πŸ˜§πŸ›πŸžπŸ Woodland Words Vanish From Oxford Junior Dictionary! πŸπŸžπŸ› 😧

“Woah!?! What did you say?” I hear you cry with incredulity. Yes, I was shocked and horrified too, when I read an article in the Autumn edition of the National Trust magazine recently. Β This article, titled ‘A Word To The Wild’ written by author Robert Macfarlane, detailed the loss of many much-loved and valuable natural words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

Front cover of the Autumn edition of the National Trust magazine 2015

Front cover of the Autumn edition of the National Trust magazine 2015

Back in 2007, Oxford University Press chose to remove the following words from a brand new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary :-acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, conker, cowslip, crocus, cygnet, dandelion, fern, gorse, hazel, heather, heron, horse chestnut, ivy, kingfisher,lark, minnow, newt, otter, pasture, poppy, starling, sycamore, wren and willow. I must confess I was in utter disbelief as I continued to read this revealing article.

These wonderful woodland words had been removed, because astonishingly, they were considered as being irrelevant to children in this day and age….! In their place, in this new edition aimed at seven to nine year olds, are :- attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, compulsory, cut-and-paste, MP3 player and voice-mail. No, I’m not kidding. πŸ˜”

Good grief! Was my initial reaction. In fact, to be completely truthful, my actual words after discovering this information were far stronger than that! However, we can’t be posting naughty, rude words here and I’m sure you get the picture! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ƒ Once I’d got over my outrage, I then started thinking about how I could help. The aims of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series for 5-8 year olds are to ignite imaginations and engage children more with nature. With this in mind, I decided to contact the National Trust magazine directly. If you are as shocked as I was, or would like more information regarding this article, then please click on this link :-Β http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/what-we-do/big-issues/nature-and-outdoors/natural-childhood/

With magazine articles as the subject of this week’s ‘Whimsy Wood’ blog post, I’m delighted to say that I’ve been chosen (along with 5 other writers) to be a contributor for US on-line parenting magazine the ‘MommyEffect’! All sorts of topics are covered in this marvellous magazine, from lifestyle to product reviews, beauty and style to food and drink. So for anything pertaining to family-life and parenting, please pop over and see us on the ‘Mommy Effect’! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ŠΒ http://mommyeffect.com

Well, that’s all from me for this week. Wishing you a wonderfully whimsical early weekend (Friday’s nearly here – hurray!) πŸ˜ƒ

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series.

 

βœ¨πŸ’« Perfect Poetry πŸ’«βœ¨

There’s something very soothing about hearing and reading well-written poetry, so I was thrilled to be asked to hold a poetry assembly at Easton Royal Academy in Easton Royal, near Pewsey in Wiltshire. I’m very fortunate to be this charming village school’s Associate Author and it’s my second year in this post, so I know the school quite well.

Now poetry is a rather vast topic, with numerous different types of poetry from acrostic poems to limericks, odes, riddles and sonnets, to name just a few. How on Earth was I going to narrow down this gigantic subject, into a 20 minute assembly? Well, the school’s current topic is ‘Into The Woods’, so I decided to read different types of woodland-related poetry to the children. This is also tied in well with my own ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s books. The date of this requested assembly was yesterday, which happened to officially be the first day of Autumn. “A Ha!” I thought cunningly to myself! I shall also use this wonderfully colourful season as subject material for my assembly!

So, without further ado, here are a few of the poems I read to the delightful children at Easton Royal Academy yesterday :-

πŸπŸ‚ An Autumn Greeting by George Cooper πŸ‚πŸ

“Come,” said the Wind to the Leaves one day.
“Come over the meadow and we will play.
Put on your dresses of red and gold.
For summer is gone and the days grow cold.”

βœ¨πŸ„ A Fairy In Armour by Joseph Rodman Drake πŸ„βœ¨

He put his acorn helmet on;
It was plumed of the silk of the thistle down;
The corslet plate that guarded his breast
Was once the wild bee’s golden vest;
His cloak, of a thousand mingled dyes,
Was formed of the wings of butterflies;
His shield was the shell of a lady-bug green,
Studs of gold on a ground of green;
And the quivering lance which he brandished bright,
Was the sting of a wasp he had slain in fight.

Now in my mind, no poetry reading is complete without a nonsense poem of some description! So here’s the fabulous poem, that I ended my poetry assembly to Easton Royal Academy yesterday :-

'The Triantiwontigongolope'!

