. She is none other than ‘Fearne Fairy’ of course! Now Fearne makes her first appearance in book 8, ‘Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks’, where we also get to meet ‘Bertie and Beatrice Bramble’, the twin bunnies who live by the bluebell patch in ‘Whimsy Wood’. If you happen to be looking for a short story to read to your children over half-term, then please click on the link below and scroll to page 12. There you will find ‘Fearne Fairy And The Snarrot’, which was published in this month’s ‘Senior Siren’ magazine. Can you indeed deduce what a ‘Snarrot’ is before you get to page 12?! I hope you enjoy my fun and quirky short story 🙂

http://sclt.us/download/i/mark_dl/u/4009891684/4614688212/SS21.pdf

It’s likely to be late summer 2015 before book 8, ‘Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks’ is published, as book 5, ‘Posie Pixie And The Christmas Tree’, is due to be launched this coming Saturday at WHSmith, 43-44 Fore Street, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8EJ, from 2pm. Something rather magical and related to book 5 arrived in the post yesterday. It was this fabulously festive banner for ‘Posie Pixie And The Christmas Tree’!

 

Banner for 'Posie Pixie And The Christmas Tree', book 5 in my 'Whimsy Wood' series

Banner for ‘Posie Pixie And The Christmas Tree’, book 5 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series

So, if you’re free on Saturday October the 25th and would like a signed copy of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s books, then do come along. I’ll look forward to meeting you! 😉

 

Half-term happiness!

Half-term is just around the corner and I for one can’t wait! There’ll be a lull from the constant breakneck school-run dash, the setting of alarm clocks, the cleaning of school shoes and the endless checking of book bags to ensure homework, or important notes from school haven’t been missed!! Phew!

Instead, the world of ‘Whimsy Wood’ and I will be getting ourselves ready for the launch of book 5, ‘Posie Pixie And The Christmas Tree’, at the Trowbridge branch of WHSmith, on Saturday October the 25th, from 2pm onwards! If you’re away enjoying the half-term break, don’t worry, you can always pop over to the publisher’s website and order yourself a copy…..I do believe it’s the perfect size for a Christmas stocking!

http://abelapublishing.com/posie-pixie-and-the-christmas-tree–book-5-in-the-whimsy-wood-series_p28434996.htm

Not only that, but my children and I will be getting out and about, taking woodland walks and seeing if we can spot some of the ‘Whimsy Wood’ folk. We’ll be peering under logs, in case any of ‘Wibble Woodlouse’s’ relatives are there and making rock piles in quiet spots, to provide shelter for ‘Humbug Hedgehog’ and his prickly friends. I’m sure we’ll also find time to hunt out somewhere comfy to read a few stories, or indeed make some up of our own, rather like in this image below……

Children reading in a tree

On that rather magical note, I’ll wish you a whimsical week and promise to pop back next Wednesday for another installment from the world of ‘Whimsy Wood’ 😉

Formatting Fun!!

My goodness me! How fiddly is it to format a children’s book with pictures in and everything?! I’ll tell you, since between myself and Abela Publishing, that’s what we’ve been doing for the past week! It’s very, very, very (with a heap more ‘verys’ thrown in for good measure!) fiddly! Having said that, it’s always worth it and hopefully by the end of this weekend, ‘Posie Pixie And The Christmas Tree’, (book 5 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series) will be winging its wonderful self off to the printers! Incase you’d like a sneaky beaky preview of the front cover and some of the incredible illustrations inside, done by the amazingly talented Sarah Mauchline, then please cast your wee eyes below and click on the link 😉

The 1st 5 books in my 'Whimsy Wood' series!

The 1st 5 books in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series!

http://youtu.be/dtLkcnh_1fA

You may be excited to learn, that this fabulously festive book will be available from October the 25th and can be pre-ordered now!! I will also be able to post the date, time and venue for the launch of ‘Posie Pixie And The Christmas Tree’, very soon! 🙂

Whilst I’ve been busy helping move text, illustrations and the new map at the back of book 5, up and down and side to side on the numerous pages, the ‘Whimsy Wood’ folk have also been incredibly busy! Autumn has well and truly arrived in ‘Whimsy Wood’, as the blackberries are in abundance on the hedgerows and the leaves are changing to golden yellows and burnt oranges. ‘Humbug Hedgehog’ has been rolling around the woodland floor, tidying up the fallen autumn leaves with his prickles, whilst ‘Mrs Spottisdowne the sparrow’ (‘Whimsy Wood’s’ Scottish seamstress), has been frantically sewing Halloween costumes for Mr and Mrs Dusty the dormice’s little ones.

