Hurray for the Humble Hedgehog!

I love hedgehogs! No, let me rephrase that. I absolutely adore hedgehogs! Now, I do believe that I’m not entirely alone in my fondness for these prickly wee creatures. I mean…just look at how cute this picture of a mummy hedgehog and her hoglets (for this is what baby hedgehogs are called!) is.?

Mummy Hedgehog And Her Hoglets! ?

Mummy Hedgehog And Her Hoglets! ?

As far back in time as the Greeks, there’s evidence that these snuffly, spiky characters had caught the interest of us less-intriguing humans, if this Greek proverb is anything to go on:-

‘The fox knows many things, the hedgehog but one, but it is enough.’

Fast-forward to the early 1900s and you’ll discover that hedgehogs were woven into many a story. Take a look at the tale below from South Slovenia which echoes the Greek proverb above:-

‘A fox meeting a hedgehog asked him, “How many wits have you?” And he replied, “Only three. But how many have you?” “I,” boasted the fox,” have seventy-seven.” As they were talking and walking along, not noticing where they were going, they fell into a deep hole which the peasants had dug. The fox asked the hedgehog to save him. The hedgehog said, “I have only three wits. Perhaps you will save me first, then I will see about you afterwards,” and he asked the fox to pitch him out of the hole. The fox did so, and then asked the hedgehog whether he could help him. The hedgehog said, “I cannot help you with three, if you cannot help yourself with seventy-seven.” And so the fox was caught in the morning by the peasants and killed.’ Cripes! Bit harsh I thought, but there we go! ?

On a lighter note, we will all of course remember Beatrix Potter’s charming and adorable Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. She was and still is, my favourite of Miss Potter’s characters and remains as real in my mind, as she was when I was a little girl ?

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Finally, bringing us to more current times, Sonic and Shadow Hedgehogs found themselves quite at home for a very long time, ruling the roost of the gaming industry ? :-

The Infamous Sonic! ?

The Infamous Sonic! ?

 

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So as you can see, from just a very brief look at the ‘entertainment industry’, shall we say, from past to present day, I think I can safely say that hedgehogs are certainly dear to us. ?

Having said all this joyous, ‘spine’-tingling (ha ha! Sorry, couldn’t resist that! ?) stuff about hedgehogs, you may or may not be aware that hedgehog numbers in the UK are shockingly on the decline….? Back in May 2013, it was reported that the UK hedgehog population had fallen from 36 million, back in the ‘diner-days’ of the 1950s, to just one million! I also happened to read this week about Central London’s last remaining hedgehogs and how they are managing to survive, by avoiding the busy roads. For more of these articles, please click on the links:- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2322257/Farewell-hedgehogs-Numbers-plummet-36million-1950-just-million-today.html

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/02/last-hedgehogs-in-central-london-survived-by-learning-to-avoid-roads

So with all this hedgehoggy-ness floating around my brain, there was only one thing for it! ‘Whimsy Wood’ was in need of a hedgehog family!! Now there are numerous hedgehog names floating around my imagination currently, but one name I am certain of. This is ‘Humbug Hedgehog’, who I’d like you to meet…..

Meet 'Humbug Hedgehog', the newest addition to 'Whimsy Wood'! ?

Meet ‘Humbug Hedgehog’, the newest addition to ‘Whimsy Wood’! ?

Bearing in mind that this scrumptious wee fella is very near to the ground, whilst contemplating his character I imagined how he would see his surroundings within the enchanting ‘Whimsy Wood’. The image below summed up what I had in my brain ?

Humbug's view of the enchanting 'Whimsy Wood' ?

Humbug’s view of the enchanting ‘Whimsy Wood’ ?

Now before I go and attempt to be ‘creative’ elsewhere, I’ll remind you that ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, book 7 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series, will be launched at The White Horse Book Shop in Marlborough, on Saturday June the 27th. In the meantime, Abela Publishing (publishers of my work) are running a special offer for all 7 books in the 1st set of my series! Here is the link to this amazing saving ? http://abelapublishing.com/whimsy-wood-series-set-1–7-book-special-offer_p27279552.htm

Wishing you all a wonderfully whimsical weekend ?

