As the Rat prepares to leave town, the Ox gets ready to move in!

January 24, 2021 at 9:34 pm | Posted in Chinese New Year | Leave a comment
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Illustrations by Harry Harrison from The Tale of Run Run Rat and The Tale of Oswald Ox

At last it’s 2021, and as the Year of the Rat draws to a close in 19 days’ time, a new Zodiac beastie is coming to town! Yes, it’s Oswald Ox, carrying hundreds of great ideas for the New Year on his back! As well, of course, as his very best friend Eleanor the Cattle Egret, who loves to keep her big buddy free of annoying flies and mosquitoes, whilst at the same time keeping herself fit and healthy by eating them for dinner! Just click on the arrows above to watch what happens when Run Run Rat follows Ping Pong Pig out of the picture, and Oswald Ox moves in!

From The Tale of Oswald Ox, illustrated by Harry Harrison

Now we all know that oxen are wise and patient animals, quietly watching as the other animals on the farm scurry hither and thither, and so often overlooked. That is, until something goes wrong – and then the good old ox moves in to solve the problem. Let’s just say that in 2021, we’ll be in better hands than last year!

And if you haven’t read The Tale of Oswald Ox, and don’t know yet how he solved a great mystery on a little Chinese farm, you can get your very own copy here!

Thank you Class 3R for your fabulous book reports!

November 11, 2020 at 11:23 pm | Posted in Glenealy School, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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I was so happy to receive 13 wonderful book reports about my book The Tale of Run Run Rat, and equally great pictures from Class 3R at Glenealy ESF School following my Zoom visit there recently! Here are just a few pictures, from Ludovic, Chloe, Samaira, Dylan, Freda, Henie, Burhan and Adhiraaj. Aren’t they fantastic?? Thank you so much, Class 3R, for making my day!

Run Run Rat zooms into Glenealy School in Hong Kong!

November 3, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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Last Wednesday I had a fantastic time visiting all the kids of Glenealy ESF School in Hong Kong by Zoom! We had two fabulous sessions, from P1 to P6, where I shared my very first story in the Chinese Calendar Tales series, The Tale of Run Run Rat, in a fun story reading, complete with those extremely naughty Chinese crickets Yin and Yang!

And right in the middle of my session with P1 to P3 the village bells here in my village in France rang out the 7am carillon, and I was able to open the shutters so the kids could hear it! It was a truly magical moment! A big thank you to the lovely Gisele Stones, primary librarian, for inviting me!

At last! The results are out in The Rascally Rat Tale Competition!

May 9, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Arden Anglican School, Beecroft, Australian schools, Challenges and activities, Hong Kong Schools, Shanghai schools, Singapore schools, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Illustration by Harry Harrison from The Tale of Run Run Rat

Hooray! At last the results in The Rascally Rat Tale Competition have been posted on my Clever Competitions page! Now I know that a lot of you have been doing lots of school work online during the Covid epidemic, so we had fewer entrants than usual, although we still had entries from Hong Kong, Melbourne, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney! They were of a very high standard, so it was difficult choosing the best! I did so using my special spreadsheet, with all the entries anonymised, which you can read more about on the results page.

Congratulations to everyone who put in an entry, and to all the place-winners! Special congratulations to Therese Li of Arden Anglican School in Beecroft, Sydney for placing FIRST in the Year 1 to 3 Category, and to James Bruser Zarin of Shrewsbury International School, Hong Kong, who placed FIRST in the Year 4 to 6 Category. They both win a signed copy of the Chinese Calendar Tale of their choice, as well as a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales for their school libraries! Well done! Congratulations also to the English teachers of Arden Anglican School in Beecroft, Sydney whose students write to an exceptionally high standard for their ages!

So go to my Clever Competitions page right away to read the winning stories and enjoy!

Visit to Shatin Junior by Zoom!

March 2, 2020 at 11:06 am | Posted in Chinese New Year, Hong Kong Schools, School visits, Shatin Junior School, Video, Year of the Rat, Zoom visits | Leave a comment
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I just visited the kids and teachers Shatin Junior School by Zoom, to do a fun live story reading of The Tale of Run Run Rat! We had over 120 kids logging in! Thanks so much to teachers Trudy McMillin and James Haworth for organising and hosting this fun online event! Below you can see a couple of fun video clips, and above, some photos. You can even see my little dog Mozart in one of them, enjoying the story!

