When your Lion needs a Bath – review and lion pancakes (3)


My preschoolers and I have had such fun with these two books and I am so happy to be part of Susanna’s blog book tour!


Written by: Susanna Leonard Hill

Illustrated by: Daniel Wiseman

Published by Little Simon (Board Book Edition – 11 July 2017)

Ages: 2 – 4 years

When your Lion needs a Bath is laugh out loud funny! Lion is smelly and his little boy plots and schemes to get him in the bath! Once again Susanna has written this in very few words, with a charming twist at the end. It has perfectly balanced text with colourful and expressive illustrations by Daniel Wiseman. This book is excellent for sharing with little people! We loved it!

And…of course, as with When your Elephant has the Sniffles, I decided a fun food activity was the way to go to extend this book with the kids – they loved it!

Here is what we did…

We sat very quietly and watched my assistant Melanie making pancakes…yummy.


We chopped nectarines, pineapple and cherries.

We gave our lions fruit manes, cherry eyes and a whisker or two of red licorice …

then we stepped back and admired our creativity…


Finally, of course, we ate them for our snack! What fun!


Thanks for popping by and don’t forget to share this post using #whenyourbooks. Every time you post with #whenyourbooks you get an entry in the end-of-tour raffle for a Special Prize!


Alexandria LaFaye wants us to reminisce about our favourite candy…how can we refuse?


Author friend, Alexandria LaFaye, has set us a new writing challenge!

“Who is ready for some creativity calisthenics? Inspired by Kenvin Henkes genius book about the life of a marshmallow chick as a friend. Share a narrative poem or short story about a food who becomes a child’s friend. (100 words or less)”.

For more information visit her blog at http://alafaye.blogspot.ch/2017/03/feeling-creative-about-your-favorite.html 

I love these challenges and couldn’t resist putting together a little poem about growing up with my Grandad’s favourite sweets, as we call them in England. 

The humble jelly baby was first manufactured by Fryers of Lancashire who created them in 1864. They were supposed to be jelly bears, but the resulting sweets looked more like newborn infants and were subsequently given the ghoulish name, ‘Unclaimed Babies’. The invention was revived by Bassett’s of Sheffield, England who were responsible for mass producing jelly babies from 1918. These sweets are a British classic!

Happy reading everyone…



Jelly Babies.gif




Vivian Kirkfield’s #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge 2017


March 2nd is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known to young readers as Dr Seuss, and once again Vivian Kirkfield (www.viviankirkfield.com) is hosting a 50 precious words challenge!

The challenge is to write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count for the story is 50 or less. For more information pop over to Vivian’s website (https://viviankirkfield.com/2017/03/02/50preciouswords-writing-challenge-is-open/#comments)

This year I was inspired by a very noisy crow and his find…happy reading everyone!



(40 words)

Crow found a nut…
“My nut!” he cawed greedily.

Jay squawked loudly as crow flew over his tree.
Crow dropped the nut!

Jay caught the nut.
“My nut!” he squawked cheekily.

Squirrel bounced along the branch.
Jay dropped the nut!

Squirrel caught the nut.
“My nut!” he squeaked gleefully.

Woodpecker hammered!
Squirrel dropped the nut!

The nut
to the ground.

Pig walked under the tree.
“My nut!” he grunted and gobbled it up!


Thanks for stopping by. I’m off to read the other entries…good luck everyone!











Susanna Hill’s 6th Annual Holiday Contest


It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…! It’s Susanna Hill’s Annual Holiday Contest!

The contest: Write a children’s holiday story using the basic format/concept of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but it is not to exceed 300 words (excluding the title).

So without any further ado…here is my entry for 2016.


Robbin’ Robin (299 words)

by Julie Abery

On the first day of Christmas Red Robin came to me and asked for a house in the tree.

On the second day of Christmas Red Robin came to me and cheeped for a star which he hung at the top of the tree.

On the third day of Christmas Red Robin came to me and chirped for some lights to be twirled up the trunk of the tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas Red Robin came to me and pecked at a cookie, which he dunked in my nice cup of tea!

On the fifth day of Christmas Red Robin came to see what else was free ???

Cookies and tea

Twirling lights

Sparkle and shine from the star at the top of the tree! 

On the sixth day of Christmas Red Robin came to me and begged for my colour tv.

On the seventh day of Christmas Red Robin came to me, needing a chair to sit comfortably watching tv.

On the eighth day of Christmas Red Robin came to me, asking for speakers as the north wind’s a little noisy.

On the ninth day of Christmas Red Robin came to me, wanting my Playbox ’cause there’s nothing to watch on TV! 

On the tenth of Christmas my mummy said to me, “It’s very strange, but our house seems a little empty!” 

On the eleventh day of Christmas my daddy said to me “What’s going on? Because our stuff’s all up in the tree!” 

On the twelfth day of Christmas can you guess where I’ll be…?

I’m hiding out …

“What’s going on?”

“It’s very strange”

Wanting a Playbox

Asking for speakers

Needing a chair

Colour TV

What else is free?? 

