Friday, September 30, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

The Magic of Nature
I've always felt that like a good novel needs sensational settings, colorful characters, and a poignant plot, so too, does a writer need those items in her own life for inspiration.

We've had a lovely autumn in the Pacific Northwest so far. The trees, fields, and waterways around our common property always offer me an abundance of inspiration, but this September the weather has been extraordinary. The dappled autumn light has danced upon the ponds and creeks causing me to feel as though I live in a fairy tale. 

Since all my stories for children feature scenes filled with trees and wildlife, living in this rural area of Washington State has become not only the perfect place for me to receive inspiration, but to find solace from the chaos of the world. There is a magic in nature, after all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Mangata (n.)
the reflection of the moon on the water.
Example: The harvest moon's mangata illuminated the Highland loch.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

The Antlered Ship
by Dashka Slater 
illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Flap Copy Description:
When an antlered ship arrives in the harbor, an inquisitive fox joins a flock of courageous pigeons and a herd of hungry deer on a quest for adventure, tasty grass, and the answers to some of life's most mysterious questions.

My Thoughts:
The Antlered Ship is one of the most imaginative picture books I've read in quite some time. Couple that with the award-winning talents of illustrators The Fan Brothers, and this extraordinary adventure story is sure to delight all young readers. I highly recommend The Antlered Ship for children aged four to ten!

Click here to learn about the author, Dashka Slater.
Click here to learn about The Fan Brothers.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

The End of an Era?

While I'm a true-blue American, I have strong ties to Europe, since three of the four branches of my family immigrated to the U.S. in the early part of the twentieth century: one from England, one from Norway, and one from France, by way of Italy. (The fourth had emigrated from England the first part of the eighteenth century.)
My Norwegian grandmother told me stories of how she sent care packages to her relatives living in Norway during World War II.

I've always had strong ties to my Norwegian roots, as well as to those from France. However, since both my father and mother were/are half English, I'm half English too. So, when Queen Elizabeth II passed away earlier this month, I found myself mourning Her Majesty. Call me old fashioned, but her dignity, sense of duty, and commitment to service, were traits I always admired.

During the days leading up to her funeral, the television coverage in the U.S. was blanketed with all sorts of bits of history and fascinating stories about the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II. Many commentators used the phrase: "It's the end of an era." For some reason that bothered me. While I know they were referring to her death, and the end of her historic reign, I reflected on the impact her dignity, duty, and service had had on the U.K., and really on the entire world. By all accounts, every single world leader would have been anxious to meet Her Majesty - maybe more than any other person on earth.

Why is that? 

I believe it's because of her commitment to serving her country in as non-biased a manner as humanly possible. Consequently, she was not only a Royal in title, but a Royal in her behavior. I'm sure it wasn't easy for her. It was a sacrifice, in so many ways. She was a peacemaker. And when she made a mistake, she always humbled herself and tried to make it right - even though she was the Queen of England.

Is it the end of an era of decency?

While Queen Elizabeth II is sadly now gone, her example lives on. How would our world change for the better if each of us vowed to do our best to be peacemakers - and to be people of service?

As an author of books for young readers, I enjoy challenging children to be all they can be - to shoot for the stars. However, it's important that we also remind children of those timeless characteristics of dignity, truth, and honor. There are too many voices of dishonor in our world right now. After all, our children will author the future of our planet.

While it's the end of the era of Queen Elizabeth II, may it never be the end of an era of decency. Keep calm and carry on.

By artist, Eleanor Tomlinson

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Susurration - (n.)
voiceless whispering, murmuring, or rustling.
Example: The susurration of the September leaves announced the arrival of autumn.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Queen Elizabeth
A Platinum Jubilee Celebration
by DK Publishing

Goodreads Description:
An official Platinum Jubilee souvenir that explores the incredible life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth and how her historic reign has shaped the world.

In honour of Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee 2022, this once in a lifetime history book for kids tells the story of a young princess who grew up to become our longest reigning monarch, and celebrates the achievements, people and places that have become part of her remarkable legacy.

Delightfully playful illustrations, exciting facts, and information sidebars fill every page to tell the full story of the world's most beloved and inspiring monarch. 

Inside this beautifully illustrated history book for children, you will find everything from the Crown to the Corgis detailed here, including:

- An exclusive quiz poster
- A timeline of the histories of the four UK nations
- The story of the Queen's dedication to her country from wartime service during World War II to fundraising and commitments to the Commonwealth and wider world.
- A timeline of the extraordinary events in history, as well as the incredible achievements of people from the UK and Commonwealth countries that have taken place during the Queen's lifetime.
- A celebration of the amazing people the Queen has recognized.

My Thoughts:
In honor of the funeral today of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, I am reviewing this extraordinary book for children. May the remarkable Monarch rest in peace.

