What better way is there to sparkle-up the seasonal fun than with groans & giggles? Books sprinkled with foul facts, cheesy jokes and yucky yuletide yarns beat chronic Christmas crackers any day!
If you prefer something a little more literary, then the Bard himself could get the Christmas Party off with a swing…
Just imagine a Shakespearean Christmas party with the Hokey Cokey:
O fleeting is the foot that thou dost tread within,
Betwixt its backward gesture, thence returneth whence begin.
Forsooth, again thy left foot it doth quaver o’er the line
And thou dost shudder nobly – yonder shimmy, oft divine.
Whereupon thou then in rapture Hokey-Cokey dance,
How wondrous well gyrateth thou with hips-a-spin, perchance.
In truth, carouse thy shapely leg, cross-gartered ne’r worn out,
Thus verily, I say, prithee, “’tis what it’s all about.” Oi!
2020 will be a time to celebrate, too. It’s the 400th birthday of MAYFLOWER. So get ready to party!
‘Cheesy toppings! Info books packed with bite-sized facts & fun art have long been tried and tested ways of engaging kids with subjects outside their normal areas of interest. ‘Laugh and learn, giggle and groan’ are the shameless intentions of this series, now with over 20 titles.’
Of course, there’s nothing quite like a SHIVER at this time of year. How about a ghostly tale to bring a chill to the party?
As nominated for Leicester Libraries’ BEST BOOK 2020
Thanks luscious Leicester for shortlisting SHIVERS – see you at the party!
HAPPY CHRISTMAS READING, GIGGLING & PARTYING – looking forward to meeting more readers in schools in 2020 – see you soon!
It’s National Non-fiction November in the UK so all sorts of splendid information books should be whizzing off the shelves! Maybe some of my ANIMAL BOOKS will be among them? We’ve just had fun with all sorts of totally wacky animal facts during Appledore Book Festival’s Schools Week – with plenty of scary shenanigans thrown in…
Thank you Newport Primary School in Barnstaple for this:-
‘Year 3 had a fantastic time with John Townsend – we really enjoyed the opportunity to act out parts of a story and find out amazing facts about different animals. We all really loved John’s fantastic waistcoat which was made up of lots of his own book covers!’
When I first started researching Natural History, many texts were just a bit fusty or a tad pompous in tone. How things have changed. For anyone today who thinks non-fiction is dull, dusty and dreary – think again! Factual books can be fun, fab and even foul… with a healthy mix of life, laughter and learning. That’s what I hope is the appeal of my ‘Truly Foul Facts and Cheesy Jokes’ series of over 20 WOW topics. Even if puritans may be sniffy about informatiion books being ‘cheap & cheerful’ – if such titles encourage children to enjoy reading, what’s not to like? Thanks for the good reviews out there: ‘Author, John Townsend, has created a hybrid book of serious and funny at the same time – something truly unique, and catering for both children’s thirst for knowledge as well as the need for light heartedness.’ (Books, tea & cupcakes review)
My ‘Life-Sized Animal Tracks’ might be tricky to read in this new version – you might need to CHECK the language (big clue!)
It’s just as well we didn’t mention ‘the HUMAN animal’ with all those wacky (and revolting) facts in my new book coming out in January. Did you know GETTING OUT OF BED MAKES YOU SHRINK?!
Don’t tell anyone but non-fiction can even rhyme! Next year will see some little books for little people – with little rhyming giggles. Some will be non-fiction, but these ‘Booktacular Boxes’ are cute little animal tales to bring a bedtime smile…
Happy Non-Fiction November!
Autumn Term is chock-a-block with books! New titles and some older ones in new editions have been popping up in my school visits. Yes, children seem to have plenty to say about this one…
With thanks to zoos in the USA and Australia for providing a PILE of juicy information about Giant Panda dung and what it tells us. Find out more here from the fragrant NATIONAL POO MUSEUM.
And while ‘Life-Sized Animal Tracks’ is busy being reprinted, it’s just popped up in all sorts of languages – can you guess them?
Plenty of new titles are on their way for 2020 – a mix of wacky nonfiction, picture books and a few surprises. HAPPY OCTOBER!
Just off to some exciting Author Visits in schools in Gloucestershire and Devon – may see you there!
This title featured (along with much else) at the recent summer school at Swanwick where I was after-dinner speaker on the terrors of The Writer’s Curse (and, yes, even books about scatology!)
The Writer’s Curse – this involved juicy confessions from a children’s writer on the road – with secrets to reveal and tales out of school.
The Writer’s Curse will also be familiar to most writers and may well offer all a sinister warning (cue scary music). Yes, all writers beware – but what a jolly bunch the 300 or so delegates were…
JULY is the month for big decisions. Forget all the fuss about electing prime ministers and presidents… YOU can now rate the 22 ‘Foul & Cheesy’ Joke and Fact books with a Cheese-ometer rating via a Bluetooth linkup to a Foulograph – for a truly scientific printout. Surely this is a WORLD FIRST! (It’s also twaddle but you can, in fact, send your comment via the LEAVE A REPLY link on this page below and click POST COMMENT)
Feel free to let us know which title or which fact/snippet gave the greatest response on your built-in personal ‘cheesy-sensor’ & ‘foul-factor reactor’.
WARNING – some pages in these books could shoot off the scale and trigger the CRINGE FACTOR. Next up, brace yourself for this BEAUTY hitting all good bookshops soon…
Yes – 2 more Truly Foul & Cheesy Facts & Jokes titles are out in JUNE. Click here for an up-close look. Now over 20 in the series.
Now brace youself for even scarier stuff with nightmares attached:-
Open this book if you dare! In it you will find the biggest and most scary animals alive today … And some even bigger and even scarier creatures from the past. If you are brave enough, you will meet …
A snake as long as a bus
A crocodile that weighed as much as ten tonnes
A shark with a smile two metres wide … Yikes!
