What is the Most Horrible Illustrated Book Ever Written

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Any writer who doesn’t collect books is lacking in the tools of their trade in my opinion. No matter how many degrees you have, or how many times you can insert the words thus and henceforth into your manuscript, if you don’t read a whole lot you are missing in your writerly education. Seeing the words thus and henceforth would stop me reading anything by the way, but that could just be a personal weird quirk I suppose. Chuck Wendig thinks that reading The Lord of the Rings is tantamount to the worst kind of abuse with all the oldy worldy stuff, so I’m not in bad company. Loved the movies. Chuck is fabulous in general and in his honest originality – poop bits notwithstanding. I tend to avoid people who use words like that. Go away users of the word thus!  I have a huge collection of books. More than 3000 in my Amazon Cloud alone. The paperbacks that I have are all special though, given that space no longer allows for the piles I had previously accumulated.

I will beat old ladies with sticks at boot sales to lay my hands on a first edition of any sort of recipe book or children’s illustrated book. Among other ancient collections of receipts, as recipes used to be called, I have a first edition Mrs Beeton which is much loved. Apart from the dead parrot recipes and lark’s tongue bits, I love it. Lark’s tongues on the menu – seriously? They are rare (the books – and the lark’s tongues I expect) but finding a really old children’s book in good condition is a much rarer find. Children tend to be a little rough with their books, so they don’t tend to survive as long as recipe books. Looking in general at the children’s books that are most sought after online the other day – as you do, I opened a list of “the most horrible children’s books of all time” thinking that it might be good for a laugh. It was. Then I found lots of people listing The Giving Tree as the most horrible. I had to look.

I tried to read it with an open mind. Some people said that it was a lesson in selflessness. Others said that it had been banned in schools – or libraries – I forget – because it was sexist. I tried really hard to wear my “what we writers write is our business and if you don’t like it you can lump it hat” but I couldn’t keep it on. Adults can mostly see the truth for themselves, apart from those who still think that 50 Shades of Gray is still the best book ever – but children learn from books. In The Giving Tree, the tree loves the man so much that she is prepared to give him anything. He is not backward in coming forward with requests, and soon he has taken her apples, branches, and finally her whole trunk. The fact that the tree is a she and the human is a he might have some meaning, in which case, it is indeed sexist. Finally, the poor tree is left as a stump, and the final illustration in the book is of the man sitting on it.

The overall message I got from this book was that it is loving to be a doormat and take any abuse coming. It is loving to let someone take and take until there is nothing left of you, and then to finally disrespect that nothing by plonking his backside on it. On the other side of the issue, the lesson is – it is fine to take as much as you want from someone who loves you enough to be prepared to give it, no matter how big of a tool you are, and then – when they are all in – it is fine to sit on the bit of them that is left after your selfish depredations. A horrible book indeed.

A couple of years ago I wrote a children’s book (Winnow and Blooey)  – even got around to illustrating a few pages – about a little boy who learns how to respect and care for his badly neglected budgie from a fabulous wild canary after getting lost in the woods, and accidentally shrunk when he got hungry enough to eat a wild mushroom. Yes – I know – magic mushrooms are probably not the best subject for kiddies. When I really got around to thinking about it, I was so terrified about leading young minds in dodgy directions that I trashed it right away. Now I am very happy to illustrate for children’s authors who know what they are doing, but not at all ready to take the chance myself. Whoever published The Giving Tree hopefully meant it for adults, although what the actual message was still eludes me. Also – children like picture books if they can lay their hands on them – no matter who they were intended for, so it is generally dangerous to leave lying around. It has 2659 five star reviews on Amazon – over ninety percent loving readers, but so far, it is the first book, ever, that I have considered giving one star. That seems too much to me so I am going to give it my newly minted MINUS TEN STAR PANTS award. Hopefully it will teach the people who read it that it is a book about how not to behave – both as the tree and the human.



Award Time

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I was nominated for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award by the wonderful JccKeith. Check out her blog – I love her talent, and really clever and down to earth posts. Thank you Julie!


The Dragon’s Loyalty Award is an award for the loyal fan/commenter, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger, or just someone who follows and comments regularly.

