The Research Stage

Is it a case of ‘once a teacher, always a teacher’, I wonder?

One of the things I aim for in my books is to educate, or to at least provide space for learning and discussion. Michelle and the Bumblebee is an example of this.front cover 2

When I agreed to write the story, I wanted to complement the true story with accurate pictures. I was surprised at how little I knew about the bumblebee. I had painted them from “life” (actually from corpses I had found in my garden) many years ago, but couldn’t remember the details. How many segments are there in the bumblebee’s legs? Which way do its ‘knees’ work? How many stripes does it have? Are the stripes all the same colour? Is it ‘bumblebee’ or ‘bumble bee’?

I enjoyed the research, which started a little like this:

bee details

As the story developed I also tried to give Mr Bumble Bee a persona. He became more of a cartoon sketch, his stripes became more random as his face took on more expression and his wings varied in size to create the effect I wanted. bee face

Despite this evolution, I kept the details of his body structure and legs accurate.


The teacher in me also had the last word. I concluded the story with a diagram illustrating the pollination cycle, and gave the last illustrated page to a realistic bumblebee.

bee small for blog

All of the illustrations were fun, but this last one was the illustration I enjoyed the most.

The Book Lovers

Learning about pollination from the safety of the washing basket - as you do!
Learning about pollination from the safety of the washing basket – as you do!

It has been a huge pleasure for me to see children enjoying my stories and to hear them say “Can you read it again please?” (or “Again, again” from a younger one).

I was pleasantly surprised to see how interested my two year old grandchildren are in Michelle and the Bumblebee. This story seems to have appeal across the ages, and appeals to flower and bee lovers as well as anyone who likes to read a true story. When I wrote the text from Michelle’s real life story notes I imagined children from about 4 to 8 or 9 enjoying it. In reality the age range that it appeals to has been much wider. Thank you Michelle.

p 11 print

“I hope you will be OK, Mr Bumble Bee”, said Michelle.
“It still gets a bit chilly at night”.

Michelle covered his hiding place with some more grass to help protect him from the cold.

Three titles released today!

Today is a “Red Letter” day for Little Goat Books. An independent publisher using the Print-on-Demand services of,

Little Goat Books proudly announces that the first three titles produced for 2015 are now available (online only).

Front cover, The Lost Happy
The Lost Happy

Available now:

front cover final
Michelle and the Bumblebee

Available now:

blog Bath book
When Mum Fell Asleep in the Bath

 Available now: