A spoonful of salt helps the offal puree go down… and other retro parenting advice

Posted on Dec 5, 2012 in Zookeeping

I’ve been reading my parents’ parenting manuals recently. It’s astonishing how much has changed in 33 years. Many 1970s child development experts advised the exact opposite to their modern equivalents. Haven’t taught your child to read before s/he is three? You’ve missed your chance, bozo, is the message of Teach Your Baby to Read (Glenn […]

How not to get published

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 in Writing

Telling writers how to get published is a boon industry. More than 4 million web pages offer advice on writing the all-important query letter. They’ve left out some important points though. Here are my own top tips, collated during my years as a commissioning editor. True stories, people. The opening gambit Do not start by […]

I don’t suppose you have a copy of Fly Fishing…

Posted on Oct 23, 2012 in Writing, Zookeeping

Last week we hit Cornwall’s beaches for a summer holiday. Postponed to autumn because we suspected a holiday might not be very relaxing with three children under four. As it turns out, that long-awaited fourth birthday was not a marked transition towards adulthood, turning oldest chimp into useful third pair of hands. Instead, his chimpacity […]

Battle of the adjectives

Posted on Aug 7, 2012 in Zookeeping

My lucky, lucky sisters are on grown up gap years, spending 2012 travelling the world. Great timing on their part, as they are several continents away just as my desperation for a babysitter peaks. Still, I get occasional updates to break up the domestic slog. ‘Just been hang gliding over Rio’. ‘Survived the parachute jump! […]

Making cutting-edge science accessible

Posted on Jul 27, 2012 in Books

Raintree’s Sci-Hi series is an excellent KS3/middle school resource. It tackles cutting-edge science using simple language, without shying away from challenging concepts such as ethics. It was great to delve into topics last studied during my degree, for my titles on cloning and stem cell research. Favourite fact: Antithrombin is a protein needed by patients […]

Setting an example

Posted on Jul 26, 2012 in Zookeeping

The moment I saw this Post-it Quote on my son’s nursery wall was the moment I realized he has no idea I work from home while he’s at nursery. Cue an explanation that I write books for children to read, and plenty of references to Mummy working on the computer. A few months on, I’m […]

When Will the Sun Go Out?

Posted on Jul 24, 2012 in Books

My first book for Pearson Bug Club: When Will the Sun Go Out? and other strange solar system science (Pearson, 2012). Great fun to write (the remit: ‘be as funny as possible’) and the insides look gorgeous. Favourite fact from the book: Anyone who spots a new asteroid is allowed to name it! First you […]

A Time Traveller’s Guide to the Future

Posted on Jul 24, 2012 in Books

I‘ll begin at the beginning, with my first 2012 title, A Time Traveller’s Guide to the Future (Collins). Publisher’s blurb: Take a closer look at the amazing changes the future may hold, including robopets, space tourism and locust burgers, as well as the wider impact of our future life on the climate and extinction of […]