When I Was Little by David Stallard

A delightful tale of how a child can confuse language with meaning. David Stallard remembers his own confusion as a child and as a teacher teaching English to children in Asia he thought this book might help  little ones trying to figure out how our language works. With wonderful Illustrations by Poppy Shandler and published by Hares End Publishing. A line below to give some context…

When I was little I used to think an Angelfish lived in heaven…

Now I know Angelfish have fins that look like angel’s wings

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Sadly, David Stallard passed away a short time ago, but his book is still available here and on amazon.com

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New on Amazon and Kindle

Good news! The Night Visitors, Return to Lolibran and the Witch’s Lair and Out of the Frying Pan are now available on Amazon.com. Into the Fire is pending, but will soon be on the site.

Return to Lolibran and the Witch’s Lair and Out of the Frying Pan are available on Kindle Books. The Night Visitors and Into the Fire are also pending but will be ready buy or to download in a few days.

Christmas is coming, buy all four books in the series, your children will love you for it!

Available soon on Amazon Books and Kindle Books, When I Was Little, by David Stallard and illustrated by Poppy Shandler. This beautifully illustrated book is a delightful take on the way words can become visually confused in some children’s minds.

 

 

A MERRY FAERIE CHRISTMAS

A MERRY FAERIE CHRISTMAS
A Mrs. Bagge Story
by
Bernice Ramsdin-Firth

The year had turned and the season for giving and receiving had come round once again. Families were bustling up and down the street, Merry Christmasing each other or joining in groups to sing carols outside of malls and where ‘Sally Ann’ Santas plied their trade, soliciting funds for the poor from harrassed passers-by. Not Philomena Bagge’s favourite time of year.
Cursing the commercialism and those begging bearded buffoons, as she called them, she had given up on Christmas long ago. She was also a little envious. “I’m poor,” she would grumble, “ but nobody notices me!” Every year she did her best to keep clear of Christmas, shopping early in the morning to avoid the crowds and muttering “Humbug” to any storekeeper impertinent enough to wish her a Merry Christmas, even though Happy Holidays seems to have replaced it these days. Well, a skunk by any other name…. She even went so far as to turn off all the lights in her house (though not her precious TV) in a feeble protest against the lurid night time light show the season’s madness brought to her neighbourhood. And any child with nerve enough to carol outside her door was sent off with a flea in his ear. She was glad when it was over.
The Faerie in her attic, though, had come to appreciate this happy season. And while their beliefs differed from the Christian ones, let it not be said they lacked spirituality. Mother Nature, Gaia, was their deity and they worshipped her just as fiercely as any Christian believer. But they understood the message of peace behind the Christ child’s birth and rejoiced along with their human counterparts. They made gifts for their chlldren and for one another, and even brought a tiny tree into their attic, decorating it with fancy bows made from discarded Christmas wrapping and sprinkling it with fairy dust. A bright star sitting on its peak lit the whole room, to the delight of the children. In consequence, at this time of year there was always a slight glow in Mrs. Bagge’s attic window, in contrast to her dark house; enough to scare any child from approaching her door.
But this year, as the Faerie looked at their tables decorated with nuts and berries saved from the fall woods and gardens, flowers pinched from florist shops and their plates laden with last summer’s honey and pollen, (traded with bumble and honey bees in return for combing the lice out of their fur) they decided things would be different. They would somehow include “the Bagge Lady” in their festivities. But how? They loved Mrs. Bagge; they lived in her house (though she didn’t know it), they often ate her food (mostly milk and honey and jam), and she had provided the children with endless hours of harmless mischief. So what to do for their crabby landlady that would bring at least some pleasure to her? They could keep the children from plaguing her of course, not a popular idea with those small editions of their parents. They could make her a present, but what? What would a person who hated the world as much as Philomena Bagge like for a present? A suggestion was made—perhaps they could decorate her house with faery dust, and even provide some their favourite food. As they thought about it the Faerie became more enthused about the idea; yes, that would be just the thing, fairy dust, and cake, and music, yes, there must be music. Plans were laid and they set to work.
