Saturday 9 March 2024

Book Review MADE FOR US Polly Owen & Daniel Duncan

I’m in a SCBWI group with the author of this new book, and she sent me a copy to review. I was interested in seeing it because I’ve been working with adults who have learning and other disabilities and have been considering issues such as accessibility. 

This builds on my connection with Sweet Cherry Publishing who recently launched a more accessible imprint, Every cherry. It made me wonder if MADE FOR US also comes in other forms like simplified text, symbols or audio, especially as the three characters that we meet in the book are shown listening to audiobooks. 

This book was surprising because I didn’t realise that everyday inventions that help me do things better were actually created to make life easier for someone with a disability. For example, typing, to assist a blind person to communicate by letter, and touch screens because typing can be difficult for some people. I benefit every day from these inventions. 

I like the way that the objects and the inventors were drawn. They felt friendly and kind. The three main characters were more cartoon style and they helped make the book look fun. 

I am a volunteer School reader and lots of my year three readers bring non fiction books to me. I think they would really like this one. It’s by Oxford University Press and has a reading level of 11 to help you choose. 

Saturday 2 March 2024


Dorchester Susie has captured more than a few hearts since her arrival in the town. When I discovered her I offered to design a postcard to raise funds for a local charity and Feral Cat Care Dorset have been benefiting from this modest venture. I’ve also posted some of the cards on request, so this is an option if you live far


Susie started out by exploring Weymouth and even visited Portland so I wrote a story for #50preciouswords about her and created an illustration too. 

If you want to find out more about Susie pop along to her Facebook group, Susie’s Travels In Dorchester! 

Monday 9 October 2023

Little Mole Goes To School - book review

Great to see Little Mole again, in a third adventue. I should not have been worried that a book about 'starting school' might not have been different to others in the genre - it was!

I want his lunch box btw, it is fabulous! As are his shoes! we also get to see Little Mole at the start of autumn and not in winter as in previous stories.

So as well as back matter giving information on the animals featured in the story, and some good advice for nervous little people starting school, you have a third story about everyones favourite mole, how he coped with the things he was worried about, and a sweet celebrations of DIFFERENCES and WORKING TOGETHER.

We still love little mole - more please Sally and Glenys!

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Michael, the Amazing Mind Reading Sausage Dog!

I don’t just make plush from picture books of course, I love to recreate all kinds of kidlit characters. So meet Michael. And yes, I read the whole book before I made him. It’s as hilarious and delightful as the cover by Tim Budgen suggests. 

I decided to recreate a scene from chapter one when Michael meets Stanley Bog Dog, his part played by Daisy’s Ikea dog who is only ever referred to as Dog. The oak tree is played by my gorgeous Hawthorn, here when we moved in. 

Amazingly I got to share Michael’s book and his plush self with a local primary school I volunteer in. And then, attend the book launch in London the next day. Terrie let me do the big reveal while Tim snapped this photo of us. There were a few ooohs and aaahs I think, but I did feel a little out of my comfort zone! 

Tim signed my book too, and I can confirm from the conversations that BOOK 2 is well underway. Year four will be pleased, that was one of their questions. One extract and the whole class wanted a copy of book one. 

Terrie sent this picture. I’ll treasure it as well as the memory of how much Michael’s waistcoat sparkled under the lights. 

All the best book launches involve cake, did you know that? I managed to get one of these gorgeous cakes back to Weymouth for my lunch the following day. 

But back to plush Michael. I’ve now seen a class of children react to one of my pieces and it was really fun. I just know Terry is going to enjoy having him alongside her for future school visits and events. I think she really likes him. 

Monday 19 June 2023

Sad, sad bears …

I made five bears from a teenager’s jacket, and it was tough going. I shouldn’t have been doing it. It felt appropriate that the fabric was hard to work with. One bright, stunning Superdry coat. I’m glad the bears are loved. But I shouldn’t have had to to it. Memory bear making can be very grounding …

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Plush from books - Ellie!

A pair of paws balance on a book, while I needle sculpt their toes. This book is perfect for anyone who’s about to expand their family, or recently has. It’s relatable for anyone who ever suddenly found themselves a big sister or brother to be. As a three year old I can recall the chaos in the house starting the night my sister was born at home, and snippets of memories like tip-toeing past a pram, or the poo landing on the carpet, one nappy change! Oops! 

I was excited to receive an early copy of Since The Baby Came  by my good friend Kathleen Long Bostrom, and illustrated by Janet Samuel, because I knew I was going to be making a plush from this lovely story, told in poems. The family is adorable, and I’m sure my sister and I both identify with the children's gorgeous curly hair. However, I made their dog. 

This is Ellie. Can you see the E on her collar? The awesome publishers offered to include Kathleen’s dog, when they discovered the sad loss of the real life Ellie, and sent photographs to Janet. Just like in the story Ellie has a sweet tag on her collar with the letter E. I carefully embroidered this on thick felt. I also enjoyed making those expressive ears. 

Soon I will send plush Ellie across the pond, and I will miss her company. I like dogs a lot and I love that our protagonist has a faithful companion in every spread. There are 16 kinds of poems in the book, with helpful back-matter explaining and naming each kind. I usually do learn from each picture book I read, but there was a lot I didn’t know about poetry. Maybe I’ll write in rhyme for a change. Haha. 

Ellie dog is posing on a quilt I made in my 20s from an idea I had when I was 16. I shaded her ears with chalk and set them with a short spray of fixative. I think about the artist at work on the illustrations when I do things like this. Most of all I love Ellie’s toes and her gentle smile. She also has wired legs and tail so she can enjoy many author-visits and stand firm. I hope you enjoyed meeting her, I know I did. 

Thursday 18 May 2023

Goose, Goose Goose!

Well, they weren’t too keen on me but my friend Lesley has two lovely geese. While they complained about my presence in the garden, I took pictures for Mary. 

They sang me the song of their people, but they did not attack. 

Inspiration arrived in the form of a wee goose. She is button jointed with some especially appropriate buttons I picked up on sale, in town. 

Her beak and feet are camel coloured fleece - yes, Doug the camel coloured - and her feathers are white minky. And Mary, loves her. 

Honk! Honk!