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

The Magic Of Creativity!

Did you know, that many of the most successful and powerful businesses in the world, now practise a 20% creativity rule? This means that 20% of work-time is allocated towards thinking creatively and exploring new ideas. In this ever-changing world, learning a specific skill set doesn’t have the same value as it once had. Nurturing a child’s (and indeed an adult’s) creativity is becoming more and more important, if we are to adapt, evolve and indeed thrive, in a future where over 90% of jobs don’t even exist yet! Certainly food for thought……. In the words of Albert Einstein,

Fabulous quote by Albert Einstein ?

Fabulous quote by Albert Einstein ?

Now you’re talking! ? If you feel your school or community could benefit from funding to support creativity, via author visits or other means and you live in the South West of England, then guess what? Literature Works have a Grassroots’ fund for exactly this and it’s open now! So what are you waiting for? Get your application in using the link below quick smart! ? http://www.literatureworks.org.uk/grassroots-fund-window-closing-on-february-15th-2015-until-may-1st-2015/

To be able to create something from nothing, as folks may see the work of authors, artists and actors for example, is indeed a joyous and marvellous thing. However, creativity isn’t just this. It is also the ability to ‘think outside the box’, see something from an entirely unique perspective, or make connections where it didn’t seem possible. Now that is the true magic of creativity ?

Talking of magic, you’re in with a treat! ? One of the main characters in the second set of books in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series, is indeed rather skilled in the ‘magic department’. Oh yes, for she is none other than ‘Fearne Fairy’! ? Now please don’t start yawning at this point. She is not, I repeat NOT like other fairies you may have met. She, like the rest of us, has flaws. Two rather tricky flaws in fact, that she has to contend with as you will discover in books 8-14.

Now, before I go (and get on with my own ‘Whimsy Wood’ creativity!) I’ll leave you with a rather fabulous recipe, or ‘spell’ for this marvellous, magical thing, to practise with!

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If you would like to enquire about my school visits and make a booking, please visit :- http://www.findschoolworkshops.co.uk/Author-Illustrator-Visit/Primary-School/Sarah-Hill-Story-Teller-author-of-the-Whimsy-Wood-Series-l396.html

Wishing you all a wonderfully whimsical weekend ?

Time For Inspiration And Imagination!

“So, what’s been happening in the world of Whimsy Wood this week?” I hear you ask. Well now that book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, is going through its proofing run at the print company, things have been a little calmer and quieter. In fact, it’s been rather wonderful to be able to get back to writing more whimsical stories for my 35-book Whimsy Wood series! I have already written up to book 14, however there’s always room for tweaking, re-writing and editing of previously written manuscripts, as well as creating new stories for the remaining books. My series is divided into 5 sets each containing 7 books you see, so with book 7 nearing its publication date, we are coming to the end of the 1st Whimsy Wood set. I feel a real sense of sadness as we say “Goodbye” to ‘Posie Pixie’, my main character for books 1-7, but don’t fret too much. . . .she’ll be back later on in the series!! 😉

Now folk often ask me where I get my inspiration for my woodland-based children’s books. My reply is that I research woodland blogs and websites for intriguing information and nature-related flora and fauna that spark my creative juices! One such brilliant example is the brimstone butterfly! I had never heard of this charming creature prior to changing my career from Veterinary Surgeon to children’s author. Shame on me! The name of this beautiful butterfly was enough to make me say, “Now that wee thing definitely needs to appear in a Whimsy Wood book!”

Beautiful Brimstone Butterfly! :)

Beautiful Brimstone Butterfly! 🙂

However, it may not just be the name of something that triggers my imagination. It can be a yummy, scrummy image such as this :-

Uber cute baby Blue-Tit!

Uber cute baby Blue-Tit!

