This week I bring you author, Caroline Webster. I am so thankful that she responded to my Twitter request for more author participation. Please know that through authors like her, passing on the word about this feature, it continues to be enjoyed by readers. Feel free to contact me, bloggers, authors, and publishers, if you'd like to be featured here.
Caroline Webster is a freelance writer, author, fanatical gardener and a passionate believer in the magic of being outdoors & encouraging lots of unstructured play for children. She has worked in a variety of industries including advertising, politics, benevolent organizations and publishing, but says writing and being ‘Mum’ to two outdoor warriors suits her best.
She lives in Sydney with husband Robert, children Angus and Grace, and Sunshine, Blossom and Kipper their very naughty, but adorable pets.
Because of a book……..
When I was a very young girl, I wanted to be like my mother. I wanted her hair (she is blonde, I am brunette), I wanted her voice, her clothes, her intelligence, her warmth, her knowledge, her sense of humour and her beautiful eyes - I wanted her very essence …
But most of all I coveted her imagination. Each night as we snuggled down to read; she would transport me to the very heart of whatever book it was that she had chosen for the day. I would close my eyes and press up close, so I could feel her warmth and hear her voice reverberating from within - a low, methodical and harmonious purr.
As I lay my head on her chest, I loved listening not only to the story; but also to the regular ka-thunk of her heart and the gurgling, circulatory sounds of her body. These sounds, smells and sights combined in such a mesmerising and comforting fashion, that it has become a much-treasured memory.
The two books that remain with me from that time are The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton and The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. Each relies on the imagination and creativity of the narrator/reader to bring them to life.
As I became older, and able to tackle them myself, I would disappear into the ‘other worlds’ of these books for hours on end.
The Magic Pudding is an utterly charming tale of a (talking and walking) Christmas pudding who finds himself somewhat reluctantly thrust into the company of some lovable rogues. Whenever I delved into this book, I found myself smelling the Australian bush, hearing the unique Aussie banter of the creatures; wishing that I could participate in their antics. I would invariably create a few of my own. I wanted to wake up happy and carefree like them every morning, not giving two hoots about what the day may bring. It is a crazy, unlikely narrative and I just adored it.
The Wishing Chair took me to wherever I wished to be at the time. I added hundreds of destinations and adventures to the simple ones contained in the book. I could virtually feel the chair upon which I was sitting, gently lifting, waiting to transport me to my imagined places of adventure, intrigue and unstructured, unfettered play.
So, imagination, magic, mystical creatures, adventure and a desire to weave them into everyday life have always figured heavily in my life. I firmly believe that if you weave the extraordinary into the ordinary, the magic into the mundane and manage to find a little enchantment in the everyday, you set a perfect starting point for children to lead full and creative lives. The great outdoors is the perfect place to foster this.
With this in mind, in 2008 I wrote a book, the aim of which was to inspire parents/carers to spend time outside with children. Outdoors is where imagination and discovery collide in the most spectacular fashion. Mother Nature’s secrets are just begging to be discovered and what’s more, she is a brilliant patient teacher and your child a willing student. Everything about outdoors is pure magic – including kicking back under the shade of a tree with book in hand.
Now, with two young children of my own, I delight in spending time with them curled up outside with a book. We have just started reading The Wishing Chair together. I hope they too enjoy listening to the story and the k-thunk of my heart and that I’m successfully kick-starting their beautiful creative minds and a lasting love of reading.
Small Fry Outdoors helps children find the magic in everyday outdoor activities.
Small Fry Outdoors stimulates children’s imagination, creativity and physical activity.
Small Fry Outdoors is full of ideas for enjoying seasonal planting and fresh food.
Small Fry Outdoors inspires parents and carers with easy-to-do ideas, recipes and activities.
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But the Magic Pudding is also alive. It walks and it talks and it's got a personality like no other. A meaner, sulkier, snider, snarlinger Pudding you've never met.
So Bunyip Bluegum (the koala bear) finds out when he joins Barnacle Bill (the sailor) and Sam Sawnoff (the penguin bold) as members of the Noble Society of Pudding Owners, whose "members are required to wander along the roads, indulgin' in conversation, song and story, and eatin' at regular intervals from the Pudding."
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