Tag Archives: Writing

The Little Fir Tree

This year MG has the part of Mary in her class Nativity play (5-7 year olds). The main part is the fir tree, Mary and Joseph don’t have any lines but they do join in the songs! I’m getting an idea of the play, not only from MG’s singing but she made this book at the weekend, and being the ultra-proud parent I am, I had to share!

The Little Fir Tree Cover “The Littl fir tree”
The top corner says “scall” (school) and the names of her teachers.

The Little Fir Tree pages 1 & 2 “The Litte fir tree. One day groe sum fir trees one was sml the uvers lrft heloe shorte heloe scwert he toe small The wodkcuter cam to lok at all the trees the wodkcuter cam”
The Little Fir Tree. One day some fir trees grew. One was small. The others laughed: hello shorty, hello squirt, he’s too small. The woodcutter came to look at all the trees. The woodcutter came 

The Little Fir Tree page 1Page 1 flap open

The Little Fir Tree pages 3 & 4

“Sum time the rain fet on the trees splish splash piter pater in the rain forist fallin on the”
Sometimes the rain fell on the trees. Splish, splash. Pitter, patter in the rain. Falling in the forest.

The Little Fir Tree pages 5 & 6
The Little Fir Tree pages 7 & 8
“fall in the graown flot in all a rown
sumtims the sun shind brit on the trees sun lit sun lit berning
brit in the blow sky sunit sunlit berning brit in the blow sky”
Falling on the ground, floating all around.
Sometimes the sun shone bright on the trees. Sunlight, sunlight burning bright in the blue sky. Sunlight, sunlight burning bright in the blue sky.

The Little Fir Tree pages 9 & 10
“mere and dyosif wer son to hav a baby that ni the baby was born”
Mary and Joseph were soon to have a baby. That night the baby was born.

The Little Fir Tree pages 11 & 12
“Jezs Jezs so small and so preshesj and glorre of heven alyoleer alyoler come to erth”
Jesus, Jesus, so small and so precious. Glory of heaven, hallelujah, hallelujah. Come to Earth.

The Little Fir Tree Back Cover
“evre one has sum think to liv for evre one of us has sumthink to liv for”
Everyone has something to live for. Every one of us has something to live for.

MG told me that the last page should also say “everyone has something to give”. I’m not sure what the picture is, the things she likes about herself maybe? Or just a random doodle that belongs somewhere else?!

MG makes a lot of books like this. She glues pages together, creates flaps and sticks pictures she’s drawn and cut-out down. I really must find some of the other good examples and take pictures. This one especially impressed me because it’s a more complete work (she often gets distracted, or the books are more disjointed – I love them all!) and because it shows how she has learnt and understood her Christmas play.

Things I find interesting are how there are a lot more high frequency words that are in her head that she can write correctly. It’s interesting (to me!) to see this develop. I also find it interesting how the “D” and “J” sounds can be confused. She writes “Dyosif” for “Joseph”, cf. “Jagn” for “Dragon” in her first stories four months ago. I also love her hallelujah: alyoleer/alyoler. I had to look up the spelling and had forgotten it actually starts with an H so I think her attempt is brilliant.

Her spacing and splitting of words over two lines make it quite hard to work out all her meaning still, but every part of that is improving and she’s really getting her ideas across. I leave her total freedom to create, and don’t “correct” anything she does. I do say I can’t always read what’s written but we work it out together and I’m getting pretty good at reading phonetically now!

Not wanting to leave DG out, she’s starting to make letter shapes so I think she’ll be forming her first letters and maybe her name very soon. At her age, MG could write her own name and her sister’s but MG and DG are different people. In contrast, DG flies off into preschool in the morning without a backward glance to me but I was still coming into the class every morning for the whole of F1 with MG and she still has shy mornings now, although her confidence is blossoming.

