THE WORD ON THE .NET

Writer T. James' Exploration of Words, on the Internet.

Month: October 2011

News: Blog Re-Animation.

Having re-invented myself last week I thought it was time to tidy up the mess around the edges of my website and this ‘ere blog. If you notice things changing randomly as you read it is not the gremlins, I am editing the site right under your very nose! Live web-design! How exciting! OK, it isn’t but that’s what’s happening. Hopefully the new website will be up (eventually) and normal service will be resumed as soon as possible…

The management will not engage in discussions about financial refunds due to this temporary disruption. Unless you can produce the original contract, signed in dragon blood on the orc-skin scroll. So there.

Thank you.

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Cumberland Sausage, Steak’n’ale Pie: A Silly Poem.

A short poem, bemoaning the fact that some of the tastiest foods always seem to be the worst for you… :( Continue reading

When are you REALLY a writer, and not just a wannabe?

Everyone knows—to be a real writer you must have a beard , regardless of your sex.*

What does it mean, when you say “I’m a writer?” I can’t answer for you, but I was surprised that some wished to answer for me when I chose the title “aspiring writer” for myself eight months ago, and then decided to stick with it.

Continue reading

Dimples: A Poem.

Cheryl Cole: her dimples don’t seem to have held her back.*

For those who think their dimples are a terrible burden to bear, a deforming crease on an otherwise elegantly smooth cheek… Bear in mind that others may not see them in the same way…

Continue reading

Run-Over Frogs: Gross-Out Poetry.

After this poem came to me yesterday I was forced, after much introspection and self-examination, to come to the inescapable conclusion that I am, in fact, a 9-year-old boy trapped in a grown man’s body. Again, you have been warned…

 

Continue reading

Children’s Book Review: The World According To August, One Good Friend.

Book Information: 40 pages, Age 6+. Written by Sandra L. Westendorf, illustrations by Tracy Rand. Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

The story is based on a real boy, who has autism, and the trials and tribulations he faces at school, and particularly when he is asked to present a science project to his class. Like all of us he faces obstacles, craves friendship, and seeks to find acceptance from those around him. His story is told here, in a way that is accessible to children. Continue reading

Children’s Book Review: Mikolay and Julia Meet the Fairies.

 

BOOK Information: 38 pages, Age: 4+. Written by Magda Olchawska, illustrations by Joanna Gniady. For a free download of the ebook, click here.

Mikolay is a boy who, like a young Harry Potter, can do magic, but isn’t supposed to when he is out of school. Always driven to find an adventure, as he plays with his friend Julia he is irresistibly drawn by the voices in the wardrobe. Reluctantly Julia agrees to investigate, and inside they find fairies, who are hiding in there from a monster which is destroying everything in their homeland. There is no way they can ask their Moms, the witches, to help, so using a crystal ball they travel to the fairies’ homeland to try to get rid of the monster.

Once there they find the monster is a machine, driven by humans, set on destroying the forest for the resources they find there. There is only one choice, Mikolay will have to attempt some advanced magic to banish the humans, protect the fairies and the forest. Will he succeed? Will they get home safely? Will they be eaten by the guard dogs? I recommend reading this charming little adventure to find out…

I often feel the best reviewers of children’s books are children, so I decided to read this to my four-year old son to see what he made of it. Not long after the story started so did the questions. What are fairies wings like? Is Mikolay’s school like mine? Are fairies animals? Where do crystal balls come from? What do witches do? Why are the fairies in the wardrobe (before the story explains)?

These were just a few of the questions he asked, which tells me one thing… the story grabbed him, and held his interest to the end. The story flies from one imagining to the next quite quickly, and his imagination took flight along with it.

I wondered before reading if the story was a little old for him, and he didn’t respond to the environmental message it contained, but the characters, events and places really came alive for him. This was also helped by the colourful and stylised pictures, which he really liked, constantly asking to turn the page to see the next one.

"'I love fairies so much. I would so love to touch one,' whispered Julia in excitement when she saw that inside the wardrobe lots of fairies were hiding. 'You can touch me. But please do not touch my wings, they are very fragile,' replied one fairy. 'I’m Farina, the fairy queen,' she introduced herself."

 

"'Julia, Mikolay, look!' screamed Farina pointing her finger towards the lake from where a group of people with huge dogs emerged."

I think if my son was a little older then the ecological message central to the book, and the ‘Find Out’ family activity suggestions at the end would have got him thinking. As a bedtime story though, it thoroughly engaged him, and he wanted to read it again. My son approves, and a higher recommendation I cannot think of.

 

NOTE: All images and quotations were included with the kind permission of the author, Magda Olchawska, and remain © Copyright of Mayan Books, 2010.

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