Cookies and tea

Twirling lights

Sparkle and shine

…with the robin atop of the tree! 

Happy Holidays Everyone!


Susanna Hill’s 6th Annual Halloweensie Contest


The moment we have all been waiting for….THE HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!

The challenge is to write a 100 word Halloween story (title not included in the 100 words) using the words ghost, moon and spider.  More details can be found at https://susannahill.com/2016/10/10/and-now-the-moment-youve-all-been-waiting-for/

And now the moment of truth…will my Teensy-Weensy Witch get even this Halloween?

The wait is over…happy reading 🙂

Teensy-Weensy Witch Strikes Back! (99 words)

A pale moon trembled on Halloween night,

The teensy-weensy witch danced jiggles of delight.

Jumping on her broomstick, scooping up her cat,

Sammy spider poised on her pointy purple hat.

 “We need to fly faster” the giant spider cried.

“We need a rocket blaster” the teensy witch replied.

 “Quickly, send a sticky web spinning way up high,

Catch those ghosties unaware, flying through the sky!”

 “Nooooo” wailed the gooey ghosts wishing they had fled.

The witch and the spider gathered up the thread!

Tying a humungous bow, they hung them from the moon

“Next Halloween can’t come too soon!”

Thanks for stopping by 🙂



Susanna Hill’s 6th Annual Halloweensie Contest is BACK!



Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie Contest is BACK and so is my Teensy-Weensy Witch!

The task is to write a 100 word Halloween story (title not included in the 100 words)… using the words ghost, moon and spider, more details  can be found at https://susannahill.com/2016/10/10/and-now-the-moment-youve-all-been-waiting-for/

Last year my Teensy-Weensy Witch was unceremoniously dumped in a puddle with a rather large S-P-L-A-S-H…

The Teensy-Weensy Witch  (2015 entry)

On Halloween night: October thirty-one,

A teensy-weensy witch shrieked “Let’s have fun!”

She packed her tiny spell book in her pointy purple hat,

Put on her witch’s costume, grabbed her broomstick and her cat!

They left the tiny house in the thickening gloom

And zoomed in the air on her itsy-bitsy broom.

Out of the dark came a haunting “Whooooooo…

Watch out witches we’re after you!!!”

The witch gave a wobble; the broomstick took a crash,

Landing in a puddle with one ginormous splash!!!


Next Halloween I’ll get you back!”


…this year she is prepared and ready to get even with those pesky little ghosties!

See you soon for the next instalment…Teensy-Weensy Witch Strikes Back!


Lavender’s Blue


Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,

Lavender’s green.

When you are king, dilly dilly,

I will be queen.


With the sun in the sky and a tune in my head, we drove south towards La Mas de la Rivoire on the border of the Gard department in the Languedoc area of France.

photo 2

Sharing its border with the lavender fields of Provence and the Camargue, famed for flamingos, wild horses and bulls, Gard is happily situated in dramatic landscapes, it oozes vineyards and towns steeped in history.

Roman architecture has a strong presence here. Nimes amphitheatre and La Maison Carrée are beautifully preserved.

Nimesphoto 2

Hello arty photo opportunity….check out the cool reflection in my daughter’s sunglasses!


Le Pont du Gard is one of the best preserved Roman aqueducts in existence and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Swallows dance on the updrafts under the arches like tiny kites gliding on the breeze. The beautiful blue Gardon River welcomes families on its banks as they picnic and swim amongst the colourful kayaks that float serenely by.

pont de Garde



Further south on the coast is the stunning town of Aigues-Mortes that was built in the 13th century by Louis IX as a new port for France, until rising silt rendered it a ghost-town for many centuries. Today the surrounding salt marshes give the town one of its chief industries. Behind its four imposing stone walls, this medieval city houses a grid of tightly packed terraced cottages, bustling shops and a lively restaurant scene. Walk the ramparts for great views, if you have the courage to face the blistering heat!

Aigues Mortes


The lively town of Sommières was our evening haunt. Wednesday night ‘estivales’ or summer festival night market and wine tasting fills the town square to bursting with locals and tourists alike.

sommieres estivales

Friday night in Sommières sees the small bulls, indigenous to this region, run through the streets to the arena. The evening continues with local boys dodging bulls in mounds of soapy foam! During the interlude all the children race to play fully clothed in the foam until the bell rings to resume proceedings. The family atmosphere ensures the tradition passes on to the next generation!

bulls kids in foam

Climbing in the trees at ‘Roc le Masserau’, Parc Aventure in Sommières was a fun day out! Any adventure of this magnitude needs nick names! So, Tree Boy, Jungle Jim, Monkey Mark, Swinging Sarah, Lunging Lauren and Acrobat Annie walked for miles and never touched the ground once, thanks to a series of bridges, massive zip wires and tree-connecting obstacles! Oh, and did I mention they crossed rivers…four times?

lunging lauren


Did I join in?? Well no…someone had to take the photos!