‘Once a Creepy Crocodile’
Written by Peter Taylor
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft and includes a sing-along CD by Rusty Berther
Published by The Five Mile Press
Release date 1st July 2014
Dear Know-It-Al- Nanny,
I have a two-year-old who insists on hearing the same story and the same song over and over again. He demands ‘Cweepy Cwocodile’ at every waking moment. What is a parent to do?!
Dear Desperate Parent,
Grin and bear it, read and sing along!
Once a Creepy Crocodile is a fun story set in perfect rhyme and featuring a crazy cast of Australian animals and includes a sing-along CD.
What I love about Peter Taylor's Once a Creepy Crocodile is that it is full of scrumptious alliteration and internal and external rhyme and still tells a story. It slides off your tongue like butter melts over your hot pancakes.
The munchy, crunchy crispy ones that curl up underneath.
Then the snake licked his lips and looped a little lower ‘till …
And then there are Nina Rycroft’s illustrations which make this story sing even more. The gorgeous watercolour illustrations are fun, lively and just delicious!
I also like how the second song on the CD is the original version of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ exposing my children to a little bit of Australian history.
The suggested age for this book is upwards from 4 years old, but my easily excited, hard to focus, two-year-old is a big fan (as you may have guessed from the correspondence above). He usually loves any book involving diggers, trains or roaring dinosaurs, but this beautifully illustrated story with its cast of Australian animals hits the spot. He is also quite sensitive to lyrical language and beautiful rhyme, and Once a Creepy Crocodile, certainly delivers that.
I happened to be at the official book launch for Once a Creepy Crocodile in Sydney earlier this month. Imagine a room full of children’s writers and illustrators singing along to Once a Creepy Crocodile to the tune of Waltzing Matilda followed by a chorus of laughing Kookaburra imitations. It was a laugh!
In addition to this I am very lucky to share a writer’s group, Write Links, with Peter and was able to ask him some questions about his writing process and how this picture book story came about. Not only is he a wonderful writer, he is extremely generous with his time in sharing information with emerging writers and illustrators in our group.
To read the interview, please check out the Write Links website here.
You can buy Once A Creepy Crocodile from independent bookshop to major retailers.
Here is a short post to share my excitement with you.
Blast Off, Issue 7, by the lovely people at The School Magazine, will be going out to readers in July.
My short story, My Sister Ate My Science Project, can be found on page seven.
In itself that is pretty exciting already, after all, this will be my first ever story to be purchased and published. But then, I almost fell off my rather large and comfortable chair, when I discovered my story is illustrated on the cover by the talented Vivienne To.
It feels so satisfying to know that actual children will be reading something I wrote soon and just as exhilarating to see the story depicted visually. And now I know, ahhh, this is why I keep going at it in this crazy writing life.
About the issue:
Blast Off: Science simmers in this issue! There‘s a story about a science project that is eaten by … a little girl; an article about the science behind bubbles; an activity that will leave you blocking your ears; and an article about vehicles that drive themselves! The Book slice this month is a visual feast; it's all about life on earth. And of course, there's a play to perform.
More information about The School Magazine (from the 'About' page)
What is The School Magazine? It is Australia's most loved and longest-running literary magazine for children. For generations, it has been introducing young readers to a world of words.
The School Magazine has been published by the NSW Department of Education since 1916 and is currently part of the NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre within the Department of Education and Communities.
The secret of its enduring success is its quality and its ability to engage young readers.
A small in-house team compiles 40 magazines each and every year, drawing on the skills of the finest writers and illustrators in Australia and world-wide.
Today I have the pleasure of reviewing Bedtime Stories for Busy Mothers and interviewing the author, Caylie Jeffery.
I identify more than a little with ‘being one of those mothers, the harassed looking ones that never carry enough band-aids, as Caylie describes herself in the introduction and it can be quite cathartic recognising yourself in someone else life; realizing you are not the only mother that loves her children enormously but worries about not living up to being the perfect mother, struggling with guilt and trying to find a balance between parenting and being a person in your own right.
Caylie urges us ‘to take some time each night to rest, reflect and regroup’ by reading her stories. As an emerging children’s writer and illustrator and a busy mum, I only have so much time to read stories that are not for children, so this book with its short stories for adults was perfect! The stories were just the right length and packed full of goodness. Like taking a multivitamin for busy mums.
This book does not describe the agonies of middle class motherly woe. These are stories that inspire, stories that overwhelm with emotion, stories that frighten and stories that make you laugh.
Caylie and her husband made some life changing decisions after close encounters with tragedy and Caylie chooses to live her life consciously, reflecting on anything from the extraordinaire to the mundane.
My favourites are too many to list, but the opening story particularly has stayed with me (you really need to read it and experience the goosebumps and snotty tissues for yourself). Topics range from puppies to politics, from following your dreams and relationships to ... warts. Midwives, teachers, The Baby Artist, being an imperfect parent, libraries and writing and many more. But what all these stories have in common are heart, soul, humanity, frailty, courage, passion and love, and they made me giggle.
