Once again I wrote and illustrated four children’s books for Christmas presents. I always get carried away so seriously underestimate the time it takes. As usual, we were printing them the day before Christmas. But how wonderful to see their faces as they read about their own adventures.
Ben and the Ballista. What happens when Ben sets his time machine to get him back in time for tea at 5.00 …but gets his clock calibration slightly wrong…by nearly 2,000 years? He ends up in 50 AD, the year the Romans came to Worcester. So what do you say to an angry legionnaire who, bewildered by your modern garb, accuses you of being a spy? Only by helping them make a ballista can you save your life ….for now. But life in an army camp is not much fun. Can Ben escape, find his time machine, and evade the marauding wolves to get back in time for tea?
Molly and Victoria. Last year Molly saved the young Princess Elizabeth Tudor’s life, so when she finds herself in a Victorian school room, she is well prepared for her historical adventure. Or is she? While her new friend Victoria enjoys the freedom of climbing trees in Molly’s comfy unscuffable trainers, Molly must take her place with a new governess, learn to walk with books on her head, sew samplers, write with a quill pen without blotching, all the while being menaced by a swishing cane and the threat of having her mouth washed out with soap and water. And, how can playing the only piano piece she knows cause such an upset?
Barney and the Perilous Quest. Barney has read all the Greek myths so is well prepared when he enters the Minotaur’s labyrinth…or so he thinks. But narrow escapes from the sword of Damocles, the stony stare of Medusa, and the temptation of opening Pandora’s Box have him wondering if his quest is becoming too perilous. And why is this treasure chest filled with golden fruits …all with bite marks in them? And is that really the Minotaur he can see looming in the gloom?
Just George. George has never gone menacing before so is ill-equipped with the suitable catapulting and pea shooting weaponry. His new friend in the stripy jumper soon rectifies the situation, to George’s mixture of horror, fright and glee. But after a day of madcap mayhem, he is captured by a be-whiskered giant cowboy in search of cow pie, and has to confess his lack of expertise. Perhaps it’s his name. Everyone else has a name that tells you what to expect …menacing, perilling, minxing but Just George doesn’t strike the required amount of terror. Would a change of name help?