PRINCESS CLOWN – FRIDAY BOOK FEATURE

Princess Belle stepped forward and curtsied to the royal guests.

The King said, “This is my daughter, Princess Belle.”

The King of Danzania held out his hand. Forgetting she was wearing a clown trick ring, Belle shook his hand.

A zing of electricity buzzed from the ring …

Princess Clown is the new book from author Sheryl Gwyther and there’s not a dinosaur in sight (see Secrets of Eromanga).

Princess Clown is for younger readers and stars the quirky and talented Princess Belle who has aspirations to be a clown and her antics ensure that there is never a dull moment around the palace.

Not surprisingly, Princess Belle’s zest for fun doesn’t always meet with the King and Queen’s approval and causes a number of disasters in the kitchen, the school room and pretty much everywhere.

Not to be deterred, Princess Belle keeps on with her quirky and clowning ways.

When the King and Queen of Danzania come to visit with their son, Alan it looks as if Belle is headed for disaster again, but this time her merriment could just be what’s needed for the unhappy prince.

Maybe it is possible to be a princess and a clown after all.

Princess Clown is a chapter book for 7 to 8 year-olds and they will certainly be engaged by Sian Naylor’s colourful illustrations and Sheryl’s active humorous text.

The book idea came from a writing challenge the author set herself to put two words that didn’t match together, and try to write a story about them.

Sheryl says, I picked clown and princess. Before you could say ALLIBALLOO, out sprang Belle, a princess who would much rather be a clown.

The texture and brightness of the silver foil inlaid cover is bound to attract young readers’ attention and as well as being full of fun and colour, Princess Clown carries a strong theme of follow your dream no matter what.

Princess Clown is published by Blake Publishing as part of their Gigglers Blue fiction series of eight books. Princess Clown can be purchased from http://www.blake.com.au/Gigglers-Blue-2-Princess-Clown-p/9781741646481.htm

DIGGING UP DINOSAURS with Sheryl Gwyther

As part of our Dinosaur Week, we’re talking today to author Sheryl Gwyther about how she became a writer, and how she went to an actual dinosaur dig to research her book, Secrets of Eromanga.

Let’s start with your author’s journey, Sheryl.

I’d been crazy about reading books and writing bits and pieces since I was little, but other things got in the way – school, jobs, travel, university, art school. Then one day I knew what I should be doing with my life … writing books for young people.

You’re obviously dedicated to getting the research part right. Where was the dinosaur dig you went on?

It was on a sheep station near Winton, in western Queensland.

Sheryl on the fossil dig

Not only did I have fun digging up pieces of a huge sauropod dinosaur named Elliot, I uncovered the story lurking in my head. That story, with its two inter-weaving narratives, went on to become my first novel, Secrets of Eromanga, an adventure story for 9-12 year olds.

What’s Secrets of Eromanga about?

Twelve-year-old Ellie knows more about Australian dinosaur fossils than how to get friends. But she discovers more than friendship on an outback fossil dig site when she becomes entangled in a web of illegal fossil smuggling. She must find the courage and determination needed to save her friends.

fossilised dinosaur footprints

95 million years separate Ellie and a small ornithopod dinosaur that once lived beside the ancient inland waters of the Eromanga Sea. Both Ellie and the dinosaur face fears and uncertainty of their separate worlds. Time and fate binds them together. Neither can escape that fate.

Can you tell us something you learned about Australian dinosaurs when you were researching this book?

Everyone knows about T-Rex, Brontosaurus and Velociraptor.

Millions of years ago in the Cretaceous period, we had the Aussie versions of Rex, Bronto and Raptor here in Australia.  But they were species unique to this land. They appear in my book.

Teachers’ Notes are available:

View an extract from Secrets of Eromanga at:

What did you enjoy most about writing Secrets of Eromanga?

I enjoy writing stories that are set in modern times but also linking back in the past somehow – like in Secrets of Eromanga. It’s exciting finding out things that weave the past and the present together.

What have you been working on since you finished digging up dinosaurs?

Even though I’m still thrilled at the thought of finding more dinosaur bones, I haven’t written any more about those magnificent creatures.

This year I have more books and a short story coming out. The short story, Corn dolly Dead is in black dog books, Short and Scary anthology.

My chapter book, Princess Clown is out in early May, with Blake Publishing. It’s a funny chapter book about a very determined princess who would much rather make people laugh.

The second book is out in August with Pearson Australia. I had lots of fun writing Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper. Check out this link for more on these stories:

Sheryl also has a new blog just for kids at

http://sherylgwyther4kids.wordpress.com

Thanks for dropping in for a chat later, Sheryl. Perhaps you might like to come back one day to talk more about how you did your research for Secrets of Eromanga.

Dee