In another part of ‘Whimsy Wood’, ‘Mrs Scarlet the squirrel’ has been scurrying about ‘The Woodland Store’, as she puts away boxes and boxes of cherry chews and hazelnut fudge. Looks like she’ll need to order in more pumpkins and apples this week, as the excitement of October with all its pumpkin-carving and apple-bobbing antics take hold of ‘Whimsy Wood’!

Well on that amazingly Autumnal note, I shall close the ivy-covered, heavy oak doors on the world of ‘Whimsy Wood’ for another week and wish you all a wonderfully  whimsical Wednesday 🙂

Lovely Lincolnshire!

It’s that time of the week again, when I open the doors to the world of ‘Whimsy Wood’ and let you know what’s been going on! Well, as you may or may not know, I was up in the lovely county of Lincolnshire last Thursday, visiting 2 smashing primary schools! The first being Swineshead St. Mary’s and the second being Sutterton Fourfields. I think I can happily say that I had a fabulous time reading my 4th ‘Whimsy Wood’ book, ‘Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party’, to the 90 key-stage 1 children! They asked me some great questions afterwards too. One of these questions was…. “What do you like best about being an author?” It really didn’t take me long to think about the answer to this, as I love being able to get lost in my imagination while I write. “I don’t know if my imagination is pink, or purple, or rainbow coloured,” I replied to the wee girl sat on the floor, looking curiously at me. “I don’t know if it’s fluffy, or sparkly, or smells of sweets, as it’s tucked away in my head! What I do know, is that I can use my imagination whenever and wherever I like. It can take me to amazing places, without me even leaving my chair and it doesn’t cost me a penny. That’s what I like most about being an author.” The wee girl thought about this and then said…. “Hmmm.” I hoped this meant that she was suitably satisfied with my answer!

Now, I shall be returning to the lovely land of Lincolnshire in a few weeks time, as I have been invited to be the guest speaker at the Boston High School annual dinner, on Saturday October the 18th! This dinner is for ex-pupils of the school and having attended there myself many moons ago, I shall really look forward to going back! Having said that, the thought of standing up in front of a room of grown-ups and talking for twenty minutes really terrifies me!! I love talking to children, taking assemblies and creative writing workshops in schools, but a whole bunch of adults….well…., that’s a different matter entirely!! If I was ‘Posie Pixie’ or ‘Fearne Fairy’, 2 of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ characters, then I would want to run away and hide from such a scary thing!

Fairy Toadstools (otherwise known as 'Fly Agaric') for 'Whimsy Wood' folk to hide under!

Fairy Toadstools (otherwise known as ‘Fly Agaric’) for ‘Whimsy Wood’ folk to hide under!

 

“What would you hide under?” I hear you cry. It would have to be the ‘Fly Agaric’ toadstool of course! This fabulous fungus is iconic where fairy tales are concerned and is currently growing happily in ‘Whimsy Wood’! No doubt it is popping up in woodlands everywhere as we speak, as it loves the warm, wet weather that we’ve been having! If you’re heading out for a woodland walk sometime this month, then keep your eyes peeled for these fairy toadstools, especially around birch trees, which they’re rather fond of! See if you can spot the odd pixie, or fairy that may be lurking underneath too while you’re at it!

I would love to carry on waffling, but I really must get on! I will leave you with a link to a great review for my 3rd ‘Whimsy Wood’ book, ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’, below. This book is specifically for the month of October, so it’s bursting with blackberries and other such autumnal things!

http://vegbooks.org/index.php/2014/04/21/posie-pixie-and-the-torn-tunic/

Wishing you all a whimsical week! 😉

School, school, school!

Ok, so guess what I’m doing a lot of this week?! The clue is in the title incase you’re wondering! Yes, you’ve got it! My ‘Whimsy Wood’ series and I are lucky enough to be visiting not just 1, but 2 primary schools tomorrow! Both of these schools are in the wonderfully agricultural county of Lincolnshire, where I grew up as a child – there are tulips, daffodils, sprouts and cabbages as far as the eye can see, I kid you not!!

The 1st school I’m visiting tomorrow is Swineshead St.Mary’s C of E primary school, whilst the 2nd is Sutterton Fourfields C of E primary school. During both these visits, I shall be doing book signings and reading book 4, ‘Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party’ to their key-stage 1 children (please see the link to where it is on the Abela website to the right of this page). The children and teachers will no doubt have some pretty brilliant questions to ask me and they will also be meeting some of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ characters….

