Posts filed under: Middle Grade

Congratulations to everyone who entered The Grandest Competition to design a new room for The Grandest Hotel on Earth. I was overwhelmed by the brilliant ideas for rooms and judging was very nearly impossible! Rooms where you get your own loyal tiger, rooms that are bright stars, rooms where you write and enter your own story, an ‘almost endless room’. All entries will be exhibited on the website as soon as I can get them up! But for now, here are the winners!

WINNER AGE 10+

 Ester’s Fruit Room – WINNER

Everything in the “Fruit Room” is actual edible fruit. The walls are watermelon and the floor is strawberry. There is a strawberry bed with pears holding it up. Next to the bed is a beside table which is a pineapple with an actual orange lamp (although it doesn’t work that well and is completely broken when the guest takes a bite out of it). There is an apple rug with a big bite in it from the previous guest. There is a comfortable big banana chair with a strawberry table next to it with an apple, orange, grapes, pineapple and a pear on it ready to be eaten. In the room is Vincent and his pocket dog Min.


 

WINNERS AGE 8+

GIRLS

Hayley’s Sleeping Panda Room – WINNER

This room has a sleeping panda to comfort you, panda giving you a dance party when you walk in, bamboo for your pandas. A deluxe TV to watch. Last but not least a bathroom with a bamboo towel to save the environment.

Rosie’s Mythical Creatures Room – WINNER

You share a room with amazing ,cute, friendly  mythical creatures. There is a hammock to sleep on and before you go to bed you can play with them. Also you can play with them in the morning!

BOYS

Aiden’s Gravity Arcade Room – WINNER

A flying arcade


 

WINNER 7+

Harper’s Jinx Yourself Lucky Room – WINNER

In the Jinx Yourself Lucky Room it looks like a normal room but when you think negative the exact opposite happens.

 

Isla’s Underwater Room – RUNNER UP

This is the underwater room. The beds are seashells and Vincent is the one with the V on his blue shirt. There is also a Mermaid in the tank. A school of fish that are grey. One shark and dolphin staring at each other. A wrinkly blob fish which is floating in the water unhappily and 2 puffer fish. Finally, if you look closely you can see Vincent’s pocket dog Min!!! 


 

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Lisa’s The Infinity Cartoon Room

How this room works is that when you walk into the room there will be a robot with a big screen where you search a film or draw your own world then when you press the button on the robot then your world will be a reality.

Elliot’s Animalia Room

This room has different biomes. The biomes are rainforest, desert, mountains, snowy, ocean and they all lead to the castle of Animalia. When you walk inside the room you will be in the first biome, the rainforest. There is a hut in each biome. You have to find this hut, in this hut there is a bed and a back door. You go through the hut’s backdoor and you will appear in the next biome. You have to go through all the biomes to get to the castle.  Once you reach the castle of Animalia this is the last place you need to be. You get your own huge room with gold all over the place, you can’t remove any of the gold or you get teleported back to the beginning and have to start again. The castle of Animalia guards the kingdom. The king is an animal, he has the ability to turn into other animals and can control any other animals. He has a special crown with a magical gem stone and if you get this crown you rule Animalia for the time you are living in this room. The crown only works in the kingdom of Animalia. 

Christian’s Gaming Room

Like Gaming? Yes? Then it’s the PERFECT room for you! Sit in the nicest couch ever & play on the TV. 

Izzy’s Zootopia

As soon as you walk into this amazing animal paradise you will also notice that there is a wonderful leopard print bed cover with a beautiful soft pig rug under your feet then you will see a stunning wallpaper full of palm trees and so much more!

Joshua’s Season’s Room

A room where you can choose the season and weather in the room

Brooke’s The Come to Life Room

In this room you can pick a book and the characters come to life in your room like the 3 bears come in your room and goldilocks.

Arjun’s The Book Room

Once you enter this room you type a book on the type pad and the part of the story you would like to stay in. You can change the part of the story you want to stay in by going to the type pad and changing it. Also known as the “almost endless room”

Tom’s Skate Ramp Room

In the Skate Ramp Room you can skate the ramp whenever you want. It is not too steep but it is good and it still has a bed, a closet and a door.