πŸžπŸπŸ› The Triantiwontigongolope by C.J.Dennis πŸ›πŸπŸž

There’s a very funny insect that you do not often spy,
And it isn’t quite a spider, and it isn’t quite a fly;
It is something like a beetle, and a little like a bee,
But nothing like a wooly grub that climbs upon a tree.
Its name is quite a hard one, but you’ll learn it soon, I hope.
So try:
Tri-
Tri-anti-wonti-
Triantiwontigongolope.
It lives on weeds and wattle-gum, and has a funny face;
Its appetite is hearty, and its manners a disgrace.
When first you come upon it, it will give you quite a scare,
But when you look for it again, you find it isn’t there.
And unless you call it softly it will stay away and mope.
So try:
Tri-
Tri-anti-wonti-
Triantiwontigongolope.
It trembles if you tickle it or tread upon its toes;
It is not an early riser, but it has a snubbish nose.
If you snear at it, or scold it, it will scuttle off in shame,
But it purrs and purrs quite proudly if you call it by its name,
And offer it some sandwiches of sealing-wax and soap.
So try:
Tri-
Tri-anti-wonti-
Triantiwontigongolope .
But of course you haven’t seen it; and I truthfully confess
That I haven’t seen it either, and I don’t know its address.
For there isn’t such an insect, though there really might have been
If the trees and grass were purple, and the sky was bottle green.
It’s just a little joke of mine, which you’ll forgive, I hope.
Oh, try!
Tri-
Tri-anti-wonti-
Triantiwontigongolope.

So, there you have it! Some perfect poetry for you today. πŸ˜ƒ The only thing I have left to share with you on this autumnal day, is that we have our second ‘Whimsy Wood’ competition up and running, to celebrate yesterday’s first day of Autumn. πŸ˜‰ This is to win signed copies of book 2, ‘Posie Pixie And The Lost Matchbox’, from my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series. To be in with a chance of winning, simply click on the link below, which will take you to our ‘Whimsy Wood’ Facebook page. There, you’ll find details of this cracking competition! Good luck! πŸ˜ƒ

'Posie Pixie And The Lost Matchbox', book 2 in my 'Whimsy Wood' series 😊

‘Posie Pixie And The Lost Matchbox’, book 2 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series 😊

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whimsy-Wood-Series/476339045765043?ref=hl

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series

πŸπŸ‚πŸ˜ƒ Golden Thank Yous πŸ˜ƒπŸ‚πŸ

It’s been said many times before, but it really doesn’t cost anything to simply say, “Thank you!” Yet these two little words can mean the world to the recipient. Take, for example, this wonderful letter that I received in the post this week, from Wyberton Primary’s school council, following my author visit to them recently.

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When I read this carefully written, thoughtful letter, I was filled with joy and a rather lovely, warm, cosy feeling. I didn’t stop smiling all day! With this in mind, it occurred to me how powerful saying, “Thank you” really is.

I then started thinking about all the things that I am thankful for. Now I came up with quite a long list, which I won’t bore you with, but by simply looking around me when out walking across the fields near where we live, I was reminded how beautiful nature and indeed the seasons are.

We’d been led to believe (as we are every year here in the UK), that there would be an Indian Summer. This was of course and usually is, a load of old codswallop! To be completely truthful, we’ve had a splendid summer in England and I’m rather delighted (indeed thankful!) to see the start of Autumn. I love this colourful month, filled with conkers and crab apples, bonfires and blackberries! To really get you in the spirit of being thankful for all things autumnal, I thought I’d share this poem by Brenda Williams :-

 

Thank you for the harvest
When fruit and berries grow.
Thank you for the ripening corn
Planted long ago.

Thank you for the autumn
And a warm and sunny day.
Thank you for the harvest
And crops to store away.

Thank you for the sugar beet
And fields of new mown hay
To feed the cows and horses
When winter comes to stay

Β© to Brenda Williams

I have been invited to Easton Royal Academy, to lead their assembly next week. This happens to be the school that I am ‘Associate Author’ for (and the second year running I’ll have you know! Something I am thankful for 😊) and they had requested some poetry. Since next Wednesday (the day my visit is planned for), is officially the first day of autumn, I shall be revelling in reading them numerous autumnal poems! I may even include a wee bit from Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Scarecrow’s Wedding’, which my children and I adore!

