You'll find he is a whiz of a Wiz! If ever a Wiz! there was.
If ever oh ever a Wiz! there was The Wizard of Oz is one becoz,
Becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz, becoz.
Becoz of the wonderful things he does.
Cosmic, by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Macmillan)The Goldsmith's Daughter, by Tanya Landman (Walker)
Bad Blood, by Rhiannon Lassiter (Oxford)
Bog Child, by Siobhan Dowd (David Fickling Books)Before I Die, by Jenny Downham (Definitions)
The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness (Walker)
The Knife that Killed Me, by Anthony McGowan (Definitions)
The winner, who will receive a cheque for £1,500, will be announced in late September. This year's judges are Jenny Valentine, who won last year with Finding Violet Park, Mary Hoffman, author of The Falconer's Knot and Mal Peet, author of Keeper.
My old friend Sunita was mentioned in my column today and I received a text from her that said, amongst other things, "Did we stalk cows? Were there cows in Jalan Pawang?"
Jalan Pawang was the street we lived on in Segamat, Johor and no, I don't think there were ever cows there. In fact, I didn't actually stalk cows with Sunita. My fellow cow-stalker was my mum and we did it in the field facing my great-grandmother's house in Kolam Air! It was just more convenient and space-saving to say that I terrorised cows with Sunita.
By the way, the cows were not actually terrorised. Even the little calves knew how to lower their heads and butt. And a little calf with a knobbly head is still quite a large, scary thing when you're a short, fat kid.
It seems every other celebrity wants to write children's books. I suppose it's only a matter of time before our own Malaysian famous and shameless also start.
I wouldn't recommend it unless one is passionate about writing, and about writing children's books in particular. It would help if you've also read at least some kids' books.
I'm being very careful with my next picture book. Don't want to rush it as so many things went wrong with the first four, not least that I was foolish enough to be persuaded to write and publish FOUR at a go.
This week's column also touches on child authors. I don't think they should be published unless their age didn't influence the publisher's decision and is not a factor when it comes to reviewing them. What's your stand on this?
I AM writing this column on Nancy Drew’s 78th birthday – April 28, 1930! That was the publication date of The Secret of the Old Clock, the first in the Nancy Drew Mystery Series by Carolyn Keene.
Most readers know by now that Keene is as much a work of fiction as the much-loved girl sleuth. The Nancy Drew books were the brainchild of Edward Stratemeyer, founder of The Stratemeyer Syndicate, a book-packaging house that also produced popular series like The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins and The Dana Girls (published by Grosset & Dunlap).
The Way Back Home Author
By Oliver Jeffers
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books, 32 pages
OLIVER Jeffers' books tend to feature little boys with big dreams, big hearts and big appetites. Here, we have another boy who, finding an aeroplane in his cupboard, flies off in it. The sky's not the limit for this young adventurer: he flies past clouds, stars and planets and, finally, lands on the moon when he runs out of petrol. Luckily, he's befriended by an alien who's suffered the same fate. Hopefully, the pair can figure out how to get out of the predicament they're in. And if they don't, at least they'll have company on the moon.