Friday 14 February 2014

Friday the 14th of February

Picture Book Reviews 14:14

Author: Norma McDonald
Illustrator: Norma McDonald
Publisher: Magabala books
Year of publications: 2013

Readership. Middle grade

Main character: Cheeky, a mouse

Illustrations are by  the author in a loose whimsical style which captures the anthropomorphic emotions  and antics of the mouse  in a delightful way.
What happens/changes? The mouse learns to curb unsafe behaviour.
What drives the story? The danger to the main character and information about the habits of the Hopping Mouse.

Are the conflicts resolved? Yes
                                           Does it flow when read aloud? : Moderately well
Spinifex Mouse is the tale of Cheeky, a spinifex hopping mouse, who lives in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Cheeky is named because he is loud and adventurous and cheeky. He is proud of his jumping ability and shows off,  which puts him in danger.  Cheeky ignores the safety of the family den and sneaks out to find more spinifex seeds to eat.
This story introduces the reader to some of the interesting aspects of the Spinifex Hopping Mouse in a simple manner which may appeal to children interested in animals and nature. It flows well as part of the story and not as separate information. Further information is contained in a glossary at the end.
I chose this book for the illustrations.
Element of Picture Book construction: Beginnings and endings. 
This book shows how important it is to start the story at the right place. This story opens with a secondary character and takes four pages to introduce the main character. A little rearranging could well have made the beginning crackle.


Would I recommend this book?
use as a door stop Library borrowing once or twice Repeat borrowing contemplate ownership definite purchase for the collection

Today is a busy day. Daughter darling has been walking around saying "Happy Singles Awareness Day". For those who follow Valentines mania and rush out for flowers, chocolate and making promises you don't intend to keep, Happy Valentines Cupid stupid day and saints and stuff.

and here is my water colour for today's 52 week challenge week 7 Water Colour theme. Titled: Dreaming. 
I have had a lot of trouble learning the water colours and am very happy that people share their skills online so i can learn from them. I over wet the paper and bled colours so they went fuzzy or changed, I under wet and it did nothing, I wash too much, with the wrong size brush, I use the wrong brushes, one brush sheds into the paint leaving bits of course hair, I rubbed the wet paper into balls and tore the page, I forgot to secure the paper so it folded and buckled, I didn't wash the brush out properly and my colours turned to sludge, I dripped, I spilt, I fell asleep with art gear in my bed, I overturned the glass and guess what... I AM LOVING WATER COLOUR WEEK.
I returned all my library books and borrowed another heavy reading schedule. Heavy because they are all hard covers. I shall take a bag next time.

I had my wound redressed and the stitches come out on Monday. I am going to have a magnificent pirate scar so need to practice my pirate speaking. Pirate as in Dread Pirate Roberts, or Penzance or Cap'n Jack Sparro',  not pirate as in deadly cut throat thieving violent evil stinking insurance doubling raiders. I have a hat too!   One of my favourite picture books is called "The Man whose mother was a pirate." I think I may have to invest in some very bright red stripy trousers.

I also wrote a short piece for

The rules are thus:

    You must use the exact wording we provide—in this case, it must appear in the beginning of your story.
    Your story must be 350 words or less.
    Your work must be original and not previously published.
    WTD provides an encouraging and safe environment for writers to grow and learn from each other. We’d love you to comment on other people’s submissions in a friendly and supportive manner.
    We reserve the right to delete any comments or entries we deem inappropriate and those that do not meet the specifications above.

My contribution for Scene Stealer #9 (prompt wording in bold)

They say love is blind. Right now blindness is a power out. I stumble over something cold and wet. The door frame bruises my shoulder. Cold and wet is not good, especially something with a pungent aroma reminiscent of a sewer drain. Love might be blind but it doesn’t lack olfactory senses. My hand pats the wall in the approximate location of a switch. Flicking elicits no response. I feel my way along the passage to the laundry door, jarring my hip on the book shelf and belting my knee against some wheeled contraption left leaning in the way.  Love is blind but it sure doesn’t block pain sensors.  I poke around for the torch and discover the empty recharge socket. A constant rumble of obscenities slips out from under my breath hidden under the rumbling thunder. Love is not deaf. My foot reinforces this as an ear splitting squeal from a small fur thing adds counterpoint to my increased swearing. Love? The skittering of tiny claws is muffled by the dirty laundry collapsing on it. Blind maybe, angry definitely. Stepping through the kitchen door I abruptly measure my length on the floor. Something metallic rolls away into the depths of the darkness  and my joints scream protest. I grope in the bottom drawer for the waxy texture of a candle. Fingers explore and ears listen for the soft rattle of wood slivers in cardboard.  A golden glow pushes back the shadows and spills a soft luminescence on sleeping faces. A tuck of a blanket, a kiss on soft skin, an emotional upwelling tugging a smile and dissolving the anger, the candlelight illuminates. A sleepy murmur of love obliterates the obstacles from focus. Love is not blind it is blinding.   289


  1. Participants in my PB 14:14 challenge, all the way from Australia!!! Who would've guessed? It's interesting how you used a book to show how NOT to do something. Yes, make sure you introduce the main character on the first page! Not a secondary character, and then the MC 4 pages later. Did the book at least redeem itself by having a great ending? Thanks for sharing and for the reminder that ALL books can still teach us a thing or two about writing.

  2. A touch of reality, this story evokes many memories of when my children were young, thanks for the nice surprise.

  3. Love your writing prompt. Watercolors are difficult to say the least. Great job.


Thank you for taking the time to read my chatter and look at my pictures. I hope you found something to brighten your day. <3