Sean K’s Read Your Mind Room

In this room you’ll walk in and hear what the person that walks in with you is thinking. You can set it to read your mind or someone else’s.

Eadie’s Sleep Over Room

This is the sleepover room. It’s great for boys and girls included there is lollies and paper and pen. Also toilet and shower. Of course sleeping bags.

It’s on!

A competition to design some new rooms for The Grandest Hotel on Earth!

Here’s what you need to do. Think up an idea for a new room. Draw it. Write a few lines telling me all about the room. And then email it to me: lisa@lisanicol.com.au

Entries close 15 July 2020. Due to that old corona virus, the deadline for entries is being extended until 22 JULY.  (There’s a lot of uncertainty when schools will be back and some teachers have requested a little more time)

All drawings will be displayed in a gallery on the website. And the winner of the BEST NEW ROOM drawing will receive their VERY OWN POCKET DOG!! ( It will not be living I’m afraid. It will be stuffed. But it WILL fit in your pocket!!). The winner will be announced on Friday the 17th of July. 

If you need a refresher of what rooms already exist at The Grand, you’ll need to reread Chapter 6!

Can’t WAIT to see all your drawings and ideas for rooms! Happy imagining everyone!

I got a lovely surprise in the mail the other day. A beautiful letter and a magnificent drawing from a girl called Rosie. Rosie said it was OK for me to share her picture. It’s a family portrait of everyone at The Grand. I think her likenesses of Rupert and Zelda are particularly wonderful. And how cute is Min!

Rosie suggested I write a sequel to Vincent. I often think about it. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Rosie is a writer too. I’m looking forward to reading Rosie’s work one day.

Recently, I was sitting at my desk in a bit of a funk. I was having problems with a story.

Big problems.

I couldn’t seem to get it to work no matter what I tried. I hated everything I was writing.  Maybe I don’t have any more stories, I worried. Fear curled up in the pit of my stomach like a sleeping snake.  So I just kept on writing  – anything! – trying not to disturb it.

Then one morning, early, while I was writing, writing, there was a scratchy kind of tapping noise at my office door.

I got up and opened it. And watched in disbelief  as a strange bird walked in, climbed up onto my desk and plonked itself next to my keyboard.

I had never seen a bird like it.

It was as big as a duck with owlish eyes and mossy green feathers.  And I don’t mean to be rude, but it was quite fat.

‘Well, since you seem to be all out of stories,’ said the strange bird, ‘how about you write one of mine?’

It can talk?

‘You better believe it,’ replied the bird. ‘And have I got a story for you.’

‘You do?’

‘I do.’

Well, I had to admit, I was intrigued. For a writer, that’s a good sign. So I inched towards my chair, trying not to go too close to the fat feathered creature, and sat down.

‘Ahem,’ I sorted of coughed, my hands hovering over the keyboard. ‘So..um.. what’s your name?’

‘Hector,’ said the bird, ‘And I am a kakapo. That’s K – A  – K – A – P – O.’

Glorious photo of a Kakapo by Mike Bodie

This week I received the grandest drawing. It’s by a nine-year-old girl called Taleea. After reading Vincent and The Grandest Hotel on Earth with her mum, she drew this magnificent picture of  Florence and Vincent having breakfast (with a giraffe of course!). Florence looks SO incredibly grand and Taleea’s attention to detail is astounding. Note the musical emerald footwear, Vincent’s name above the top pocket of his uniform. And the gorgeous painting on the wall of the hotel itself, the snowcapped Mabombo Ranges soaring into the night sky behind it. Just breathtaking. Thank you so much Taleea for letting me exhibit your beautiful drawing on my website. Perhaps one day you might like to be a children’s book illustrator and you can officially illustrate my books! Wouldn’t that be grand!

 

Elephants and pianos keep appearing in my work. 