Here's 'Wibble Woodlouse' and 'Posie Pixie' off on their adventures in 'Whimsy Wood'

Here’s ‘Wibble Woodlouse’ and ‘Posie Pixie’ off on their adventures in ‘Whimsy Wood’

I really can’t wait to meet them all tomorrow and neither can ‘Posie’ and ‘Wibble’! There’s something truly magical about seeing a child’s face light up as you read them a story and their imagination carries them off to a world of wonder and make-believe, while the words you’re reading wash over them like a gentle waterfall. It really is a joy and quite a priviledge. Hopefully the children and teachers will enjoy my school visits as much as I will!

This week’s blog is rather short and sweet I’m afraid, as ‘Posie Pixie’ and ‘Wibble Woodlouse’ need some help with their packing for our school adventure you see! I shall leave you with the link to a toptastic review of my 4th ‘Whimsy Wood’ book, ‘Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party’ http://nayusreadingcorner.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/posie-pixie-and-fireworks-party-by.html  as well as a fabulous literary quote from none other than Albert Einstein ….

‘If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.’

Wishing you all a wonderfully whimsical week!

Sarah 🙂

Ps; if you’d like to contact me regarding a school, library or similar visit, then please email me on whimsy.pixie76@gmail.com  thank you.

What a whimsical week!

My goodness me it’s been a busy week in the world of ‘Whimsy Wood’! I’ve not had 1, not 2, but 3 schools request that my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series and I come visit them in the next month! On Thursday September the 25th, I shall be visiting Sutterton Fourfields C of E primary school and Swineshead St.Mary’s C of E primary school. I’ll be reading my 4th Whimsy Wood book, ‘Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party’, to their KS1 children and we’ll be having book signings afterwards! On Tuesday October the 14th, I’ll be taking the morning assembly at Easton Royal Academy, Pewsey. I’m sure all these clever children will have some pretty brilliant questions to ask me and hopefully my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series and I will ignite their imaginations and create a love of nature. In preparation for these visits, Abela Publishing has now added complimentary colouring-in sheets on their website for parents, teachers and other such grown-up folk to download! Since I like sharing, please see the link below that will take you to these free (yes FREE!!) sheets!

http://abelapublishing.com/whimsy-wood-complimentary-colouring-in-sheets_p28915758.htm

Back in ‘Whimsy Wood’ itself, well it’s a constant hive of activity! ‘Humbug Hedgehog’ is busy foraging for worms, ‘Sonny Shrew’ is fiddling with a wonky wheel on his skateboard and ‘Mrs Spottisdowne the sparrow’ is up to her black beady eyes in sparkly silver thread, as she’s taking the hem up on ‘Violet Vole’s’ skirt! ‘Mrs Spottisdowne the sparrow’ is ‘Whimsy Wood’s’ Scottish seamstress, incase you were wondering! Since book 2, ‘Posie Pixie And The Lost Matchbox’, is written for this currently sunny month of September, I’ll share (I know, I really am too kind!) an extract with you from this book…..

‘Outside, the autumn sun was shining and the leaves on the woodland trees were changing from green to cherry reds and golden yellows. A choir of young chaffinches were practising their autumn songs and if you looked closely, you could just see the twitching whiskers, or disappearing tails of Mr and Mrs Dusty the dormice and their little ones.

The ivy in 'Whimsy Wood' that's currently flowering. These flowers provide nectar for wasps and other autumnal flying insects.

The ivy in ‘Whimsy Wood’ that’s currently flowering. These flowers provide nectar for wasps and other autumnal flying insects.

“It’s wonderful living here,” thought Posie to herself, as she skipped through Whimsy Wood admiring the ivy and gorse that were now in flower.’….

On that heavenly note, I shall leave you to mull over where Posie Pixie might be off to in Whimsy Wood and if you’d like to see more of this 2nd book, ‘Posie Pixie And The Lost Matchbox’, please see the link below where it’s featured currently on the ‘Being Author’ website. Alternatively, you can click on the green link on the right of this page for ‘book 2 on Abela Publishing’.

http://www.beingauthor.com/2014/09/sarah-hill.html

Wishing you all a wonderfully whimsical Wednesday! 🙂

New Beginnings

Hello there! I’m Sarah Hill, author and creator of the ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series for 5-8 year olds and the young at heart! Today is the first day of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ blog. Not only that, but my youngest daughter (we are mad enough to have 3 wee tinkers aged 6 and a half, almost 5 and 14 months!) had her first day at school! So, with these new events in mind, I thought ‘New Beginnings’ would be a darn good title for today’s post!