The rules to fully accept the award are:

1. Display the award on your site – either on your award page or in your sidebar.
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award in your acceptance post.
3. Nominate 15 well-deserving bloggers for the award, and let them know by sending a message to their site.
4. List 7 interesting facts about yourself.

Seven Interesting Facts About Me:

1. I have an odd sense of humour, and regularly offend people unintentionally.
2. When I’m driving on my own, I play really loud music and sing along.
3. Elevators give me the willies.
4. I once saw a shiny thing zoom around the moon when I was floating in the pool at night, so….
5. I believe in ghosts – because they believe in me, and like to pop around and say BOO now and then.
6. If you wave a worm at me, I will run away.
7. I’m gorgeous.

Thanks to the beautiful inside and out Sherri Matthews for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

Thanks also to John W Howell for this award – the best kind of sister with muscly bits.


The Rules:

1. Provide a link to and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
2. Answer ten questions.
3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know they have been nominated.
5. Include the award logo within your blog post.

Ten questions to be answered:

1. Your favourite colour …. Blue
2. Your favourite animal … All feathered guys
3. Your favourite non-alcoholic drink …. Water
4. Facebook or Twitter ….. Twitter
5. Your favourite pattern ….. Umm…
6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? Both
7. Your favourite number … 7
8. Your favourite day of the week … Sunday
9. Your favourite flower …. Daisies
10. What is your passion? ….. Creating

Thank you to my blogger friend, and genuinely wonderful guy, Belsbror for The Imagine Award.


Thanks to the gorgeous D-Anna for the 2013 Blog of the Year Award.


Thank you to awesome author M T McGuire for the Super Sweet Blogging Award.


Here are the rules for accepting this award:

 Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you.
 Answer 5 Super Sweet questions.
 Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post.
 Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other deserving bloggers.
 Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog.

The 5 Super Sweet Questions:

Cookies or Cake? Cake

Favourite Sweet Treat? Truffles

When Do You Crave Sweet Things The Most? All day

Sweet Nick Name? Georgie – when I was VERY much younger.

A huge thank you to Mihran Kalaydjian for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Mihran’s blog is a fantastic variety of all of his talents, writer, poet, business man, and an outstanding musician.


and also for the Shine on Award.


1. Show appreciation of the blogger who nominated you, and link back to them in your post.
2. Add the award logo to your blog.
3. Share 7 things about yourself.

Thank you to Belsbror for The Award for Love and Kindness.


The Rules:
1. Share an act of kindness another blogger has done for you.
2. Thank the person who nominated you for the award, and link back to their blog
3. Nominate those bloggers whom you feel practice Kindness and Love — you choose how many!

I have had so many kind things done for me by blogger friends, that it wouldn’t be fair to name only one. Instead, I’ve nominated them for these awards.

Thanks to Sally Cronin
For the Sunshine Award. Check out her site – she really is a ray of sunshine.


Thank you to Belsbror for The Lighthouse Award and the Awesome Blossom Award. You’re awesome my friend!



Here are the rules for the Lighthouse Award:
1. Display the Award certificate on your blog.
2. Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
3. Inform your nominees of their award nominations
4. Share three ways that you like to help other people.
5. There is no limit to the number of people that you can nominate.
6. HAVE FUN!!!

I love helping people in most ways, and I always enjoy it.

And for the Shauny Award
The rules for the Shauny Award are as follows:
Show humanity, show love, be yourself, don’t be others, don’t gossip, and then share with 10 others.


I know that some of you may have award free blogs, so no need to worry to accept if you don’t fancy it. I just wanted to mention you anyway. My nominees for ALL of these awards are:

Sally Cronin

Sherri Mathews


The Story Reading Ape

Margaret Lynette Sharp

Mihran Kalaydjian

Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Charles Yallowitz

Janice Spina

M T McGuire

John W Howell

Style Salvation


The Final Curtain

Melanie Toye

Weaver Grace


Kevin Cooper

Lord David Prosser

Lots of Awards

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It’s award time. It’s time to thank some lovely bloggers and award some lovely bloggers. I do love awards. I’ve got some doubles and some bunches of awards so, so as not to strain your eyeballs I’m going to thank all the bloggers together. Huge thank yous to Billy Ray Chitwood, Donicia, John Howell, Katherine Vucicevic, Michelle, Glendon Perkins, Marian Allen, Jasveena Prabhagaran, Donicia, and JCCKeith. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone – I’ll do another award post later. Time to party!

