The first in the series of short bedtime stories that will entertain children of nearly all ages starting at about 1 year old.  These stories are designed to be read out loud to the young ones, with explanations of what Spindle Sticks and Ballast Bum are doing on each page, with the reader asking questions of the listener.

 

Left, you see the front cover of Book 1.  You will notice that our names are not printed on the front cover… is it important?  We hope to find out soon!

 

At the moment, the books are in English language only and are likely to remain so for at least 12 months after publishing.

 

To help the story-teller and also the young listener to better understand the 'Bold' typed words, there is a short thesaurus or list of synonyms at the lower left of each page, offering alternative words to those used.

 

These books are all exactly the same length with the same number of illustrations, which have been created by a very talented young 16 year-old (now 17) Canadian school-girl artist… Julia Fawcett

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Book 2 examples a typical topic on what might be the most popular subject for little children to associate with, and that is water… static or particularly, if that water is from a flowing source, but unsupervised!

 

Our two subjects, namely, Spindle Sticks and Ballast Bum, are both embroiled in water stories and up to their necks in… well, better if you order a copy and then read it to your own little ones, and watch their interest wax as the stories unfold!

 

Garden Speedway describes, first Spindle Sticks dreaming of being a world-class racing driver, but very shortly after his demands to drink chocolate milk, his younger sibling decides that he has the right to usurp the toy car through cunning and guile!

 

Of course, it is nearly always Mummy (Mom) who closes down the day's activities, but often, the boys are ready for eating and then preparing for their beds, after a bedtime story!

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Early to Rise! talks about the children's day that starts with an early riser and a slow riser!  Naturally, Daddy is caught between them and has to leave for work.

 

Daddy's breakfast is procured to allow him to leave.  Then the boys… of course Spindle Sticks does not wish to eat much, if anything, but Ballast Bum has a secret!  He starts to… well… I cannot tell you what the secret is, without spoiling the story!  Let us say that Daddy will be very surprised when he learns of it!

 

Rescued at the Park! describes the start of the day's trip to the park.  Both boys are raring to go and play!

 

Not only do they go to the park, but Mummy has also packed a lovely picnic for everyone to enjoy the day outside.

 

Then the boys start to play on the swings and round-a-bouts, but something happens to make Mummy and Daddy very happy.  Read the story and find out what took place!

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This is the cover of the back of Book 1 showing the forthcoming books as they are completed and published, along with a photo of Julia and self as author and illustrator.  Books 5 and on will have us on the front cover as well.

 

Books 1 and 2 are already published in 2017  and will be available for sale very shortly with a global rollout!  There might be a couple of small changes on the finished covers, but basically, what you see is what you will get.

 

Left you see the back cover of Book 2, which was published December 2017.  Both 1 and 2 have, in fact, already been published.  All books are available in 'Paperback' which is a very strong sort of flexible polymer cover that is more child-resistant than actual paper!

 

It is expected that hard or firm polymer cover versions will be made available as the publisher decides to carry the books and provide book shops with firm and hard cover books!

 

Book 3 and Book 4 are now published and are already for sale in Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com in both softcover and very shortly, ebooks.  Keep your eyes open!

 

ISBN is supplied the publisher.

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Here is an example of the page layout, in Book 2, along with the mini dictionary-cum-thesaurus or synonyms, "Words to Learn… but you might know them already!" to help little children see other words that can also mean the same, or have a close or similar meaning to a difficult or unusual word used in the text.

 

Many times, adults tend to use words without thinking and the child is at a loss to understand what has been meant.  Many children hesitate to ask whilst a story is being read out, but forget to ask upon completion of the story.  In my books, the children are challenged, by suggesting that they might know the word, but if not, then they can see alternative words that they might also have heard or they know!

 

It is a good learning exercise that is not like 'official' learning, because little ones enjoy the stories!  It is a great experience.  If you are a parent who has gone through child-rearing, you might well have experienced the thrill as they learn and gain… I know I did, but what is even more pleasing and gratifying is seeing those children teach their own kids the same way!  Wow! What a treat!  Both my girls honour my methods of teaching.