The book left me wanting more; more stories and more insights from a fascinating lady whose words flows on the page like a salve for the weary busy motherly soul.
Caylie’s book is being launched at Black Cat Books on Saturday the 10th of May at 10am.
And if you can't make it to the launch, you can get your copy here.
Interview with Caylie Jeffery author of Bedtime Stories for Busy Mothers
Please tell me you have more books like this planned?!
Yes, at the end of each year, I'll publish another Bedtime Story book for grownups, using the best stories I've published from the year before, possibly in e-book format to start with, and maybe one for Dads!
What was your road to getting this book published?
I have always loved to write, and used letters, journals and diaries to debrief about my life experiences. Blogging became another outlet after a Picture Book author suggested I get an audience and a platform before I started to submit stories to publishers. So just over a year ago, I started Distractions of a Busy Mother and realised that debriefing about imperfect parenting and describing positive experiences and inspirational events connected with a lot of people (mainly women between 30 and 60). My stories were read out on the radio and picked up by a few online magazines, and hey presto, I had a platform, an audience and a reason for writing. Now I can't stop.
I see wonder, beauty, pain and choices everywhere I look, and can't wait to get my fingers typing about so many different topics that might resonate with my readers. Because I was frightened off traditional publishing by a publisher who said they received 1000 manuscripts a day, I decided that life is too short to wait for someone to 'discover' me. So, I took the initiative, started my own publishing house (Mindful Matter Publications), found a great editor, printer and started learning everything I could about marketing. And here I am!
Can you share some tips for busy mothers?
Ha! I can offer some but I'd love to receive some in return!
I'm always looking for smarter ways to live and parent! But for what it's worth:
1. Be your true, authentic self. Your kids will know if you're trying to practice a new technique on them that you've read about in a book. If it doesn't come naturally, ask yourself why and then perhaps change the technique to suit your own style and voice
2. Those books next to your bed that tell you how to be a better parent can also sap your self-esteem. Perhaps get a blank journal and keep a record of all the things you do well as a mother, rather than beating yourself up about not being perfect. Just being aware of your developmental areas is a good start, and if you make a mistake, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and do it better next time.
3. Follow all the same advice you give your children!
4. Have your own hobbies that don't involve the kids or your partner and make time for them
5. Don't stop reading for pleasure... even if it's only 15 minutes a day... sit up in bed, don't lie down to read! Else, you're a goner!
6. Allow yourself down-time. Watch a DVD with the kids, or watch one of your own when they're watching theirs! No guilt!
7. My biggest tip: ask for help when you are snowed under. Start with your kids, then your partner, then your extended family, then your friends. They don't know what to do to help you. Be specific, give a time frame and then say thank you without the need to pay them back with gifts. Let them help you, as you will pay it forward when you can, I just know it.
What are you working on now?
Apart from the marketing and promotion planning for this book, I'm continuing to write weekly essays for various online publications. I am also doing the QWC's Year of the Edit to finish off my YA Manuscript, Salt.
This story is based on our real-life experiences in London during the 2005 terrorist attacks and the ensuing sailing adventure. The heroine is a 16 year old Australian teenager called Rosie who finds power at sea after the traumatic past she's had.
Thank you, Caylie. I am looking forward to more stories and hope to one day hold one of your picture books in my hands!
Caylie and I are both members of Write Links, the Brisbane children's writers group. For more information check out the website.
I was talking to two of my friends during our recent playgroup about our children's favorite picture books and how it can be difficult to decide which ones to get.
I have read around 650 picture books since the start of the year (yep, 650, you can check my Goodreads profile here) and have been obsessed with reading and writing picture books for a while, so, they felt that maybe I could come up with some suggestions.
Instead of sending them an email I decided to turn it into a blog post for the greater good of humankind (aren't I grand). And now they will have to read my blog, maybe even leave a comment. Thanks, Jo and Chantelle.
They were even coerced into an awful, I mean, awesome photo during our last playgroup session.
So here is my:
Totally Subjective Best Picture Book Buying Guide Before Christmas
We also talked about which picture books we find appealing as opposed to our kids.
It is interesting, no matter how much I try to push some of my favourite stories my children’s way, it just doesn't work.
Me: "Let's read 'Where the Wild Things Are"
Them: "Nope! Not that one!"
Not interested, ouch! It almost feels like a personal rebuke.
There are many reasons they do no like a particular book (yet) they may not be cognitively ready for a story like that, or it doesn't involve their favourite TV characters OR animal OR colour OR vehicle, and it may not appeal to their personality. Children can get really enamored by the same story for months, long after parents have tired of reading it.
So, my bedtime rule is, they can pick one or two stories each and so can I. That way they have discovered stories they wouldn't have picked out themselves but ended up really liking (or NOT), and they have satisfied their need for repetition and getting to know a favourite story intimately while discovering new things on subsequent readings.
A few notes to go with the list:
Independent Book Stores in Brisbane
Black Cat Books - Paddington
Avid Reader - West End
Riverbend Books & Teahouse - Bulimba
Mary Ryan's - Bulimba, New Farm, Milton, Toowoomba
Children's Writer and Illustrator