I Am Part of the WordPress Family Award Rules.
Display the award logo on your blog (see above).
Link back to the person who nominated you (also see above!)
Nominate 10 others who have positively impacted your WordPress experience.
Don’t forget to let your WordPress family members know of your nomination.
That’s it! Just pick 10 people that have accepted you as a friend, and spread the love!

Awesome Blossom Award

First Best Moment Award

Inspiring Blogger Award


Semper Fidelus Award

The Versatile Blogger Award

Shine Award

Super Sweet Award

The Most Creative Blogger Award

The Liebster Award Rules
1. List eleven random facts about me.
2. Nominate eleven bloggers for the Liebster Blog Award.
3. Notify the bloggers.
4. Ask eleven questions the bloggers must answer upon receiving the nomination.
5. Answer the eleven questions you were asked when you were nominated.
6. Link back to the person who nominated you.


Eleven random facts about me:
1. I punched a man in the groin for beating a pony when I was six years old, and rode horses every day of my life till I fell off, hit a wall, and lost my nerve.
2. Bananas make my cheeks itch.
3. I sat on a wasp five minutes after being stung on the bum by a bee and got stung on the other side.
4. I watch documentaries about ghosts at night then can’t go to sleep.
5. I once got chased by a penguin in a bird sanctuary.
6. I love Brussels Sprouts in cheese sauce.
7. I eat condensed milk out of the tin with a spoon.
8. I want my own Playstation.
9. I used to ride a boyfriend’s big Moto Guzzi in ancient times.
10. I was taught to shoot as a child.
11. I buy too many high heeled boots.

My Answers to my Questions:
1. How long have you been blogging?
Two years – I think.
2. Why did you choose the topic(s) for your blog?
I don’t think I have a proper topic for my blog. Originally it was going to be a place to post “diary entries” for Christopher – a character in African Me & Satellite TV.
3. How do people find your blog?
I have no idea. LOL!
4. Do you feel comfortable promoting/advertising your own stuff?
No I definitely don’t. I keep expecting someone to point at me and yell “FAKE!”.
5. What’s your happiest earliest childhood memory?
My cousins and I being forced by my mother to row her around Zoo Lake like a reclining empress. She did this often, but it was always cool because she regularly fell overboard, jammy scone in hand.
6. If you could have any critter, real or imaginary, as a pet, what would it be?
A dragon would be cool.
7. What would you name it?
8. Why would a woodchuck chuck wood?
Because he’s aiming it at something?
9. Vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore?
Piscatarian. Is that right? I eat seafood.
10. What are you reading (not these questions, silly! what book?)?
I’ve got more than one read on the go right now, including Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals.
11. What is your superpower?
My love of animals and the Earth.

My Questions For My Chosen Bloggers:
1. When did you start blogging?
2. What was your hope for your blog to accomplish?
3. Do you read a lot of blog posts?
4. What was your best post ever?
5. What’s your favourite thing in the world to do?
6. Describe your pets and why they’re the cutest.
7. Who’s your favourite person in the world?
8. Do you have any hobbies?
9. Do you have any habits that you’d like to get rid of?
10. What do you like to read?
11. What would be your crowning achievement in life?

My nominees for ALL these awards (extra because I know that some of you already have most of them) follow. Your blogs are brilliant!

The Story Reading Ape
Dropped Pebbles
Glendon Perkins
Squid Mc Finnigan
I Hide My Chocolate
Kev’s Stuff
Kizzie Lee
Lawrence Grodecki
Lucy Pireel
Nest Expressed
Phil Davies
Robbie Robin’s Journey
Seamus Gallacher
White Wolf Moon
Ghost Talk Blog
Next You Universe
A Soldiers Wind
Marian Allen