Something else I am thankful for, is that ‘Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle’, book 1 from my Whimsy Wood, is now available in hard back form! Please click on this link to the publisher’s website to order your copy! πŸ˜ƒΒ http://abelapublishing.com/posie-pixie-and-the-copper-kettle–book-1-in-the-whimsy-wood-series–hardback_p31204951.htmΒ Before long, the other 6 books in the 1st set from my series, will also be available in hard back form. The next being book 2, ‘Posie Pixie And The Lost Matchbox’.

'Posie Pixie And The Lost Matchbox', book 2 in my 'Whimsy Wood' series 😊

‘Posie Pixie And The Lost Matchbox’, book 2 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series 😊

As you may or may not know, each of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ books is written for a specific month in the calendar, so the flora and fauna within the wood changes as you read through the series. Book 1 happened to be written for the month of August, making book 2 a September book you see. In ‘Posie Pixie And The Lost Matchbox’, we meet ‘Raspberry Rabbit’ ( Whimsy Wood’s cheerful yet silly, recycling rabbit!) and Posie’s best friend ‘Wibble Woodlouse! If you’re looking for an awesome autumnal children’s book, filled with colourful leaves, vivid descriptions and adventure, then this is the book you’re after! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ƒΒ http://abelapublishing.com/posie-pixie-and-the-lost-matchbox–book-2-in-the-whimsy-wood-series_p27279550.htm

Well, I’d best away and be creative elsewhere! Whimsical wishes to you all,

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series.

πŸ’«βœ¨πŸ˜ƒ A Wonderfully Whimsical Week! πŸ˜ƒβœ¨πŸ’«

Where does the time go? Another week has flown by in a blink of an eye and in the world of ‘Whimsy Wood’, we’ve managed to cram a fair bit in!

First of all, I’m thrilled to say that I actually won a competition this week! Yes, little old me, who rarely wins anything! I entered a competition on Twitter to win a 3 month book prescription service with ‘Warm Vellum Books’ you see and low behold, I won it! The lovely folk at ‘Warm Vellum Books’ sent me a questionnaire to fill in, so they knew my interests, likes and dislikes. Then using this information, they sent me a suitable brand new reading book along with a very old Penguin classic book.

With my love of all things written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, they sent me ‘The Gates’ by John Connolly and ‘Room At The Top’ by John Braine. This later book dates back to 1959 and is in mint condition! Well, I was delighted and I can’t wait to receive next month’s’ exciting package in the post! Incidentally, these fabulous books come wrapped in brown paper and green twine. It really is a wonderful service and something I’d highly recommend for any book lover out there. πŸ˜‰ If this is of interest to you, then please click on this link for further information. 😊 http://www.warmvellumbookshop.co.uk/pages/about-us

My perfect 'prescription' books from 'Warm Vellum Books' πŸ˜ƒ

My perfect ‘prescription’ books from ‘Warm Vellum Books’ πŸ˜ƒ

Well, winning that cracking competition certainly started our week off brilliantly! On the subject of competitions, the ‘Wildlife Trusts’ (to whom we donate 10% of all ‘Whimsy Wood’ book sales) are currently running a competition on their children’s e-newsletter, ‘Wildlife Watch’. This is to win signed copies of ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, the seventh book in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series. So if you’re feeling lucky and fancy entering, then please click on this link! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š Β http://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/september-2015-competition

Finally, the other wonderful event that happened this week, was my author visit to Wyberton Primary School in Lincolnshire. I always feel incredibly privileged to be invited into primary schools in the UK, to spend time with the children doing literacy-related woodland activities. This week’s visit was just as joyous!

Wyberton Primary’s splendid school council showed me around their amazing outside space. They have a special ‘Story-telling’ area, a ‘Water Garden’ and a ‘Sculpture Area’, along with their busy buzzing bees that they acquired a few months ago. The plan with the bees and their hive, is for the children to learn much more about the importance of bees in the world we live in, as well as learning to care for and handle bees safely and sensibly. Finally, they plan to use their knowledge and skills of bee-keeping as an enterprise, by selling the honey that is made. What a truly splendid school! πŸ˜ƒ

Meeting Wyberton Primary's 'School Council' after my assembly to the whole school 😊

Meeting Wyberton Primary’s ‘School Council’ after my assembly to the whole school 😊

Well that’s all for now folks! I’d best away and doing something creative and whimsical with my time! Whimsical wishes to you all. πŸ˜ƒ

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series.

