• Wycoller Scarecrow

Beastliness to Magicality


First Publication

When Jackie and I were working at Oldham Sixth Form College, we had a one-hour car journey each way every weekday. One of the ways in which we passed the time was to dream up rhyming couplets about animals eating. What else?!


I came up with the first one:

Harold the penguin ate too many fish;

That’s why his mother gave him a much smaller dish.


It is probably the simplest of them all but has proved to be very popular with five-year-olds! After this 'launch', we entered into a kind of collaborative rivalry, determined to create one couplet for every letter of the alphabet. Along the way, Jackie came up with the irresistible title of 'Beastly Bites'. Lacking even a trace of artistic talent, we were very fortunate to find Kim Gay to produce a dazzling array of illustrations.


The book was published in 2001, along with an extensive set of Teachers' Notes, which we had developed with local primary teachers and trialled with their first and second year children. Both books and classes proved to be very popular.


It was fun; it was challenging; it worked; it gave us insights into a different sector of the education system. It was also the start of my new 'career' in writing. More to follow over the next week or so!


All images and texts are subject to copyright 2018

#nicoladennisart #johneames #childrensliterature #childrensbooks #childrenspoetry #childrensauthor #bookillustrator #newwriting

#beastlybites #childrenshumour #primaryenglish #primaryliteracy

#gawthorpehall #fairies #fairystories #ediththemouse #trawdenforestfairies


#magicmakers #myths #butterflymagician #butterflies


#scarecrows #shadows

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