I happen to love alliteration, so seeing this baby Blue-tit picture made me squeak with delight at its utter cuteness and the repetition of the letter ‘b’! Sometimes it can really be that simple! My whimsical stories also have proverbs tucked away in them for the reader to find, giving them real meaning. There are over 400 proverbs in the English language, so I have a fair few to choose from for inspiration!

All this talk of imagination and inspiration has reminded me that I really must get on and create some more whimsical stories, or my series will never be finished and that just wont do! Now before I go, I must tell you that ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’ will be launched on Saturday June the 27th, at The White Horse Book Shop in Marlborough, Wiltshire from 2.30-5.30pm. There’ll be colouring-in competitions for under 5s and over 5s. Winners of each category will receive signed copies of all of the 7 books in this 1st Whimsy Wood set! Wow! I’ll also be reading book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, during the launch if you’d like to drop in and have a listen to the whimsical woodland voices! 🙂

For more information regarding this book launch and to keep up-to-date with Whimsy Wood developments, then please visit our Whimsy Wood page and like it if you do 😉 Thank you 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/WhimsyWoodSeries?ref=hl

Whimsical wishes,

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

Awesome Author School Visits!

It’s been one eventful, whimsical week for all of us here at the ‘Whimsy Wood Series’ headquarters! We’ve received not just 1, no, not even 2, but 3! Yes 3, invitations to visit primary schools in the next few weeks! Phew! That’s just too exciting for me, ‘Posie Pixie’, ‘Wibble Woodlouse’ and the rest of the ‘Whimsy Wood’ folk!

My next author visit will be to Knebworth Primary School in Hertfordshire on June the 9th. The 2nd visit is to St.Thomas’s Primary School in Boston, Lincolnshire on June the 29th. Finally, my 3rd visit is to Nursteed Primary School in Devizes on July the 8th. I absolutely love visiting primary schools, engaging with the children and teachers and running woodland-related literacy activities, or creative writing workshops.

I was also fortunate enough be invited back to Urchfont Primary School in Wiltshire this week. I had a wonderful time meeting their lovely KS1 children and staff. They met some whimsical woodland animals that I’d brought with me and I read book 6, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’, to them. Finally we had book signings of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series in their library at the end of the day ? If you would like a ‘Whimsy Wood’ author visit to your school, please email me on whimsy.pixie76@gmail.com  thank you.

Interestingly, if your school is in the South West of England, your school can apply for funding for author visits! ‘Literature Works’ have a Grassroots fund for this exact thing and its funding window reopens on May the 26th 2015. Please see the link below for this funding possibility ?

http://www.literatureworks.org.uk/grassroots-fund-window-closing-on-february-15th-2015-until-may-1st-2015/

Now amidst all this excitement, the formatting process for book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, (the final book in the 1st set of my series) is complete! It’s currently winging its beautiful self to the print company as we speak, for its proofing run ? Below is a sneak preview at the fabulous front cover of ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, which will be launched in June!

The Fabulous Front Cover Of 'Posie Pixie And The Pancakes'!

The Fabulous Front Cover Of ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’!

On that rather joyous note, I shall wish you a delightful day from all of us ‘Whimsy Wood’ folk ?

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

The Delightful Dawn Chorus!

The marvellous month of May usually brings with it all sorts of wonderful delights here in Whimsy Wood! The choir start practising earlier and earlier every morning, with more and more young birds trying their hand, or should I say wing, at auditioning for the Whimsy Wood’s annual ‘Dawn Chorus’ singing event!

Winona Wren singing her wee heart out in Whimsy Wood's 'Dawn Chorus' competition!

Winona Wren singing her wee heart out in Whimsy Wood’s ‘Dawn Chorus’ competition!

Then there’s the annual May Day Fair, with dancing around the maple May Pole. There’s also the Bluebell Bonnet parade, where all the Whimsy Wood folk can decorate and adapt a bluebell, to be worn by themselves in this prestigious parade! Prizes that day are for the ‘Most Imaginative Design’ and for the ‘Most Number Of Bluebells Used For One Bonnet’! Mrs Spottisdowne the sparrow (Whimsy Wood’s seamstress) and Mrs Scarlet the squirrel, who runs The Woodland Store, are usually the guest judges for the Bluebell Bonnet Parade.

