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Percy the Pigeon – Katie’s first book

family-katieI love to celebrate the achievements of other mums in business. This month we have an inspirational interview with full time mum Katie who has just fulfilled her dream of writing a children’s book.

Hi Katie, could you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Katie Budge, I’m 25 years old and I live in the town of Stevenage in Hertfordshire. I live with my two young sons and my boyfriend of five years. My sons – Gerrard-Anthony (2 and a half) and James (7 months) are my whole world and my full time job is getting to spend every day with them being their mum.

I’ve previously worked in schools but stopped working when my first son was born. That’s where most of my inspiration came from when writing children’s stories. I started writing children stories years before, when I was in college studying a ‘diploma in child care and education’ course, we were asked to write a story that helped to teach children valuable life lessons or had some sort of moral to it. I got wonderful feedback both from my tutors and peers and I thoroughly enjoyed writing them.

What was your biggest challenge in writing you first book?
My biggest obstacle was getting published by a publishing company, unfortunately I didn’t manage to find anyone and had to self -publish my book. Although that was my biggest obstacle it meant I got to choose my illustrator, who drew in a way that I liked, which I wouldn’t have got the chance to do, had I been published by a company. I also got to take my time, keep editing my book along the way and at the end of it, I could say, I did it myself. Which is a fantastic achievement and one I’m very proud of.

What would you say is the most important thing when working from home?
Balance is a very important thing when writing stories and having my two boys. Whenever they are taking a little nap or fast asleep in bed by half past seven each night (they’re very good boys) I use that time to write and re write my stories. I’m very lucky that I have so much inspiration around me everyday from my two beautiful boys, but I haven’t yet bought myself round to writing a book about eating snot, which is a daily occurrence with a two year old!

percy the pigeon

Could you tell us a little about your book?

Percy the Pigeon was written after I spotted a very aggressive and greedy pigeon scoffing all the bird food put out in the garden while I was washing up. The story about a very greedy pigeon who doesn’t like to share food with his friends which eventually gets him into trouble. The story follows Percy and his over indulging ways and we find out whether he eventually changes his ways, or if he always puts his belly first.

I really hope people enjoy reading it, especially all the boys and girls out there, and I would love to hear feedback from anyone who purchases it. My book can be found and bought at:

It’s been a pleasure to chat to you Katie, thanks so much.

This beautiful book would make a love Christmas present. It’s lovely rhyming book about the value of sharing and friendships. I’m sure you’ll enjoy snuggling up to your little one to share this story. Let me know what you think.

Detecting with Dotty

Detecting with Dotty

Detecting with Dotty

Reading is a brilliant way to improve language skills. As a parent I love to encourage my children to read.  This is our Emily’s first ever book review. I’ve interviewed her to keep it simple.

What did you think of the book?
It was interesting. The part where Dotty has to guess the hidden code is very funny. (She was laughing out loud at this point!)

What do you think of the cover?
It was clever as she is called Dotty the detective and there are gold shiny dots. The cover matches her top in the picture.

What was your favourite bit and why?
The part where Dotty tries to guess the hidden code and gets it wrong and when McClusky joins in the singing on the stage.

Who is your favourite character and why?
I like McClusky (the dog), Dotty and Beans. McClusky is my very favourite as he saves the day and is very cute.

How would you persuade your friends to read this book?
I would say, “It’s good because there are some funny bits and some bits you’ll really enjoy”.
I think it is a book for boys and girls because McClusky is a boy and Dotty is a girl.

When I first showed Emily the book she was a bit intimidated by the length of it but, I suggested we could sit together and I would listen to her read a few chapters each evening. This worked really well and she really enjoyed the book.

Have we inspired you to read this book?

Get your copy here.



We were sent this book to review by  the Big Shot. The opinions given are entirely our own.

What does your family like to read? Let us know in the comments below.

First book review of a seven year old reading monster

This week’s blog is a bit different. It’s a Review of Terry Pratchett’s “Dragons at Crumbling Castle”. Reading is key to language development, whichever language you are learning. We have a guest blog from my husband and awesome linguist Maik, and we finish with Jasmin’s first book review.

Terry Pratchett’s novels have been around for over four decades, which is why I have to confess with a certain amount of shame, that we only discovered the joys of Terry Pratchett’s fine literary skills in the last decade or so. Even his magnum opus, the Discworld series of forty novels, has been around for over thirty years, so we’re certainly what you might call late starters.

The first time our family came across this particular book was at a book fair, which was held at our daughter Jasmin’s school.

Dragons at Crumbling Castle

Dragons at Crumbling Castle

Of course many of the late Mr. Pratchett’s books were aimed at adult readers, but there are also several for children or “Young Adults” (the posh name for teens I guess). Within Discworld, there are the four (soon to be five) Tiffany Aching novels as well as the “Amazing Maurice”, all of which we thoroughly enjoyed. Outside of Discworld, we have recent publications such as “Dodger” and “Nation” alongside older entries from the early 90s (the Johnny Maxwell trilogy and the late 80s (the Bromeliad trilogy).

“Dragons at Crumbling Castle” is a time machine which takes you back even further than that, the mid-sixties in fact, when young Terry was still a junior reporter for our local paper: The Bucks Free Press. This was when he started writing stories for the paper’s young readers, and those are the stories compiled in “Dragons at Crumbling Castle”. Well, a selection of them in any case, which the older Terry admits he tinkered with a little “because the younger me wasn’t as clever back then”.

Still, for a young reader, like the self-confessed reading-monster which is my daughter Jasmin, there is plenty of fun involving dragons, wizards, monsters, magic spells and a very adventurous tortoise. For the grown-up Pratchett fans, it’s a great look into the mind of the young Terry, with plenty of his inimitable humour and of course the seed of what later developed into his first ever novel: “The Carpet People”. Accompanying the stories are plenty of illustrations which are slightly reminiscent of those found in the works of another local author … Roald Dahl. And like Dahl, Pratchett – both at 17 and at 66 – knows how to tell a good children’s story without being childish, taking the plot in unexpected directions, playing with language and throwing in a good dose of humour along the way.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what my seven year old Jasmin thought of “Dragons at Crumbling Castle”:

Book review of Terry Prachett’s “Dragons” by Jasmin Barrett age 7 and three quarters.

What did you think of the book?

It is good and funny.

What did you think of the cover?

It looked funny because there was a dragon in the bath.

What was your favourite story and why?

I liked the two stories about the carpet people best because they went exploring.

Who was your favourite character and why?

I like Glurk because he is a hunter.

How long did it take you to read the book?

It took a whole evening. (Dad’s comment: not bad for 340 pages at age 7!)

How would you persuade your friends to read this book?

I would say the carpet people is a good book.

Thank you Jasmin! You obviously enjoyed the “Dragons” as you’re already halfway through the “Carpet People” novel a couple of days after finishing this one. There’s plenty more where this came from, thankfully we have a well-stocked Pratchett shelf.

So to all you grown-up Pratchett fans out there, there’s probably no better way to get your younglings into all things Terry than the “Dragons”.

If you want your own copy head to Dragons at Crumbling Castle Another we like is Truckers

We were sent this book to review by the publishers but we were already Pratchett fans prior to that!

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