 

 

πŸ“˜πŸ“—πŸ“•πŸ˜ƒ Books, books, books! πŸ˜ƒπŸ“•πŸ“—πŸ“˜

Well the house is rather quiet today, as my oldest 2 daughters went back to school this morning (after having a fabulous summer!) and my 2 year old son is in nursery. This of course means that I should be ‘knuckling down’ to do some writing on my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series…..Hmmm….yes….that’s all very well, but having a nosy through my new bedtime read is proving to be terribly distracting!

This brilliant book in question is ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’, which is Terry Pratchett’s final discworld novel. He really is my absolute favourite author and I was rather delighted that this cracking page-turner was released on my birthday last Thursday! πŸ˜ƒ If you’re not familiar with the quirky discworld, then here’s a snippet of this splendid story to give you a taste…..

‘ Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength. This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad. As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land. There will be a reckoning…..’ If that ‘flicks your switch’ so-to-speak, then here’s the link to this marvellous must-read on Amazon:-http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shepherds-Crown-Discworld-Novels/dp/0857534815/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441282056&sr=1-1&keywords=the+shepherd%27s+crown

Terry Pratchett's final discworld novel, 'The Shepherd's Crown'.

Terry Pratchett’s final discworld novel, ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’.

On the subject of books, I was delighted to learn that ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’ and ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, my 6th and 7th ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s books, have been awarded the ‘Story Monster Approved’ medal!

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If you would like to read the press release regarding this wonderful news then please click on this link, thank you. 😊 http://www.authoramp.com/2015/09/whimsy-wood-books-67-earn-storymonsters-approval-whimsywood/

Finally, on Monday September the 7th, my ‘Whimsy Wood’ characters and I will be making our first school visit of this term. We’ve been invited to spend the day with all the pupils at Wyberton Primary in Lincolnshire. I have all sorts of whimsical fun and frolics planned for this author visit and I can’t wait!

Anyway, I really had better go and start creating book 15 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series. It really won’t write itself now! πŸ˜ƒ

Whimsical wishes,

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series.

 

 

 

 

πŸŽ‰πŸŽπŸŽ‚ Birthday Blog! πŸŽ‚πŸŽπŸŽ‰

Hi there! It’s my birthday tomorrow and I’m rather excited! We’re off for a day and night of birthday glamping fun in Herefordshire! There’s a bell tent and fairy lights and everything, which all sounds like wonderful whimsicalness to me! πŸ˜ƒ

Now I love birthdays! Not just my own of course, but everything to do with birthdays. So on my special day, I like to give my 3 children a present too. This year, I stumbled across the ‘Storytime’ magazine and this looked perfect to me for my 3 bookworm babies! The magazine’s website had an offer on to subscribe for 3 months for Β£9.99. This monthly magazine is currently the UK’s only story magazine for children and it’s stacked full of delightful stories and poetry. There’s also beautiful illustrations, games and activities for children to do.

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If you’re familiar with my blog, then you’ll know that I’m a children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series for 5-8 year olds. Not only was the Storytime magazine brilliant for my 3 children (Olivia aged 7yrs, Poppy aged 5yrs and Monty aged 2yrs), but I also found it full of inspiration for my own creativity and imagination. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š If you’re keen to check this marvellous magazine out, then please click on this link for more information. http://www.storytimemagazine.com

On the subjects of ‘giving’ and ‘stories’, you may be intrigued to learn that we’re currently running a competition to win signed copies of ‘Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle’, book 1 from my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series. This competition is on the Whimsy Wood Facebook and Twitter pages, so if you’d like to enter, please click on one of these links! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whimsy-Wood-Series/476339045765043?ref=hl or https://twitter.com/WhimsyWood

Front cover of 'Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle', book 1 in The Whimsy Wood Series

Finally, I had a rather fabulous early birthday present this week. This was a wonderful review of my latest ‘Whimsy Wood’ book, titled ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’ and it’s the 7th instalment from my children’s series. If you’d like to check out this review, then please click on this link. πŸ˜‰ Thank you. 😊 http://www.4under4madness.co.uk/?p=402&subscribe=success#blog_subscription-2

Front Cover Of 'Posie Pixie And The Pancakes'

Wishing you a wonderfully whimsical rest of the week!πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š

Sarah Hill

** Posie Pixie and the Pancakes – Review **

I was delighted to read this wonderful review of my 7th ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s book titled ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’. I hope you enjoy reading it ? Thank you very much to The Secret Window for reading, reviewing and writing about my work. Warmest whimsical wishes, Sarah Hill ?