“Yes, yes, yes. That’s all very well and lovely, but what’s going on in ‘Whimsy Wood’?” I hear you ask. Well, let me see. ‘Mrs Scarlet the squirrel’ is very busy, hustling and bustling away in The Woodland Store, as she puts away this morning’s delivery of ‘Miller Mouse’s’ flour. ‘Raspberry Rabbit’ has found a bright blue button that’s fallen to the woodland floor. She’ll be taking it back to her ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of a treasure room in her cosy burrow, with a Hop-Hop-Flippity-Flop I expect! ‘Raspberry Rabbit’ wears bright red flowery flip-flops on her fluffy feet, incase you were wondering!

As for the enchanting wood itself, well many of the woodland flowers have disappeared, now that summer is well and truly over. Although…Hang on a tick! What have I just spotted? I do believe I can see a patch of brazen foxgloves, still blooming beautifully for all of ‘Whimsy Wood’ to see! Now, if I peer a little closer, I’m sure I can see a little jingling, tinkling bluebell hat bobbing up and down…How odd! Who and what could possibly be under this hat? Why it’s none other than ‘Posie Pixie’ of course! She’s scurrying like a squirrel amongst these pink and purple foxgloves and looks rather flustered. I’d best catch up with her and see where she’s off to in such a hurry.

So without further ado, I shall wish you all a very whimsical Wednesday and promise to return next week with more Whimsy Wood fun and games! In the meantime, if you really can’t wait to find out what happens in Posie Pixie’s first adventure (this being ‘Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle’) then you can find out more by clicking on this link 😉

http://abelapublishing.com/posie-pixie-and-the-copper-kettle_p27279519.htm 

foxglove

The Marvellous Candlesnuff Fungus !

“The marvellous what?” I hear you ask! Well quite! I stumbled across this incredibly interesting fungus over a year or so ago, when I was researching book 14 from my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series . I often have a good old nosey through various woodland websites, to see what flora and fauna are out and about in a UK wood, for the particular month I am writing about you see. Alongside drinking copious cups of coffee and trying to look ‘terribly busy’! Anyway, book 14 is about the happenings within ‘Whimsy Wood’ for the scrumptious month of September. Once I’d discovered the charming candlesnuff fungus (xylaria hypoxylon, if we’re going to get all technical!) what else could I possibly write about, than this intriguing and fabulously named fungus?! So with my imagination ignited, I put pen to paper and before I knew it, ‘Fearne Fairy And The Candlesnuff Camp’ had been created, written and I was ‘moonwalking’ across the office floor with sheer delight and excitement!

Candlesnuff Fungus - Xylaria hypoxylon

Candlesnuff fungus growing on dead deciduous wood, which is where it’s happiest!

I mean just look at it, with its snuffed candle wick appearance! I’m starting to wonder if this was where the idea for the commonly used ‘glo-sticks’ came from! In fact, another similarity this fungus has with our party accessory, the glo-stick’, is that it’s rather rubbery and you can actually bend it without breaking it! There’s a handy fact for you to share at parties! Oh and before I go on to spill some inside information about my series, I’d better be responsible and inform you, that although this fungus is not poisonous, it is entirely inedible! Probably tastes like a ‘glo-stick’ too!!

Now, to folk who are aware of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series, the appearance of a certain ‘Fearne Fairy’ will be somewhat of a surprise! This is because wee ‘Posie Pixie’ is the main character in the 1st seven books (which makes up the 1st set) in my series. Once we reach book 8 (the start of the 2nd set of seven books) ‘Posie’ and her jingling, tinkling bluebell hat, get to have a rest and lie down in a dark room from all the excitement of her adventures in ‘Whimsy Wood’! Along with ‘Fearne Fairy’, you’ll also get to meet ‘Mustard the Magpie Moth’ (Fearne’s best friend) and ‘Dr Tustle the Tawny Owl’. ‘Dr Tustle’ is of course the woodland’s resident doctor and is a rather serious, older member of the ‘Whimsy Wood’ community. He makes his 1st appearance in book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’ (the last book in the 1st set and written for the month of February!) This will be released early Spring-time next year.

I fear I have given away a lot of inside secrets this week and before I share anymore, I’d best away and attempt to ‘look busy’ somewhere else! If you want to keep up to date with the latest illustrations, book launches and school visits, then pop over to the Whimsy Wood Facebook page and ‘like’ us, thank you 😉 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whimsy-Wood-Series/476339045765043?ref=hl

Wishing you all a Whimsical Wednesday!