While this recently released book was written with children of the UK as its audience, I found it to be an informative, inspiring, and fascinating title for children around the world. DK Publishing brought together educators and historians from around the UK to collaborate and compose the ultimate guide for children. They worked closely with the Royal Collection Trust at every stage of the book's creation.
I highly recommend Queen Elizabeth - A Platinum Jubilee Celebration for children aged seven to twelve.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

The Arrival of Autumn

After a challenging summer for me personally, it feels good to look forward to cozy days hunkered down in my favorite chair - with a good book and a cup of coffee! 

Beginning a new project brings back memories of school days; I'll commence drafting Book II of my Livvi Biddle Series very soon.

Click here to read my recent quarterly newsletter for more updates!

Wishing each of you an awesome autumn!

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Synchronicity - (n.)
the mysterious occurrence of simultaneous events which appear significantly related but have no discernable connection. Example: There was a synchronicity in the student's encounters with subjects related to dead authors...within a short period of time.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
by Kenard Pak

Flap Copy Description:
As trees sway in the cool breeze, blue jays head south, and leaves change colors, everyone knows - autumn is on its way!
Join a young girl as she takes a walk through the forest and town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with every flower and creature and gust of wind, she says goodbye to summer and welcomes autumn.

My Thoughts:
What drew me to this lovely picture book was the glorious cover colors - the art is just exquisite! The text reveals the changes the book's young protagonist experiences as summer transitions into fall. This book is perfect for young readers right now. I highly recommend Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn to children aged four to seven!

Click here to learn about the author/illustrator, Kenard Pak.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Storyteller's Journey

My Summer of '22

Over the years Writ of Whimsy has become an important element in my storyteller's journey; it feels good to be back sharing my writerly thoughts, as well as a few personal tidbits.

While my summer included some challenging events - like a two-week bout of Covid, a scary spider bite, and the passing of Michael's 97-year-old grandmother - there were positive experiences as well.

The middle of June, I celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II with my cousins Jill and Jane, at a local British tea house. We were there a bit after the date of the actual Jubilee, but it was just as well, since the place was packed earlier in the month. It's a rare event when we're all together, so it was a special day for me. It was such a blessing for them to travel from the Puget Sound area down to see me. 
After the writing of this, Queen Elizabeth II passed away yesterday; may Her Majesty rest in peace.

There were other get-togethers with friends and family as well.
The photo on the left was taken in the backyard of some dear friends during a birthday party. Our son Kevin spent the summer with us, which offered great conversations about life, literature, and near-death experiences! (Maybe I'll explain at a future date.) Reading a manuscript for a friend - and working on my own work in progress - also kept me busy.

Michael and I celebrated our 24th anniversary by spending time along the Columbia River at a special spot. While Michael painted, I read and took photographs. We finished our day with dinner & drinks at the nearby restaurant. Lots of fun!

While the presence of the numerous black-tailed deer is no longer a surprise, we still marvel at how blessed we are to have them in our lives. We have even become familiar with individual deer and recognize one from the other. 

Wishing you a fantastic fall season! Remember to read a good book!

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Whimsical Word of the Week

Oubliette - (noun)
a secret dungeon with access only through a trapdoor in its ceiling.
Example: The author's protagonist unfortunately found herself at the bottom of an oubliette.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Bibliophile's Corner

The Art of Reading
An illustrated History of Books in Paint
by Jamie Camplin and 
Maria Ranauro

Flap Copy Description:
For art and book lovers alike, this beautifully illustrated volume explores the relationship between books, the artist, and Western painting from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries.
"Why do artists love books?" This volume takes that tantalizingly simple question as a starting point to reveal centuries of symbiosis between the visual and literary arts. First looking at the development of printed books and the simultaneous emergence of the modern figure of the artist, The Art of Reading appraises works by the many great masters who took inspiration from the printed word. Bringing together more than 150 paintings that include books as part of their subject matter, this lively and companionable survey examines how the book became the single most ubiquitous feature of our cultural lives and, in large measure, of everyday existence.
Authors Jamie Camplin and Maria Ranauro weave together an engaging cultural history that probes the ways in which books and paintings represent a key to understanding ourselves and the past. Paintings contain a world of information about religion, class, gender, and power, but they also reveal details of everyday life often lost in history texts - and all the more so when books are depicted. Such artworks show us not only how books have been used and valued over time, but also how the significance and practice of reading have evolved in Western society.

My Thoughts:
Let me first say that if you follow my blog at all, you know that I primarily review books for children; however, since The Art of Reading has become one of my all-time favorite books, I just had to feature it as my first review of fall. Every lover of books, art, or both, must have this new tome in their library. While it takes an in-depth view of its subject matter, this recently released volume is a delight to read. (On a side note, the beautiful presentation of this book makes it the perfect gift for your favorite bibliophile!)