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Curious George is a movie that can penetrate even the most noise-cancelling of headphones. Writing a novel in the same room as a four-year-old watching Curious George is not in my top 10 productivity tips.

It’s been a long time between posts here on Life With Gusto because I’ve been devoting my writing hours and, frankly, all my jokes, to this novel I’ve been working on. That seems to have paid off because a very nice fiction publisher at HarperCollins has acquired it, and its younger sibling which is currently only a gleam in its mother’s eye, for publication.

This is a dream come true, as I say in the press release they sent out today*, only slightly marred by the fact that I now have to do a huge amount of work. Now don’t get me wrong, I love hard work. Mad for it. It’s just that up until now I haven’t had to juggle a whole lot of it with those attention-sapping, disrespects of deadlines and creative process known as my children. But everyone else manages it and so will I, and I’ll complain about it extensively here on the blog.

The news of this book deal has been received with great excitement by almost all my family and friends, with the notable and vocal exception of Garnet. To be fair though, he’s been really sick the past couple of weeks with influenza, which is currently tearing through our community. (more…)

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The next book we’re borrowing from the library is ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’.

Right now one of May Blossom’s favourite books is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. It has been in painfully high rotation for about a month now, which means we read it to her at least twice every day.

To its credit, Bear Hunt is not yet shitting me to tears in the way some of her previous favourites have – the day she didn’t ask for Oxenbury and Mem Fox’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes as the last book of the evening, after SIX SOLID MONTHS OF IT, I wept with gratitude. But it has only been a month of the bear so we shall see.

May Blossom, on the other hand, is beginning to be seriously irritated by a couple of points in Bear Hunt. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, a thousand times, it’s the retelling of a traditional children’s rhyme about looking for a bear. On the way, we encounter obstacles, none of which can be gone over or under, and which we must simply go through, as hard as that might be. So we have to go through long grass (swishy swashy), a big dark forest (stumble trip) and a deep cold river (splash splosh) and so on. Rosen and Oxenbury’s version of the book stars a rather gormless father and his four children, who look to be roughly around ten, eight, six and one year old. They are accompanied on this fool’s venture by their dog, a border collie. They are, as far as the illustrations reveal, unarmed. (more…)

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