Archives for posts with tag: circus

rainbow puffin

After receiving 48 lovely letters inviting me to visit their school, I had a wonderful day with the P2 children at St Matthew’s Primary in Bishopbriggs. From the moment I arrived I was surrounded by eager faces, and their teachers Mrs Hannah and Miss Lochhead were warm and welcoming. I felt like a pop star!

Once I was in my chair-of-honour and the children were all sitting around me, Mrs Hannah picked up her guitar and led them in a spirited sing-song about the circus! They all sang gustily about The Girl on the Flying Trapeze and The Funny Circus Clown, and I was very impressed indeed. They sang beautifully and Mrs Hannah was a real expert on the guitar! Next to us on one wall was a huge audience made up of very individual characters:

Circus audience

When the songs were done, all eyes turned to me. I had brought several of my picture books to share with the children, and they had lots of questions for me as we went along. We talked about crazy pets and fussy eaters, and because they had spent so much time working with Lewis Clowns Around in class, they were especially keen to hear the new story all about Lewis’s brother, Harris the Hero.

Mrs Hannah showed me around her very colourful classroom, and I must say the children’s work was quite amazing! They had used Lewis Clowns Around to make circus programmes, circus drawings and circus poems, and they even had a Lewis counting wall!

circus programmes

The programmes were all very different, and inside they listed all the events happening at the circus and their starting times. I liked the way they were displayed on the wall at a jaunty angle. Very stylish!

Lewis counting wall

The Lewis counting wall helped the children learn the different combinations of numbers adding up to 5 or 7 or 9 and so on. The number 7 Lewis was juggling balls that read 0/7, 1/6, 2/5 and 3/4. What a clever way to make maths colourful and fun!

letter to Lynne

On another wall I spotted a letter addressed to me from Alyssa. It said, “Dear Lynne – If I was in the circus I would like to be a clown because they play tricks on people. Yours sincerely, Alyssa.” I thought she might like to keep the letter up on the wall at school rather than give it to me, so I took a picture of it instead.

Lewis reading corner

Later the children sat in their reading corner with copies of Lewis Clowns Around. You can see them all reading very intently! I think they all love the beautiful illustrations by Gabby Grant (and so do I!) I can’t wait for Harris the Hero to come out so I can send them a special signed copy.

Harris the Hero cover

At the end of my visit the class presented me with a big bag of goodies! They had looked on the About Me page on my website to find out more about the kinds of things I like. I happened to mention the fact that I love crunchy carrots, Bramley apple crumble and very dark chocolate. And look what they gave me!

thoughtful gift

Visiting St Matthew’s was an absolute joy, and I was so impressed by Mrs Hannah and all the P2 children. I hope they are reading this: THANK YOU, EVERYONE!

Lewis Clowns cover

Every once in a while I get a little reminder of why I have the best job in the world. Today I received three lovely packages in the post. The first two were addressed to Lynne Rickards (author) and were decorated all over with whimsical puffins. Inside I found 48 letters and 15 fantastic drawings from the P2 classes at St Matthew’s Primary School in Bishopbriggs! Their teacher Mrs Hannah explained in a note that they had been reading Lewis Clowns Around and using my Puffin Pack to learn all about the circus.

Lewis drawing

Here is one of the fabulous puffins the children drew on the outside of those two manilla envelopes. As you can see, there are some talented artists at St Matthew’s Primary! The children all wrote to tell me how much they enjoyed my book, and many of them asked me if I would come and visit their school. How can I possibly resist?

Grace's letter

All the children’s letters were beautifully illustrated with so much imagination! I was also very impressed with their handwriting, as they are all only six years old. They told me about their favourite part of the story (such as when Lewis flies up to rescue Karla koala at the top of the tent). I was very pleased to learn that not only is there a Lewis in the class, but there is also a Carla! She told me her favourite part was when she saw her name in the book.

Eran's puffin

Eran sent me this brilliant drawing of Lewis the clown, with his pompom buttons and colourful beak. I think it looks just like him. He’s clearly in a hurry, but he’d better watch where he’s going or he’ll trip over those big clown shoes!