Christmas Eve came and when Mrs. Bagge climbed into bed the house outside suddenly lit up with a golden glow that picked out its best architectural features, (this was a difficult one for the Faerie, considering there were few to choose from). Because her blinds were closed she didn’t notice the light, but as she lay there she heard a beautiful sound, not exactly caroling but a sweet humming that swelled into a glorious Stabet Mater (musical ode to Mary, mother of Jesus). Getting up from her bed she looked out of her window, and on seeing the glow surrounding her house, feared it was all ablaze. Shouting “Fire!” she ran down the stairs and out the door. But look where she would, all was well, no fire to be found anywhere, just a magical glow. Mouth open, she stood staring up at this strange transformation until, chilled, she went back inside to find, to her surprise, every room hung with wreaths of fir and cedar and holly. In every corner sparkling lights glistened and on her dining room table sat artistically arranged walnuts and berries and colourful honey candies. In the centre with candles lit on either side, a tiny decorated pollen cake took pride of place on one of her best plates. Then another surprise—by the fireplace lay a present wrapped in fine tissue with a silver bow, and her name written in tiny letters. When she opened it a white toque and a pair of warm white gloves emerged, clipped and knitted from the fur of a purebred Samoyed dog that lived nearby.
Angry at first that her house had been invaded by some do-gooder, but also confused, Mrs. Bagge sat down before the gifts of food on her table. Tears suddenly welled into her eyes but she wiped them away, ashamed of her weakness. She stared around her uncertain of what to think. But as she tasted the honey candy and listened to the exquisite sound of the music, new feelings began to fill her soul. Then, sucking on the candy, though leaving her bounty otherwise untouched, she climbed back up to her bed and fell deeply asleep, as she once had as a young child, before life got in the way.
The next morning she was awakened by the sound of church bells, having slept better than she had for many a year, and for the first time she didn’t grumble about the noise. She put on her rabbit-eared slippers and best dressing gown before going downstairs, though she suspected the night before’s events were only an overindulgence of wine before bed. But no, there were the toque and gloves, the fir boughs and holly, the decorated table, and the goodies still waiting to be enjoyed. Staring at the bounty before her, she sighed. “Oh, what the heck,” she said and ate the whole lot, leaving the tasty little pollen cake to the last. When every bite was gone she lit a fire in the fireplace and wearing her new gloves and toque, she sat in her favourite chair and raised a glass of her best sherry to whoever had provided these wonderful things; (assuming, as she didn’t believe in Santa Claus, that it was probably someone from the ‘Sally Ann, though how they got into her locked house she didn’t know and never did discover.)
But let it not be said she wasn’t grateful for this largesse, for after that at Christmastime, wearing her white dog-fur hat and gloves, she would drop a penny or two into the pots of bearded Santas, who, like the proverbial postman, deliver their message in all kinds of weather—especially outside mall doors—ringing their urgent kindly bells.

Hornby Island

there is an island small and remote afloat in the Salish Sea an enchanted island inhabited by faerie and witches as alluring as Circe, tempter of Ulysses it will capture you if it can and keep you in its embrace beware do not go for if you do you will never want to leave but if leave you must prepare to leave your heart behind

there is an island
small and remote
afloat in the Salish Sea
an enchanted island
inhabited by faerie and witches
as alluring as Circe, tempter of Ulysses
it will capture you if it can
and keep you in its embrace
beware
do not go
for if you do you will never want to leave
but if leave you must
prepare
to leave your heart behind

New Stories

I have some new stories, silly stories my father told me and my sister when we were little. I call them Grandpa Bill Stories because when we grew up he told them to his grandchildren too. I have written them down as I remembered them (perhaps a little embellished), but I hope today’s children who read them will love them and laugh at them as I did. I am including in the book, or maybe in another book, some of my own silly stories under the name Grandma Bunny Stories. Look also for David Stallard’s delightful little book for the young folks called ‘When I was young’, wonderfully illustrated by Poppy Shandler. These will all be out in e-books as well as paperbacks.

