I almost missed posting this week … which really bothered me because it would have been the first time since I started the blog back in February.
The last few months I have been reassessing where I want to be in my life, culminating in changing my job this week. I’d worked in my last employment for five years but I’m hoping my new position will be more flexible for my family and free up more writing time for me. Yay!!
So, today’s post is an update on things that have been going on and a look forward at a new era in my life.
This blog is now a ‘don’t-ask-for-review’ zone.
Last week I posed the question To review? Or not to review? (when you don’t love the book you’re reading.) And I got some really great feedback. A big thank you to all who commented.
I’ve decided to contact the author and tell her it’s not a book I could recommend to my readers and ask whether she would like me to post the review anyway. I hope this doesn’t offend her. From now on, I will be only reviewing books I’ve loved on my blog.
Progress on fear of dogs.
Back in June I was looking for books to help my grandson overcome his fear of dogs. Scared of dogs? Books to help your child overcome their fear.
“May I Pet your Dog?” by Stephanie Calmenson has become a firm favourite. After much practice at staying very still and looking away whenever we see a dog, I’m pleased to report he can now pass them in the park without screaming like he’s going to be eaten alive. I feel we still have some way to go before he can actually stroke a dog, but it’s definite progress.
Future writing projects.
With the publication of my picture books “Better Buckle Up” and “Things Evie Eats” earlier this year, my next project is well under way … and it’s BIG. I’ll be releasing the details over the next few weeks but I can tell you it’s a series of books and videos. 🙂
I’m very excited (if not a little overwhelmed) by the prospect. The story lines are in place, the first drafts are with my editor and the characters are being created visually as we speak. Watch this space.
I’ve also updated the website of my YA-writing alter ego over at SuzannaWilliams.com. It is very new (look out for broken links etc, if you visit) so I’ll be working on that too over the coming weeks.
A big thank you to all the people who have helped me kickstart my blog, especially the lovely Shaz and Heidi from #TalkoftheTown Linky who sent me this great pen. It now has pride of place next to my writing chair and makes note of my important editing decisions.
And of course massive. massive thank you’s to everyone who has purchased my books. I hope you will all stay with me in this new era of my life.
P.S. I took the photo of the sunrise out of my kitchen window. It truly did look like the dawn of a new era. Don’t you love the autumn skies?
Man’s best friend … or not.
There are lots of books for children featuring dogs. More often that not they’re presented as a child’s best friend. But what if your child doesn’t think they are his best friend? What if he’s scared of dogs?
Let’s face it, to a small child a dog is a pretty scary animal with big teeth. Even a friendly dog can be bouncy and knock the child over, can’t be stopped from giving unwanted face-licks and has the breath of a hound straight from hell.
Whilst walking in the park my two-year old grandson happened to pick up a stick and started carrying it. Unfortunately, a nearby dog thought it was playtime. It ran over and wrenched it off him. Since this incident he screams if a dog comes anywhere near. And I’m talking ear-splitting, I’m-in-danger-of-being-eaten-alive screams. A reaction way out of proportion to the behaviour of the dog. We needed a plan.
Books for children who are scared of dogs.
My first job was to find some books that might help. We already books like Spot and Hairy Maclary and he was quite happy with these ‘book dogs’. I needed more. In the end, I ordered two books.
“Kids Learn Dog Behavior: Help Your Child to Overcome Fear of Dogs” by Jill Jones looked an obvious choice.
First impressions: the printers had trimmed it slightly crooked and the paper wasn’t the greatest quality. I’m not sure how many reads through with children it will stand. However, the illustrations are bright and colourful and the text is in rhyme … which I always like.
It explains how to tell if a dog was frightened, angry or wanting to play but … there was a picture of a dog baring it’s teeth with the text that ended, “Give me my bone back to chew… Or you better watch out – I will bite you,” … which wasn’t the message I wanted to send.
I haven’t read it to my grandson yet.
Next to arrive was “May I Pet your Dog?” by Stephanie Calmenson.
In contrast to the first book, I was surprised and impressed it was a hardback. The illustrations are sweet and the text is gentle and fun to read.
This book isn’t aimed specifically at children scared of dogs but has lots of dog-meeting etiquette and general good advice on how to approach a dog, which would also be good if your child was too eager to cuddle animals they were unfamiliar with.
My grandson was very interested in the book and, even after several reads with me, he took it to his Mum to read yet again.
We practiced asking, ‘May I Pet your Dog’ and also holding our hand with the fingers pointing down so a dog could come and sniff. We also practiced standing very still and not looking at a dog if we were afraid. We had great fun with me pretending to be a dog although I thought it was telling that, when he played the part of the dog, he crawled around growling and wouldn’t be a ‘friendly’ dog.
This book was a winner.
Other books I looked at were “Not Afraid of Dogs” by Susanna Pitzer
It is aimed at slightly older children than my grandson but sounds a good read and I may order this if he needs more encouragement.
I think we need plenty of practice meeting pretend dogs before we attempt it on the real thing and I’m looking for someone with a really, really laid-back pet for the first meeting.
Do you know of any books I missed? Or any suggestions on helping children overcome their fear of dogs? Let me know in the comments.
Will let you know how we get on.