Olivia's circus tent

Olivia decided to draw the stripy circus tent. She has cleverly remembered to add the ropes that hold the tent up, so it won’t fall over or fly off in the wind.

I sat for a long time looking at all the children’s letters and drawings, thinking how lucky I was to be a picture book author. Who else gets such wonderful surprises in the post? And then I remembered the third envelope. It was from my publisher, and inside was a copy of my new book, Harris the Hero. This story follows on from Lewis Clowns Around, and is all about Lewis’s brother who sets off on an adventure of his own.

Harris the Hero cover

This is another rhyming story and it’s beautifully illustrated by Gabby Grant. In the last book she had to draw all sorts of circus animals, from flying blue monkeys to balancing pandas, but this time she has drawn the many birds and animals that live on the east coast of Scotland. These include puffins, guillemots and seagulls that perch on the rocky cliffs.

birds on cliff

Gabby has also drawn seals, otters, dolphins, fish and one eider duck! All of these creatures come to Harris’s aid when he finds a little lost seal who is stuck in Anstruther Harbour. When Harris and the little seal start to struggle against giant waves, the other friends all come together to help bring the seal home again.

Harris and seal

I can’t wait to share my new book with all the children who have enjoyed Lewis Clowns Around, starting with the P2 pupils at St Matthew’s Primary School! I wonder if there’s a Harris in the class…

Harris in flight

On a very wet Thursday morning I made my way to the Kingdom of Fife, where a lovely bunch of children were waiting for me to read them stories. This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is on the theme of Circus Stars, so my book about a puffin who becomes a circus clown was perfect for the occasion!

I started at Kirkcaldy Library, where I read Lewis Clowns Around, Pink!, Jacob O’Reilly Wants a Pet and I Do Not Eat the Colour Green. My audience was very attentive and we had a great time!

While I was there I was delighted to meet Jacqueline, the little girl who sent me a great letter with a picture of her two pink penguins (see the entry below). She arrived with her big and little penguins as well as a new puffin toy that looked just like Lewis!

In the afternoon I went to Rothes Halls Library in Glenrothes and read all my stories to a new group of children. They all squashed onto a big colourful rug, and after I read Pink! everyone got up for a little break and had a penguin-waddle around the library! At the end we all had a special treat – chocolate biscuits and juice!

Thanks very much to Maggie Gray and Sharron Brown and her team who made me feel very welcome. It was lovely to meet everyone and I hope the children had as much fun as I did!

My new book, Lewis Clowns Around, will soon be published (on 22 September) and I am very pleased to be giving a small group of children a little sneak preview! On Thursday, 11 August I will be reading a special copy of the book at Kirkcaldy Library in the morning, and at Rothes Halls Library in Glenrothes in the afternoon.

I am especially looking forward to meeting one little girl who has written me a letter. Her name is Jacqueline and she is a keen reader, but I will let her speak for herself:

Jacqueline is a big fan of Pink! and she has two pink penguin toys that look just like Patrick. I do hope she likes Lewis just as much. Perhaps she can find a little puffin soft toy for her collection… Thank you, Jacqueline, for your lovely letter which made my day!

When I was on holiday recently in Norfolk I came across this clever sculpture of two puffins made of wood and metal. It looks just like Lewis and his brother Harris! I was very tempted to buy it, but it was a bit too expensive. Perhaps I can make my own sculpture, as I do enjoy making things.

I’ll write again soon to tell you all about my Lewis Launch in Fife. I’ll try and get some new pictures to show you. Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

The other day I received a Floris Books catalogue. To my delight, when I opened it up, this is what I saw!

Floris Books are based in Edinburgh and they are going to publish my next book, Lewis Clowns Around. It’s a rhyming story all about a puffin who doesn’t really fit in. One day he decides to leave the crashing waves and tall cliffs to try his luck in the circus!

Lewis is welcomed by the other circus animals and soon he’s working hard on flips and tumbles so he can be a brilliant circus clown. In this picture you can see him being hugged by Carla Koala and his brother Harris, and cheered by the Flying Blue Monkeys, the Balancing Pandas and Zorro the Highwire Cat. Circus life suits him perfectly!