Grandpa Bill Stories

How Sammy Snail Saved The Day

Sammy Snail—Champion rock lifter

Sammy Snail—Champion Rock Lifter

Heidi The Hot dog

The False Teeth Caper

How The Animals Got Their Fur Coats

Idle Thoughts On Why We Call Everything Joe

Grandma Bunny Stories

The Beetle’s Tale

How the Moon Got Into The Sky

The Runaway Sun (a long poem)

Two Fat Cats (a short poem)

A Merry Faerie Christmas

Other Side of Magic, Books 3 and 4

Out of the Frying Pan

Out of the Frying Pan

Exciting news for all you readers! Book three in the ‘Other Side of Magic’ series—’Out of the Frying Pan’, is on the shelves! Look for it here on my Website and in bookstores near you. Ask for it at the library or at your favourite bookstore. If they don’t have it, ask them to contact me.

Chapter One

Lyle was the first to open his eyes. Looking up he saw a light so brilliant he closed them again. He lay for a while trying to think of who he was and where he was, and then he dozed off again. As he was sliding deeper into sleep an odd chuffing sound interfered with his dreams, a sound he had not heard before and his eyes popped open again.

Now fully awake, he sat up, to find himself staring down the slope into the face of a large—a very large—grizzly bear. At Lyle’s movement the bear rose to his full height once more, the chuffing becoming a low growl. Lyle, in all his ten years, had never seen a live grizzly, only the ones in picture books. His hair stood straight up and skin prickling, he made ready to leap to his feet and run for his life. But on turning his head he saw Lynn, his twin sister, and Mr. Peter, and then Rob, lying unconscious amid the rocks—are they asleep? Beulah and Pugly are there, the dogs’ eyes tightly closed.

Where is Fé? No time to think about the cat; what to do?

The bear had dropped on all fours and is swinging its great head as it lopes toward them. Lyle crawled over to Mr. Peter and shook him. “Mr. Peter! Mr. Peter!” he whispered. “Wake up! Please wake up!” Groggily, Mr. Peter—Quebecois, naturalist explorer, friend and mentor to the children—opened his eyes. Everything is out of focus. He turned his head and sees Lyle pointing a shaky finger at the large brown blob coming toward them.

“Lie down Lyle, cover your head!” he whispered back. “You do not outrun the grizzly! Play dead, he may be only curious. Where is Lynn?” Seeing her lying, eyes closed, beside Lyle, he crawled to her and put himself between her and the bear, motioning for Lyle to get down behind him. He noticed something was missing from Lyle’s back, something important. What was it? Frowning, he hunkered down and cuddling the children, covered his head.

What was it? A chilling thought arose—there is another child…Robert! Where is Robert? Lifting himself he could see him lying nearby, but too far away to reach before the bear reached them. He covered Lynn with his body, prayed and waited, Lyle shivering beside him. A sharp bark made him lift his head again. Beulah, Mr. Peter’s big yellow lab, awakened by the smell of bear, was on her feet in an instant and barking furiously. Pugly also awoke to the racket, but being a small pug he could only stand beside Beulah and try to make his barks sound like a Great Dane.

The powerful bear odour was now only a few meters away…

Why not buy the book to find out what happens next?

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And now

Book Four—Into the Fire

Into the Fire

Last book of The Other side of Magic series

Chapter One

Consulting the car’s on-board map, Mr. Peter decided to take Highway Three, through Manning Park to Osoyoos and Trail and then head for the Crow’s Nest Pass. He had traveled across Canada before, many years before, though by train. It was the only way to travel in those early days. Roads were still pretty primitive and automobiles—except for the most expensive ones—hard on the bones. Later on he had enjoyed taking road journeys in his days as a naturalist-explorer, driving his old Bentley, before the Second World War once again interrupted that idyllic existence. Too old to join the army he went to France and joined the French resistance. Those were terrible times, nor had he expected to be involved in another war, least of all to come home with a witch on his tail; but now he hoped this trip wouldn’t be too eventful, except in a good way for the youngsters.

