Monday, December 23, 2013

Do NOT bring your grumpy face to Christmas.....

Quote of the day:
        "Christmas is the day that holds all the others together."   
                                      ~Alexander Smith

Title: Grumpy Badger's Christmas
Author:  Paul Bright
Illustrator:  Jane Chapman

What's inside?
Badger is not amused with all the hustle and bustle surrounding Christmas.  He makes it very clear to his fellow animal friends that he just wants to be left alone and hibernate in peace...uninterrupted...everyone stay away...period.  He goes into his house and slams the door shut, checks out his winter stash of food, then satisfied, settles down for his long winter's nap.  But things don't go exactly as he plans. With many disruptions and annoyances he discovers that maybe his sleep may have to be postponed for this winter. He tries to ignore all the distractions at first that cause him to get grumpier and grumpier. Then an urgent request reaches him that makes him unable to settle back down and journey back into slumberland.  He opens his eyes wide, jumps out of bed and runs to help a friend who is in desperate need of him.  He discovers a true Christmas is getter to give than to receive.  He is so happy when he is recognized as a hero. He invites all of his friends inside his home, opens wide his cupboard doors, and spreads a festive feast fit for a king for everyone to enjoy.  I think he even amazes himself when he realizes how fun celebrating Christmas can be and he wants to make it a tradition for years to come.

About the author:

I originally trained as an engineer - which is rather unusual for a children's author - and spent many years working for companies making and using plastics, in England,SwitzerlandHolland, and, more recently,Spain. I used to make notes for stories when I was sitting in boring meetings, or travelling on trains and planes. Now we live in Kent and I spend a lot more time writing. I started writing stories for my children, when they were small, but it was a long time before I had anything accepted for publication. My children have now grown up and left home, so I've been working on my writing for a long, long time.

The first things I had published were poems - you might come across some of them in poetry anthologies for children. Here's one of my favourites (just to fill up the page!), you can find more on the My Poems page:

A tyrannosaur in Tesco's came stomping down the aisle,
Searching for the dental floss and practising his smile.
Did the stegosaur in Sainsbury's want a trolley or a basket?
No one knew, and no one really had the nerve to ask it.
A megalosaur in M&S was trying something frilly,
But checking in the mirror just to see if she looked silly.
The dinosaurs, all loaded down with boxes, bags and bits,
Then jumped into a taxi to take coffee at The Ritz

My first picture book, Under the Bed, was published in 2003. The second book, Quiet!was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award - in the end it didn't win the award, but I did get a Blue Peter badge and was on the telly for about 5 seconds. I write the words for my stories but other people do the illustrations, and I get to work with some wonderful illustrators.

I find that most of my ‘writing’ time is spent thinking – trying to think of words or phrases or rhymes. Quite often I’m thinking so hard I fall asleep! A picture book has to have a ‘shape’ – made up of rhyme or repetition of a phrase, or a pattern of words. Once I have worked out the ‘shape’ I can start filling in the text and the story. Maybe other writers have different processes, but that is what works for me.

Also I know, almost for certain, that the story I start writing will be very different from the final version – the first draft is never as good as I want it to be, so I change it over and over again, and sometimes file it away and come back to it weeks, months or even years later. I’m often asked how long it takes me to write a story – the answer is ‘anything from one week to ten years’!   

Happy Reading!

About the illustrator: 
 Jane Chapman is the best-selling illustrator of Bear Snores Onand Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson, as well as Mommy Mineby Tim Warnes, her husband. Jane and Tim live in rural southwest England with their son, Noah, and share a studio at home with views of the open countryside.

Book Review Rating:   9 (Close to perfection!)

Read on and read always!

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