Congratulations Valerie Turner! We have just published your first book: Johnny Depp Came To My Party.
This collection is a warm and very down-to-earth collection of ditties by a woman of a certain age. Valerie laughs in the face of her disability and old age, commenting on the ordinary moments that make the every-day unique. Her cat’s antics, daughter’s shopping habits, day trips, observations on frogs, sparrows, the fairy on the Christmas tree and even a neighbour delighting people with his pickles, are told in sing-song rhyme with a twist in perspective and humour that only a woman from the great British midlands could come up with! This is not London humour. It is lived-a-lot, suffered-a-lot humour that is not afraid to subtly laugh at itself and put the high-falutin firmly back in its place.
When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down.
One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.”
Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!”
I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I?
I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.”
Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray.
With love from Dr. Niamh,
Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com