His stomach was beginning to rumble, and after all the excitement he was tired. He could see the boys in the rear view mirror nodding their heads and Lynn too was fighting to keep her eyes open. Finally leaving the city, the fields and farms of the Fraser Valley flew by.

“We will stop in Hope for the supper and the bed, eh, mes amis?”

“Oh yeah, Mr. Peter,” yawned Lyle, “I could sleep for a week!”

“Me too,” muttered Rob, though he wasn’t so sure about the week part. Solvieg, the name they would always know her by, or otherwise Evaline —evil twin sister to their friend and saviour, Elvira Pinkley—might catch up with them by then, even if she was a snake! Or she might change her shape and fool them again. He’d had more than enough of her, but he also had a sneaking feeling she wasn’t out of their lives quite yet. He didn’t mention this to the others, but if he’d done so he might have found they were feeling much the same way. The more space they put between them and Solvieg the better!

The mention of supper made them all hungry, and both they and the dogs needed to relieve themselves. Lynn had felt the restless stirrings of Fe’ when they left Vancouver. Now when food was mentioned he started up again. One would have thought he wouldn’t still want to fill his non-existent stomach! The signs for the town of Hope finally came into view and Mr. Peter turned off the highway, looking for a restaurant and motel. As they entered the town the young people pointed excitedly at the wonderfully carved wood sculptures of animals that adorned the main street.

“Can we get out and look at them, Mr. Peter?” asked Lynn. “They’re so beautiful!”

“Yeah, they’re really cool! Can we, Mr. Peter?” Lyle begged.

By this time Riquet had awakened. He peered out the window at the carvings, but all he could say was, “Ooooo!”

“Okay,” Mr. Peter replied, “but you four stay together, oui? See that restaurant down the street? I will go to look for the place to sleep and then meet you there in the few minute. But do not wander, I do not want to lose you before we even get start!” He let them and the dogs out of the car and went to look for a motel…

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Into the Fire

Bernice Ramsdin-Firth, Author

Bernice Ramsdin-Firth, Author

Last book of The Other side of Magic series

Last book of The Other side of Magic series

The last book in the Other Side of Magic Series—The Night Visitors, Return to Lolibran and The Witch’s Lair and Out of the Frying Pan—Into the Fire has been published. Those of you who have been enjoying the adventures of twins Lynn and Lyle, Mr. Peter and their animal companions, will be anxious to read Into the Fire.

Find out how, after Mr. Peter disappears, Lynn and Lyle, Rob and Riquet, manage to foil Solvieg, the cannibal witch. Her attempts to catch them sends them across Canada on a wild car chase, with Solvieg stealing one vehicle after another, even a train. It is a madcap adventure, with Mrs. Bagge, the twins former uncaring caregiver, coming back into the picture, plagued by the Faerie who had been left behind when the main group left for Lolibran to fight the war against Solvieg. After many adventures the exciting ending brings the series to a close. Or does it?

Below is an excerpt from a judge’s commentary on The Night Visitors.

Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards

In the Night Visitors, the author has an excellent sense of setting, and you can tell throughout that she has researched her subject. From the Faerie to the Gaelic writing to even the fantastical hints at the land beyond the rainbow, all the small details are accounted for, making the novel breathe with a sense of authenticity.The story structure is completely solid. I was drawn in from the inciting incident in chapter one and enjoyed so many of the descriptive and lively scenes throughout as the author ramped up the stakes and the intrigue. The dialogue is also rich. The characters each take on their own life by their unique variants of speech, which is a treasure to read in a novel for this age group.The author also did a stellar job of making the novel’s scenes move at a brisk pace. The ending is surprising and surely leads to another book as children will WANT to know what happens with Lyle and Lynn now that they’ve traveled through the rainbow.