Blossoming is one of the words MG’s teacher used to describe her in parent’s evening last week, along with determined and a credit to the school. The teacher also said that whatever I was doing at home, to keep on doing it because MG is putting everything together and has no worries in any subject area. DG’s key worker said she was quiet! My daughters are completely different people at school than at home! I am utterly proud of every bit of both of them.

First Stories

MG (5yr 5mo) has started writing stories. As her mother, I think her ‘books’ are the most amazing, wonderful things in the whole wide world ever. I’m sharing her first books below.

Book One


bi [MG] And the picJs rar bi [MG]
By [MG]. And the pictures are by [MG]

wons pon tim the ws A bear in bi the rocs nere the wortreA ejs he ws lone And sAd
Once upon a time there was a bear in by the rocks near the water’s edge. He was lonely and sad.


evn the frog cood not chere up evn the bee cood not chere him up evn the fox cood not doo
Even the frog could not cheer him up. Even the bee could not cheer him up. Even the fox could not do it.


bt the Awl coo do it.
But the owl could do it.


the end

Book Two

bi [MG}. and the picJs rs bi [MG].
By [MG]. And the pictures are by [MG]

wons pon ti thea ws a monstre hoo liv in carsl bcs ov the Jagn and the prinses ws criing and wondin if a prins wd cum to rescyou he wod cum to resgyoy.
Once upon a time there was a monster who lived in a castle because of the dragon. And the princess was crying and wondering if a prince would come to rescue her.


dn and he did cum she sdopt criin ar you u rel prins yes i am pt won secnd a wicd wich pere how did theat hapn prins
Then and he did come. She stopped crying.
“Are you a real prince? “
“Yes I am.”
But one second a wicked witch appeared.
“How did that happen prince?”

I am so proud of my little girl’s imagination, and how happy she was producing these first stories. I can’t wait for more, especially the middle of the first book and the end of the second!

Opening Lines

I used to want to be an author. I used to read avidly, literally hundreds of books a year. And I wrote, and wrote. But this was way back in my teens and early 20’s, now I’m 36 it’s been 15 years since I wrote regularly and over 10 years since I wrote anything at all. But inspired by the Children’s Writer blog and behind-the-scenes writing comments from (too many to mention) picture book authors and illustrators on Twitter, I thought I might revisit a story that’s been in my head all that time and write it for my girls…

My aspirations to be an author have faded over time, and I don’t have the patience to really write at this stage in my life but I thought I could manage a short story just for my girls. I hoped to be able to pull the threads of my ideas together, put the words in some sort of order and sort out the ending so it worked. Ideas are easy, writing is the hard part!

With that in mind, I started to think of the opening sentence(s). Perhaps just writing the story down first would be the best idea, but it’s been in my head for so long I thought I’d start at the beginning. Fiction Fridays have taught me that the first sentence can really sell a book to the reader. The story is a non-traditional fairy tale, so I looked for inspiration:

“Once upon a time there lived a King and a Queen who weren’t very good at it.” The Tough Princess (Waddell & Benson)

“Once there was a Dragon who was convinced he was TOTALLY TERRIFYING.” The Totally Terrifying Three (Oram & Melling)

“Once upon a Tuesday the king was in a hurry as usual.” The Kiss That Missed (Melling)

“Once upon a time, there was a deep, dark forest, where monstrous trees groaned, terrible beasties moaned and wiggly woos waited to tickle your toes.” Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Big Adventure (Stephenson)

“The trouble with Dragons is… Dragons make Dragons and they make some more till there are wall-to-wall Dragons making Dragons galore.” The Trouble With Dragons (Gliori)

“Long, and long ago, when Oberon was king of the fairies, there reigned over the fair country of Phantasmorania a monarch who had six beautiful daughters.” The Ordinary Princess (Kaye)

The Ordinary Princess isn’t a picture book. It is however a perfect fairy tale. I think it’s the book I want to write. Except it was already written over 30 years ago! It definitely deserves its own post.

After looking at the inspiration, I thought about the opening lines for “my” story. Hmmm, maybe I’ll think about writing again in another ten years… 🙂