Archives for posts with tag: fan mail

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

The other day I got a fantastic message from a lady who signed her letter, “Jacob O’Reilly’s Nana.” You can imagine how pleased I was to learn that there is a REAL Jacob O’Reilly out there who loves my book!

Thanks, Jacob O’Reilly’s Nana!

Jacob O’Reilly Wants a Pet is all about a little boy who is desperate for a pet of his own – just any pet at all. He asks his parents for one thing after another but they are not very keen on the idea. They think Jacob should try looking after animals before he gets his own pet. When he discovers what hard work it is, he might have second thoughts…

Here is Jacob with his giant list of possible pets. Some of his suggestions are pretty wacky! Would you like a dragon for a pet? Or an ant nest? Hmmm…

Jacob agrees to his parents’ idea of looking after other people’s pets, and puts a big sign outside his house: “Pet Sitter Jake at your service.” Soon his house is swamped with dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, sheep, a horse, a zebra and a rather big snake called Morris! He has a tough time feeding, cleaning and exercising them all, and after two weeks he is very glad when the owners all come back to collect them.

I love the illustrations by Lee Wildish which are so colourful and fun! He’s come up with all sorts of great pets for the endpapers, too. Here you can see a turtle, a little yellow dog, some dancing frogs, a rabbit, and my personal favourite, a mouse in a cheesy racing car!

I thought the real Jacob O’Reilly (and my other readers) might like to try some of the fun activities I have put together to go with this book. If you click on the images below you should be able to print them out at home.

© Lynne Rickards 2010

© Lynne Rickards 2010

© Lynne Rickards 2010

I think the real Jacob O’Reilly may need a bit of help from his Nana to do some of these activities, since he is not quite three. Maybe his big brother Sammy can help too. Have fun!

Today another wonderful package came in the post. Miss Chalmers, whose P2 class wrote and illustrated the amazing I Only Eat the Colour Green, has sent me another collection of excellent work from her class.

After I received their book, I felt I really ought to send a thank-you. I decided they might enjoy a Green Book Bag which has fruit-shaped sponges for painting, lots of classroom activities (like a word search and drawing ideas), a matching game and a letter from the Countess inviting them to tea!

Here is what came back to me in the post today:

Dear Lynne,

Thank you so much for the bag of activities you sent the class. It caused much excitement when it arrived in the class one lunch time. The children are delighted with seeing their book online and are convinced they are now famous. They have been reading their book to all the other classes around the school and have read it to the parents at an open morning. They are following the comments online closely too.

Thanks again,

Miss Chalmers

With Miss Chalmers’ letter came 26 thank-you cards with beautiful drawings on them, one from each child in the class! There were pictures of Cammy who only eats green things, Marlene who never eats green things, Miss Chalmers, and even a stripy snake! And two girls from the class (Alesha and Alisha) decided to put a pink penguin on their cards. They are all so amazing that I am going to show you every one:

I continue to be so impressed by the work this class produces! I hope you’ll add a comment to let them know what you think.

After my event at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August, a group of children and their teacher came to speak to me. They were from Broughton Primary School in Edinburgh and they asked me to sign a copy of I Do Not Eat the Colour Green for the P2 class. One of the children had a little problem with the title of my book. His name was Cammy and he LOVED the colour green!

When the class got back to school, they decided to write a new story. They planned it out carefully, and did all the illustrations themselves. When it was ready, they made it into a specially bound book and sent it to me! Their book is called I Only Eat the Colour Green, and it is so brilliant I want to share it with you here:

Isn’t that an amazing story? Cammy learns a good lesson about eating well, just like Marlene does in my story. As well as this brilliant book, the children sent me some lovely letters. I would like to say thank you to Lara, Douglas, Katie W, Katie T, Orlaith, Komal, Lewis, Maya and Katherine. A big thank you too to Miss Chalmers who helped the children with this fantastic project. I am so impressed!