Tag Archives: Holly Sterling

15 things NOT to do with a Puppy

March 23rd is National Puppy Day. At least if you’re American. But yes, it’s nice to have a day for puppies.

Margaret McAllister has written a short, but informative, picture book on what not to do with a puppy, with adorable puppy illustrations by Holly Sterling.

Margaret McAllister and Holly Sterling, 15 things NOT to do with a Puppy

Apparently you shouldn’t try to teach your puppy to play the tuba. Personally I feel it’d be an all right kind of thing to do. Most likely impossible, and if it worked, the neighbours might be annoyed, but it seems an OK idea as such.

The 15 things are clearly silly, and you’d never really try any of them, but that’s the fun of this book. Although… maybe… No, perhaps not.

Then there is some common sense advice at the end, on how to treat your puppy, to become really good friends. But be warned, if you don’t already have a puppy, you’ll want one now.

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Everybody feels…

That’s the thing I most often say when trying to improve how someone is feeling. I point out that the people around them very likely also feel a bit like they do, whether it’s nerves or upsets, or anything else. Because we are remarkably similar in so many ways. And just because they aren’t displaying those feelings, doesn’t mean they don’t have them.

Moira Butterfield and Holly Sterling, Everybody feels...

This is what the set of four picture books written by Moira Butterfield and illustrated by Holly Sterling, are wanting to tell their young readers. It’s OK, and perfectly normal, to be scared, for instance. We all are at some stage in our lives, and more often than others think.

The same goes for happy – which is more obvious, maybe – and sad, and I don’t suppose angry is so hard to miss, although it could be.

These four books are rather lovely, in that they show our young characters that their feelings are normal, and they are shared, and that this feeling will pass. If your cat died, you will eventually be happy again, while not forgetting your cat.

Sometimes it can be hard to talk about feelings with a child, so these books should be very useful in many situations. They also show the child that other children can be understanding and supportive. It’s easy to forget this.

The Makar and the First Minister

In the end it was just me and Shappi Khorsandi’s handbag. Fantastic handbag, actually, and I felt sort of honour bound to guard it while it was sitting there all alone. Now, if you knew me, you’d realise how odd this was. It was mere minutes after I had spectacularly missed taking photographs of Shappi. Twice. Because I didn’t recognise her well enough. And now I know what her handbag looks like.

Jackie Kay and Nicola Sturgeon

This was probably due to the excitement ‘backstage’ after the photo session with Nicola Sturgeon and Jackie Kay. We’d waited, the way you do. And then it happened so fast, the way it tends to with people who have security staff and lots of commitments, but not so many that a First Minister can’t interview a poet at a book festival. They were nicely colour coordinated, the two of them. And it’s a sign of popularity for a politician when she is addressed by her first name.

So I missed Shappi’s photo call, coming immediately after this. Then I missed my unobtrusive photos of Shappi as she was being given the Chris Close treatment. And then everyone left, except for the handbag.

Prior to this I had skipped a book signing with Simon Callow. I decided I already had enough pictures of him, so went and sat in the yurt reading and eating my lunch. Only minutes later he joined me on that bench. Admittedly with an interviewer, but still. You can’t escape the great and the good. Luckily for Simon I hadn’t helped myself to the grapes in the fruit bowl as had been my intention, so he was able to polish them off as he talked.

Zaffar Kunial

Previously out on the grass, I had come across poet Zaffar Kunial seemingly doing an impromptu session with a large group of people. Maybe these things just happen as fans encounter someone they admire…

Holly Sterling

Carol Ann Duffy

Gillian Clarke

Then it was back and forth for me, catching children’s illustrators in the children’s bookshop and the more grown-up poets in the signing tent. Holly Sterling had a line of eager children after her event, and staying with the Christmas theme, so did Carol Ann Duffy across the square, along with her fellow Welsh poet Gillian Clarke. After them Jackie Kay signed, without Nicola Sturgeon. And I finally caught up with Shappi!

Jackie Kay

Shappi Khorsandi

Fiona Bird

Found Fiona Bird signing her nature book mid-afternoon, and she has such an appropriate name for the kind of books she writes! I went hunting for Kathryn Evans and Michael Grant, who had both been hung along the boardwalks by Chris Close. Had to try Kathryn several times, to see if the light would improve.

Kathryn Evans by Chris Close

Michael Grant by Chris Close

And there were no photos, but I glimpsed Kate Leiper, and spoke to both Lindsey Fraser and Kathryn Ross.

Tried to use my afternoon sensibly, so checked out various books in the bookshops. That didn’t mean I actually did sensible thinking, looking up ‘un-known’ names or anything. If I had I wouldn’t have been so surprised later.