Are you ready for the Bluebell Bonnet Parade in Whimsy Wood this May?!

Are you ready for the Bluebell Bonnet Parade in Whimsy Wood this May?!

 

This talk of bluebells may indeed make you think of our very own charming character, Posie Pixie, who does indeed sport a jingling, tinkling bluebell hat! She was beyond excited when we received a handmade bluebell hat in the post last week, from one of her fabulous Whimsy Wood fans! Thank you so very much for this gift! ?

Incredible handmade replica of Posie Pixie's bluebell hat!

Incredible handmade replica of Posie Pixie’s bluebell hat!

This amazing creation has now become somewhat of a lucky mascot for my Whimsy Wood series and I. It came on its first outing to our book-signing event last Saturday, at The Madhatter Book Shop in Burford! This uniquely special store not only sells brilliant books, but fabulous hats as well, so we were in good company!! The book-signing event went swimmingly and it was wonderful to see so many new faces! Thank you all for coming ?

On that fun and frivolous note, I shall bid you a fond farewell and a slightly early wonderfully whimsical weekend! If you would care to have a look at the most recent review of my 6th ‘Whimsy Wood’ book, titled ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’, then please do click on this link below. Thank you ?

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

Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm…a Whimsy Woods review

Bank Holiday Book Signing Bonanza!

So, the 1st May bank holiday is almost upon us and what will you be doing? Yes that’s right, of course! You’ll be joining me at the ‘Whimsy Wood’ book signing event, at The Madhatter Book Shop, 122 High Street, Burford, Oxofrdshire, this Saturday! We’ll be there from 2.30pm (and so will ‘Posie Pixie’!) so venture to the heart of the Cotswolds and grab yourself a signed copy or 2 of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s books! 🙂

All set and ready for the 'Whimsy Wood' book signing this Saturday!

All set and ready for the ‘Whimsy Wood’ book signing this Saturday!

Now, not only have we been preparing for this exciting book signing event, but we’re also in the midst of formatting book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’! Once this book is published, which will be around mid-June, we will have completed the 1st set in the 35-book ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series! Will ‘Posie Pixie’ still feature in the next set? Will another exciting whimsical character enter the twists and turns of the ‘Whimsy Wood’ plot? I wish I could tell you!! Really, I do!! But I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer, until I tell you anymore about book 8 and the start of the 2nd set in my series! For now, I shall give you an extract from book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’……

‘…….DING-A-LING-A-LING! went The Woodland Store’s acorn bell, as Posie Pixie opened the shop door one foggy February morning.

“Good morning Posie dear!” said Mrs Scarlet the squirrel, from behind her chestnut counter inside the cosy store.

“Good morning to you too Mrs Scarlet!” Posie cheerily replied, as she dutifully wiped her feet on the store doormat. Mrs Scarlet was a rather particular squirrel and she insisted on her customers wiping their feet or paws, when they entered the store; or she’d follow them with a beech broom, sweeping the floor behind them as they walked!

“So then Posie, what can I get for you today?” asked Mrs Scarlet, peering at Posie over her half-moon glasses, as she closed the weekly ‘Whimsy Wood News’ leaf-paper that she was reading. …..’

On that note, I’ll leave you contemplating what Posie needs from The Woodland Store on this particular day and bid you a wonderfully whimsical early weekend (Friday’s nearly here, I can almost smell it!!) Please check out the link below for our book signing event this coming Saturday!! Thank you 🙂

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

http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/?u=705cd45f4b8a105d3f75a0978&id=17e36ee52b

Spectacular Spring!