Phew!! We’ve just packed all the boxed sets!

April 25, 2019 at 11:12 am | Posted in Boxed Set, Boxed Set of Chinese Calendar Tales, Online Sales | Leave a comment
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HOORAY! My lovely office manager Shilpa Patel and I have just finished hand-boxing all our beautiful sets of The Chinese Calendar Tales! It’s been a labour of love to get the right books packed, so that the fabulous red dragon logo sits just right on the spines!

So now all you have to do is click here to purchase your very own boxed set of all 12 Chinese Calendar Tales plus The Tale of Pin Yin Panda!

It’s our best online seller!

And it makes a FANTASTIC gift for birthdays, primary school graduation gifts and other happy celebrations!

A great day at CAIS!

February 17, 2019 at 8:57 am | Posted in Christian Alliance International School, Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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On Tuesday I visited the fabulous new Butterfly Valley campus of Christian Alliance International School! The Prep and Grade 1 kiddies met my hungry, lonely dragon in The Tale of Chester Choi, and everybody else up to Grade 6 just LOVED PORK when we shared The Tale of Ping Pong Pig! Warm thanks to teacher librarian Phebe Liu (to my left, above) for inviting me, and assistant librarian Eunice and tech wizard Brunel for looking after me so well! More photos to come!

A Big Fat “Happy Year of the Pig!” from Harry Harrison!

February 11, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Chinese New Year, Chinese Zodiac | Leave a comment
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My friend Harry Harrison, who is the FABULOUS illustrator of the Chinese Calendar Tales, has asked me to post this very funny cartoon on my blog to wish all his fans a very Happy Year of the Pig! Harry is the famous cartoonist in the South China Morning Post as well as many other publications in the world, such as The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom and the Far East Economic Review. I’m so lucky that he illustrates my stories – and all the fans of the Chinese Calendar Tales are too! What can we say but Thank you Harry!

Two faraway fans!

January 20, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Posted in Fabulous fans!, Shanghai schools | Leave a comment
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I was so happy to hear this week from two of my lovely fans from far away! To the left is Renzo, dressed as Rhonda Rabbit for Book Week at the International School of Panama in Central America – fabulous costume Renzo! I trust that you’re eating all your greens!  And to the right is Zara from Texas in the United States with my latest book The Tale of Ping Pong Pig, and the rest of the Chinese Calendar Tales set! Zara met me many years ago at her school in Shanghai! Warm thanks to their dad Luis and mum Helen respectively for sending me these fabulous photos! A very early, happy Year of the Pig to you all!

 

A wonderful visit to UISG in Guangzhou!

October 13, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Guangzhou schools, Utahloy International School of Guangzhou, workshops | Leave a comment
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This week I made the train journey up to Guangzhou to visit the beautiful Utahloy International School of Guangzhou! (Utaloy is the rough pronunciation of Great Virtue in Chinese, I was told). There I was hosted by the lovely Head Librarian Chrissy Erwin (above), and we started the day with a latte on the balcony overlooking a river beside a forest, in the prettiest setting I have EVER seen for a school, in China or anywhere! It also had wonderful open air playing space for the kids, including a fabulous Dr Seuss tree for the little ones, and a pirate ship for the older kids! Here it is, crammed with P3 and P4 pirates and me!

Year 3 and 4 students on the "Pirate Ship" with author, Sarah Brennan

Thanks Chrissy, and Kelly Phillips, her librarian colleague, for hosting me for a very special day of story readings from the Chinese Calendar Tales with all the primary school students, as well as the Grade 7 and Grade 8 students who learned How to Publish a Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product.

Above left, you can see me with Kelly Phillips, Chrissy Erwin, and the lovely new Primary Principal Michelle Jones to her right. On the right, you can see me with the fabulous library assistants team Betty Zheng, Haiqing Sun and Judy Li and “our” Chinese Zodiac animals! Below left, I am interviewed by the staff of the high school newspaper The Howl, while below  right, you can see the wonderful Dr Seuss tree playground for the younger students.

 

And finally, just a couple of fun photos with the P3s – we had great fun with a Tale of Desmond Dog story reading and swearing the solemn oath to look at my website!

 

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