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Here, in a different story, Book 2, "Garden Speedway!" Ballast Bum is realising that his elder brother has started playing in the plastic car, so he HAS to play in it too, because whatever Spindle Sticks does, Ballast Bum MUST do the same!  Don't forget that all these stories are real in that each story was first, observed by me or directly related to me by their Mum and Dad! Many of their escapades, I was an eyewitness to, which made it all the more fun to write about them.

 

I am, actually, quite proud of the fact that when the two boys were read these stories by Zhanna, their mother, they actually responded to the sentence at the end of each story, which says, "The End.  Now its time for you to go to sleep!"  And they actually did!

 

 Children love to associate with fun and happy stories, regardless of whether there is a little sadness or upset.  They look for the 'happy ending' of the story and sigh with pleasure when it occurs.  These books are no different.

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What has happened here is poor Spindle Sticks has forgotten that the pond has deep water in it and he played too close to the edge.  The text is self-explanatory.

 

The illustrations are wonderful, as they not only portray the basic position of a child playing, but 'real life' facial expressions and attitudes, which Julia has captured in marvellous detail!

 

Her drawings are softer than most modern 'computer generated' characters and are 'warmer' and more real to very young children.

 

My stories would never have been as funny without Julia's illustrations, for which I am very thankful.   Just a word about the text styling… I found that it is more fun for little readers to find the words on a page when they are not in a contiguous or chronological order in terms of physical placement!  I have placed text round many of the illustrations to help reinforce the content of the illustration itself.

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A subject that always seems dramatic is "Bathtime!"  To adults, it is the last ritual of the day, generally speaking, not a long process before Mummies and Daddies climb into their beds often 'jiggered' after harassing times at the office or terrible homeward bound traffic, etc.

 

To older children and teenagers, it is a quick lick… possibly clean their teeth and then into bed!

 

With very little ones, it is the time to start playing with their toys!  Rubber duckies, toy ships, mechanical sharks and all sorts of other devices that prevent any child from understanding that washing time has arrived.  Reading here might well remind you of your own earlier years, or be a parallel with what you might be experiencing now!

 

Story 2 describes the antics of many small children (usually boys) as they loose their locks for the first time at a hairdresser's or Barber's shop!  Here we see what happens when our two go for their 'shearing' trip!

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From Book 3, we see what Mummy has decided to pack for lunch as the family goes for a picnic to the local park with both boys.

 

Of course, picnics (styled like the basket shown here) are becoming a thing of the past, because of all the fast food joints springing up like mushrooms on a damp, early summer's day!

 

When I was a youngster, we might have been able to have as many as 4 picnics in one year!  There were no fast-food places, and, if we went into the country-side, there were no tea stalls or trailers that would sell cups of tea or soft drinks… coffee was almost unheard of in the early fifties!  Coffee was an American thing!

 

The one good thing was that nearly all picnics were more healthy and better for the children than any store-bought snacks or meals and Mummy could keep an eye on the children to make sure they ate what they were supposed to, far more so than today!

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This illustration at left, is from Book 4 and Story 2. As I mentioned above, it often (but not always) takes a few visits to the barber's to have young boys become acclimatised to the fact of losing hair… all over the floor and lost forever!

 

The antics of these two brothers were very cleverly executed until the big, bad, barber managed to beat the boy's minds and succeeded in cutting their hair according to Mum's and Dad's wishes!

 

In order to find out exactly what did happen, you will have to buy your own copy and then you'll be able to read it out to your own children, if you have any, or perhaps you are a grandparent and want to babysit your grandchildren, while giving your sons and daughters 'time off' once in a while!


AudioBooks

Increasing numbers of published books are offering audiobooks for the vision impaired or simply for expediency in carrying a number of books in one electronic device.

Spindle Sticks and Ballast Bum's adventures will all be captured on audiobooks for those who would like to have distinct, slow, clearly pronounced English language by the author, who knows exactly the intonation required, as he wrote the stories!  These audiobooks will be released before summer.

 

Audiobooks are also a very good alternative for blind people, providing a good story with reasonable mental images.