Please tell us a bit of what your book is about.
Darcy and the Dinosaurs tells the story of Darcy, a little boy who just can’t sleep. After making shadow puppets dance on his bedroom wall and counting sheep, he decides to sneak into the kitchen to find a snack, where hears a strange noise coming from his mother’s vegetable garden. A little bit scared, but even more curious, he creeps outside to take a look. What he finds takes him on a wild adventure back in time, involving numerous dinosaurs and a surprising encounter with a T-Rex!
What kinds of themes / issues are raised in this story?
An inquisitive mind keeps you moving forward and making new discoveries, while a little fear keeps you from going too fast or too far. Look before you leap!
Of course, readers will also discover some different dinosaur species as they follow Darcy’s journey.
How are these important to you in raising awareness to your readers?
My primary goal when writing for children is that they want to read. So it’s important to me that the story is engaging, interesting and fun. While the issues raised are of course important, anything to didactic can turn children off, particularly older readers. Children are clever and don’t want more lectures!
That said, I do believe in the importance of the underlying message.
I actively encourage my children to have an inquisitive mind and be cautiously curious. I think that balance is crucial in life – for children and adults alike!
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
I became passionate about children’s literature after having the first of my three children. I actually began this particular story concept before the birth of my youngest (a daughter), so I had my sons firmly in mind when developing the character of Darcy. As for the use of dinosaurs, I was inspired by a short story competition which had a “back in time” theme.
What is your favourite part of the book?
When the hungry T-Rex reveals what is really causing his tummy to rumble!
How would you describe the publishing process? Were they supportive? How long did it take?
Extremely collaborative. I worked with a small, independent publisher on this project and the team was hands on and communicative. They were extremely supportive of my vision for the story. They also worked quickly! It was less than 12 months between submission and publication.
What was the collaboration like between author and illustrator? Juicy gossip, please!
Unfortunately I have no juicy gossip! My illustrator is from the US so we haven’t met, spoken, or even exchanged emails. However I was fortunate enough to receive early sketches of the characters from the publisher for my input. I loved his illustrations so no problems at all.
What has the feedback / audience response been like so far?
Wonderful! It’s been utterly heartwarming to receive such positive feedback, both from my peers as well as from children themselves! I’ve received lots of lovely photos of gorgeous children reading Darcy.
There’s also been some great feedback regarding the quality of the book itself. BlOOturtle is an eco-friendly publisher, using all recycled paper, vegan ink, carbon neutral production methods etc (find out more at http://blooturtle.com/troobloo-program/ ) so people have been amazed at the beautiful look and feel of the book.
What teaching and learning ideas would you suggest to complement this book?
Personally, I would suggest using the adventure as a catalyst to discussing some of the issues mentioned above.
However, these additional teaching ideas were provided by the lovely Amy – primary school teacher and children’s literature enthusiast from Baby Book Club.
Darcy and the Dinosaurs 📚 By Nicole Madigan 📚 Published in 2017 by blOOturtle Publishing 📚📚📚 We love dinosaurs in our house at the moment so of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to read about Darcy and his adventures! This is a story about a little boy who can't sleep, so he decides to hop out of bed and get a snack. Just as he is about to eat a cookie, a noise in the garden disturbs him and he heads outside. You won't believe what Darcy finds! After reading, spend some time with your child/ren participating in imaginative play. In this book, Darcy makes shadow puppets on his wall. See what different shadows and shapes you and your little ones can make at bedtime or out on the footpath on a nice sunny day. Use it as a storytelling opportunity and encourage your child to use their imagination. Make your own time machine (cardboard boxes, chairs and tables and sheets etc) with your child…where would they like to go if they could go anywhere? Would they like to meet dinosaurs like Darcy or would they go somewhere else? Pull out some dress ups or props and let your imaginations run wild. This would be a great rainy day activity! The book introduces to its readers a number of dinosaurs. If your child expresses an interest, help them learn more about dinosaurs or make some dinosaur puppets, a dinosaur diorama or paintings. 📚📚📚 In the classroom, this book could be used as a mentor text for narrative writing for middle and upper primary students. Show your students the first double page spread and identify the different literary devices used: alliteration and onomatopoeia ("pitter patter"), personification ("he made hand shadow puppets dance") and descriptive language. Students can enhance their own narrative writing by including some literary devices. Practise parts of speech with your students: find 10 adjectives, 9 verbs, 8 nouns etc. Write a sequel to the story: what happens the next night? There are lots of opportunities to discuss new or unfamiliar vocabulary. Encourage your students to learn the meaning of new words and use them in their own writing. 📚📚📚 MORE IN COMMENTS
Any details on your book launch you’d like to tell us about?
Stay tuned for a combined launch following the release of my second book, Ballerina Monkey.
Please let us know where we can find more on you and your book.
My new author webpage is currently under construction! However, you can find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/stellacommunications
Thank you for sharing your imaginative story with us, Nicole! 👦🏼 🐉
Having always been an avid reader and lover of words, Nicole’s writing career began as a newspaper journalist, where she spent several years before switching mediums, taking on a role as an on-air television reporter with Channel Nine.
After the birth of her first child some years later, Nicole returned to her true love – writing. Since then, she has enjoyed a successful career as a freelance journalist and writer, enabling her to work around her growing family, while writing for a wide variety of high profile publications.
Three children later, Nicole’s love of children’s literature has continued to grow, as has her belief that reading to your child is one of the most precious gifts you can give them.
Nicole is the author of Darcy and the Dinosaurs (out now) and soon-to-be-released, Ballerina Monkey (out late 2017), both published by BlOOturtle Publishing (www.blooturtle.com)
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