What a splendid time of year Spring is! Posie Pixie loves hearing all the Whimsy Wood birds tweet and twitter away, as they practise their Spring songs. She’s particular fond of Nettle Nightingale’s melodies and has been known to do one of her many pixie dances amongst the sunny, star-shaped celandines, while Nettle is singing her sweet songs!

'Nettle Nightingale' in 'Whimsy Wood'!

‘Nettle Nightingale’ in ‘Whimsy Wood’!

Stunning star-shaped celandines, that are definite signs of Spring!

Stunning star-shaped celandines, that are definite signs of Spring!

Raspberry Rabbit has of course had a busy time, since it was Easter not so long ago. The Easter Rabbit was rather weighed down with eggs this year in Whimsy Wood and so Raspberry Rabbit helped him make all his deliveries. In return for her kindness, he gave her an extra large Easter egg with very pretty wrapping around it. In her usual recycling fashion, she’s currently using this wonderful wrapping as a new table-cloth in her burrow! Clever rabbit ?

The Easter Rabbit making his deliveries in Whimsy Wood! ?

The Easter Rabbit making his deliveries in Whimsy Wood! ?

On other fronts, the 7th book in my Whimsy Wood children’s series, titled ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, is currently in the formatting stages which is all jolly exciting indeed! Abela Publishing (who publisher my children’s books) and I, attended the London Book Fair this week, which was fabulous! Lots of networking and seminar-attending ?

The London Book Fair 2015, 'Making Words Go Further'

The London Book Fair 2015, ‘Making Words Go Further’

We’re also preparing for a Whimsy Wood book signing event at The Madhatter’s Book Shop in Burford, on Saturday May the 2nd! This particular book shop is exceptionally unique….not only does it sell books, but hats as well! Posie Pixie in particular is hoping to find another jingling, tinkling bluebell hat, since her current one is getting rather worn! Please check out the link below for this exciting event!

On that note, I shall bid you farewell and a wonderfully whimsical weekend!

 

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

Book Signing on May 2nd For The latest in the @WhimsyWood Series By Children’s Author Sarah Hill

The ‘Snowball Effect’

Things certainly seem to be ‘hotting up’ for my Whimsy Wood children’s series and I! Perhaps it’s the excitement of Spring which is certainly upon us! Hurray! But without a shadow of a doubt, there is a definite buzz brewing about my woodland-based books and the ‘snowball’ of Whimsy Wood is growing and growing, as it’s whimsical wheels roll round and around!

Last Friday, I was privileged to be invited to Mawsley Community Primary School up in Northamptonshire. They had requested a virtual author visit and this was my first! I met the 2 winners from their ‘Extreme Reading’ competition, which the school had held during World Book Week earlier this month. These two charming children wanted to ask me lots of questions about being an author and I let them in on a few ‘Whimsy Wood’ secrets too!! All in all it was a delightful experience ?

Earlier this week, I was astounded to receive another 5 Star Award from Readers’ Favourite over in America! This time the award was for my 3rd Whimsy Wood book ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’! Here it is below with its new front cover, proudly showing the award!

The new front cover for 'Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic' with its 5 star award!

The new front cover for ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’ with its 5 star award!

Finally, I’m thrilled to confirm that The Madhatter Book Shop in Burford, the heart of the Cotswolds, will be hosting a book signing event for my Whimsy Wood Series and I! This will be on Saturday May the 2nd (the Saturday of the 1st May bank holiday!) from 2.30pm. So do come along to this entirely unique bookstore, as not only do they sell books, but hats as well!! Posie Pixie is desperately hoping they might have a new jingling, tinkling bluebell hat for her!!

The folk of Whimsy Wood have been busying themselves too this week, as they are planning their usual eggstr-special Easter Egg hunt around the wood! This takes a lot of precision planning and cunning, as the eggs need to be hidden while all the baby woodland creatures (Mr and Mrs Dusty the dormice’s 6 little ones for example!) are asleep! I will tell you more about their egg-citing Easter Egg hunt next week!

For now, I will of course bid you a wonderfully whimsical early weekend (nearly there folks!!) ?

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