As well as many more big, bad and seriously dangerous creatures. Prepare to be amazed!
Or, for something completely different…
‘MIRROR, MIRROR’ compiled by Sonia Dixon is a mix of poetry and illustrations from a wide range of contributors, hoping to inspire children everywhere. Enjoy and maybe be uplifted by these poems that explore confidence and self-esteem in all sorts of fresh ways. Why not take a peep?
Only 3 months till a full-sized PLOP-UP book comes out!
To be honest, when I was asked to write this book I was a bit SNIFFY about it. But when I got stuck in (phew, that was a day to remember), I found all sorts of fascinating facts not to be sniffed at. Scientists known as SCATOLOGISTS study poo to discover amazing information about different species, habitats and animal biology – all from droppings! Have you ever been out somewhere and seen animal tracks with unusual poo nearby and thought ‘WHAT MONSTER LEFT THAT?’. Well, this book can help you find out (as well as which creature might be lurking under your bed). With this book and LIFE-SIZED ANIMAL TRACKS, you’ll be able to identify any creature that’s been through your bedroom and left you a little present.
And just in case you’re wondering….. yes, some ‘scat’ is stripy, some may smell of honey, some glistens or even sparkles, and some comes in perfect cubes the size of sugar lumps (best not put those in your coffee). You can find out even more when the book comes out (as it were) in August. Which animal’s poo do you think is so big that it needs a pull-out plop-up section to show its actual size?
Start saving for this new BIG book – just a little deposit required!
A Big THANKS to the fantastic National Poo Museum for DOLLOPS of help and for running their eyes (and nose) over the book. It’s a MUST visit for anyone on the Isle of Wight, UK. They certainly know how to get to the bottom of a subject. We had great fun trying to find out about giant panda poo as there’s not a lot of it about. Zoos across the world stepped in (yuck!) and helped us, so find out more by clicking on these dungtastic ‘scratch & sniff’ links below. Phew – after all that research, we’re totally POOPED!
Two new FOUL & CHEESY history titles out this month…
For British Science Week, schools in Essex were up to all sorts and it was good to be back in the county visiting familiar secondary schools again. Plenty of primary schools joined us, too – for weird and wacky Animal Science.
Where sensational science and horrendous history meet:
Reviews at TOPPSTA: ‘Dalrymple and Cutpurse are petty criminals by day but by night their illegal activity takes a far nastier turn as they dig up fresh corpses to sell to doctors for medical research. A word of warning: some of the grisly descriptions of hanging and primitive medical experiments might be too much for squeamish readers. The story is told with brilliantly atmospheric historical details, giving the book a vivid sense of time and place. I also enjoyed the non-linear narrative; discovering Cephas’s story out of sequence added to the suspense’. (Sam’s Mommy)
MARCH is always a busy month, with lots happening in the world of books. Not only are authors hopping from school to school for World Book Week, but also we’re zooming around for Science Week. I look forward to popping into some familiar friendly school libraries this month. I may even check out how many of my TRULY FOUL FACTS & CHEESY JOKES books are on the shelves – now over 20 crazy titles. How many have YOU seen?
New titles are out this month in this series – as well as later this year in the USA (called TOTALLY GROSS & AWESOME)
Meanwhile, back in rural Worcestershire… GOOD LUCK to Pendock Primary School and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust with their Hardwick Meadows Project and my script for their summer show: WHERE THE MEADOWS FLOWER
As if further proof were needed, the latest findings this month of Nielsen Book Research demonstrates the erosion of storytime for older children – which should surely be a vital part of every school day. Don’t ALL children need to hear stories regularly?
Apparently, only 32% of British children under 13 are read to daily by an adult, for pleasure, down four percentage points on the previous year, and nine percentage points down on 2012.
A second major survey of 27,000 children and young people, carried out by the National Literacy Trust ahead of World Book Day, found the number of 8 – 18-year-olds reading for pleasure has now dropped to nearly half, with only a quarter reading daily, compared with 43% in 2015.
Publisher Egmont, which co-funded the Nielsen research, said that the steep decline in parents reading to children “signals a significant threat to children’s wellbeing, with potential longer-term social impact”.
Despite all the snow, it’s great to be at the seaside! What better way to spend a freezing winter’s morning than at Brixham in Devon? A warm welcome awaited at Brixham Primary School – despite a WW2 bomb having just been fished out of the sea so what a dramatic visit! Here’s what they said…
This week we were very pleased to welcome John Townsend into our school. He worked with all the children in KS2, sharing stories and making us laugh too. As a follow up, 15 boys were invited to join him in a workshop where they explored a story starter and built their ideas from there. The children in Years 5 and 6 followed this up by writing a short story of their own, in the style of John Townsend. All children were keen to write and thoroughly enjoyed the session, confidently sharing their ideas and snippets of their work.
“He made writing and reading fun!” (Alfie Y6) “Writing is not just about sitting there – it’s about doing things!” (Sam Y6) “It was inspiring – in the workshop he was more interactive – we gave him ideas.” (Marshall Y6) “He helped me to carry on my sentence and he gave me ideas.” (Jenson Y5) “He made me want to write books.” (Polly Y5) “He helped me get my ideas down.” (Joshua Y5) “He inspired me to read more of his books.” (Eva Y5) “It made me more interested in writing.” (Olly Y5)
Pssst – here’s a secret – you gave me lots of FAB FEB ideas, too. And what’s more, we didn’t even mention frontal adverbials. Being Brixham, we had to mention fish and animals… with a little hint of what’s to come later this year to cause quite a stink…
LIFE-SIZED ANIMAL POOP
KEEP A LOOK OUT (and the occasional sniff) for this new book in AUGUST!