From Special School Visits To Fantastic Food Festivals!

As you may or may not know, we had the lovely launch of book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, (the last book in the 1st set from my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series), at The White Horse Book Shop in Marlborough, Wiltshire on Saturday June the 27th. You’ll be delighted to know that the publisher, Abela Publishing, are still running their spectacular special offer, for all 7 ‘Whimsy Wood’ books in this 1st set, for just Β£25! Here’s the link for this awesome offer, if you missed the launch ?Β http://abelapublishing.com/whimsy-wood-series-set-1–7-book-special-offer_p27279552.htm

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Since then, my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series and I have been fortunate enough to be invited to visit Nursteed Primary School ( http://www.nursteed.wilts.sch.uk ) in Devizes, Wiltshire. This author visit will be on Wednesday July the 8th and I simply can’t wait to meet all the key-stage 1 children and teachers! ? I hope they enjoy the reading of book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, during their assembly and all the woodland-based literacy activities that I shall be doing with them! I wonder if there’ll be a special ‘author’s chair’?!

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We’ve also been invited to be part of Edington Farmshop’s Summer Food Festival! (Β http://edingtonfarmshop.co.uk/events ) This will be at the farm shop in Edington, Wiltshire, from midday onwards, on both Saturday July the 11th and Sunday July the 12th. There’ll be plenty of activities, crafts and stalls for all the family, along with an array of food, drink and music to entertain you!

'Mrs Scarlet the squirrel' and 'Posie Pixie' in Whimsy Wood's 'Woodland Store' ?

‘Mrs Scarlet the squirrel’ and ‘Posie Pixie’ in Whimsy Wood’s ‘Woodland Store’ ?

‘Mrs Scarlet the squirrel’ and ‘Posie Pixie’ are particularly excited about this event, as they want to see if the farm shop is anything like Whimsy Wood’s wonderful ‘Woodland Store’! If you haven’t been to Edington Farmshop before, then come along to this fantastic food festival and grab yourself a signed copy of one of my award-winning ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s books from our ‘Whimsy Wood’ stall! Hope to see you there ?

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Half-way house!

Would you believe that we are almost half-way through 2015 already!?! Crazy I know, but true. During this week, there has of course been the annual D-day celebrations, but did you know that 100 years ago, the 1st publication of Beatrix Potter’s ‘Peter Rabbit’ story occurred? Not only that, but during this week back in 1934, ‘Donald Duck’ made his 1st appearance! Whilst in 1942, Anne Frank received a diary for her 13th birthday. What an amazing gift that became.

To add to these exciting past events and bringing us back to the here-and-now, the new Children’s Laureate was announced this week. Malorie Blackman’s term as the previous children’s laureate has come to a close and instead, Chris Riddell will be taking on this prestigious role.

Closer to home, in our own wonderful world of ‘Whimsy Wood’, flyers have been distributed for the launch of book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’. Journalists have been notified of this pending event at The White Horse Book Shop in Marlborough, Wiltshire, on Saturday June the 27th, from 2.30pm. Fabulous posters advertising the launch, designed specifically for this shop’s window, have arrived. All in all, I think we’re set for a toptastic event! ?

On a more creative note, I had an awesome author visit to Knebworth Primary School in Hertfordshire this week! I was invited to spend half the day with their KS1 children. We created woodland characters, designed woodland maps and I read ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’ to them during their assembly! Apart from my own 3 children, they were the 1st children to hear this latest instalment from my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series and I’m pretty sure they thoroughly enjoyed it! ??

Signing my 'Whimsy Wood' children's books at Knebworth Primary ?

Signing my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s books at Knebworth Primary ?

 

Reading 'Posie Pixie And The Pancakes' to the KS1 children at Knebworth Primary ?

Reading ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’ to the KS1 children at Knebworth Primary ?

Not only that, but we can happily announce a competition to win signed copies of book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’ on the fabulous ‘mummascribbles’ website! Thank you heaps Lisa in advance for running this ? To be in with a chance to win, simply click on this link below:- Β http://mummascribbles.com/competitions/giveaway-whimsy-wood-book-7-posie-pixie-the-pancakes/

I do believe that’s all there is to mention this week in the world of ‘Whimsy Wood’, so I shall bid you a wonderfully whimsical weekend ?

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of the ‘Whimsy Wood’ series.