Author Archives: john

The Summer Silly Season continues…

Look out for this NEW Life-Sized book – just out and available from all good book shops, from here and only the best Poo Museums

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!)

Swanwick Writers' Summer SchoolThe 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…

And then it was time for entertainment (sort of). Thanks to everyone for a warm welcome, for singing along and even smiling at the jokes!

News of more new books and silly turns coming soon…

TIME TO VOTE

Truly Foul & Cheesy Joke & Facts

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’.

CHEESY RATINGS:

*Pongy

**Rotten

***Stinky

****Whiffy

*****Stenchy

FOUL RATINGS:

*Yucky

**Revolting

***Gross

****Disgusting

*****Repulsive

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…

Summertime and the reading is CHEESY

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?

click and peep!

MAY contain nuts, seeds and stripes

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!

National Poo Museum – Lifting the lid on the secret world of poo
Click on the images for a peep at the poop… THE GIANT PANDA MYSTERY!
Image result for giant panda cartoon
This creature’s POOP caused total PANDAmonium

APRIL FOUL (and CHEESY)


Two new FOUL & CHEESY history titles out this month…

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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)

MARCHING ON

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”.

Fab Feb

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!

2019

What better way to shake off the winter gloom than with a shiny new book for a shiny new 2019? Fascinating facts (with a dollop of gross) and cheesy chuckles will be coming you way soon…

2019 sees the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 2


Later this month look out for the next in my ‘Life-Sized’ series – you’ll be ITCHING to read about lovely BUGS!

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Happy New Year to creepy crawlies everywhere!

‘Tis the season to be CHEESY

It’s here – just in time for Christmas!

Truly Foul & Cheesy Christmas Facts and Jokes Book

All you ever wanted to know about the delights and horrors of the festive season (including sprouts).

It’s a fact-packed information book with plenty of cheesy giggles – maybe enough to give you Christougenniatikophobia (a FOUL fear of Christmas), especially with the disgusting original recipe for mince pies and some of the revolting customs from around the world. With puns, poems, peculiar passages, playful pictures & panto paraphernalia, as well as a QUIZ, there’s lots here to entertain everyone when the TV packs up. HAPPY CHRISTMAS READING! 😆 🙄 😀  

Available HERE

Happy pantomime season, too… guess who this is!

November CENTENARY

1918 – 2018

Image result for john townsend the secret message

HENRY’S REVIEW (2018): ‘It was amazing!’

This was so surprising. Actually, it wasn’t – as my wife has been badgering me to read it for a while. She originally got it out of the library for my daughter to read to help introduce her to WW1, but this is by no means a book for children only.

My daughter initially rejected it, but after my wife read it, she insisted that both of us read it. My daughter enjoyed it, saying she loves the story and finally I’ve read it. It made me cry, which has only been achieved by 2 previous books in my life and therefore I’ve given it a well deserved 5 stars and will be looking up the theatrical version.

To go into greater detail without revealing too much of the story, a young boy discovers a small suitcase belonging to his great, great grandfather who happens to bear a striking resemblance to him. The case is locked and his father has to force the lock. Inside there is a book that reveals his ancestor’s experience just prior and during the war and some of it is coded, which the reader has to get actively involved with. At this point I will stop and urge you to read it and force your 9-11 year old to read it too.’

Thank you, Henry!

In Flanders fields, where poppies danced,
The sodden soldiers scarce advanced
From stinking trenches under fire
Past corpses in the razor wire...
No more the stench of deathly mud
Drifts over all those fields of blood...
No more the mire where jackboot treads;
While still the poppies bow their heads.
from my Pickling with Words