There are pianos and elephants at The Grandest Hotel on Earth. And the new book I’m writing has them too!

Elephants are the most majestic creatures. They fill me with awe and wonder. When I came across Paul Barton and his piano playing for elephants, I was captivated. I have watched his clips on YouTube many times over.

I particularly love this one.

Peter the elephant’s love of music is undeniable. The music delights him. He has to move his body and he has to woop and holler. (His mate seems to be having a pretty good time too!) I think Peter feels exactly the same things I feel when I listen to music that I like. 

Take a look and see if you can relate to how Peter the Elephant feels when he listens to music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjsu3SGAdLs

 

You know it’s been too long between posts when you can’t remember how to log in to your own website. Which could be good for security. Say if someone dangled me by my feet over a cliff and yelled “tell me the password to your website or it’s all over baby!” I could honestly reply “Well I’d genuinely love to help you but I can’t remember.” Might get me out of that sticky situation.

I’m beyond excited about my new book Vincent and The Grandest Hotel on Earth coming out on 2 July! You won’t believe this place. It really is wilder than the African savanna, more fantastical that Disneyland and more magical than Shangri-La. Can I just say pocket dogs and sloths…and wait till you hear about the rooms….

Stop the presses! (Do we still have presses these days?)

Today I witnessed an event that will surely go down in history.

Today I spotted the first ever book week Dr Boogaloo!

I had restrain myself from popping balloons and throwing children up into the air and screaming ‘Yippee! A book week Boogaloo! It’s a book week Dr Boogaloo!!!!’

The book week Dr Boogaloo -otherwise known as Beau! – had on a shiny silver suit and round glasses (which unfortunately don’t appear in the picture so you’ll just have to take my word for that). He looked  like a brand new pencil. Just like Dr Boogaloo!

Here’s Beau and me…

..and here’s another friend I made at lunch.

 

Beau you made me one very happy author today!!

And can I say your classmates were awesome too.(I’d mention them all by name but I forgot to get their parent’s permission. You know who you are guys!!) We even invented a new drink – SPROKE! (Sorry kids! I’ve already trademarked it. First in best dressed, you know how these things go. Got to be quick!  Insert winking emoji because I can’t work out how to yet…)

What a great day! Thanks to CBCA Lunch with the Stars. The roast chicken was tops!

 

 

It’s very exciting news!

Dr Boogaloo and The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter is being adapted for the stage as a musical by the frighteningly talented Yve Blake and Alice Chance.

Yve Blake

gotta love a girl who can pull off a koala-do

I’m trying not to get too excited because these things take time. And you should never count your musicals before the curtains part on opening night. But it’s hard not to get excited when you’ve heard the songs Yve and Alice have written. They’re beautiful and funny and moving too…

As a writer, hearing your characters turned into songs is completely magical.

And wait till you hear their ideas for Leonard! I have a feeling Leonard is going to love the limelight. He loves an audience, as you know!

 

 

Boy oh boy. It’s been a while. Forgive me for not posting but I’ve been out and about with Dr Boogaloo and The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter. And so much has happened, I’m not sure where to start!

Perhaps we’ll go back to Russ The Story Bus. Now THAT was fun. Russ the Story Bus is part of the SWF Festival of Moving Stories. It’s a big bus that travels round the countryside visiting schools and giving out brand new free books. I got to go cherry picking in Young – where I also ate too many prunes! Very NOT wise when you have long bus trips ahead. Sorry Mr Cheeseman. Mr Cheeseman was my driver! Luckily for me, Mr Cheeseman did not mind a prune himself so we made good company.

Mr Cheeseman likes BIG things.

He’s a very happy fellow and taking his picture with REALLY BIG things  makes him even happier. Note to self – only ever go on long road trips with very jolly people. So much fun!

Here’s Mr Cheeseman with a GIGANTIC tennis racquet in Barellan. Barellan is a tiny town where Aussie champion tennis player Evonne Goolagong grew up. (We made a special detour just to visit the gigantic racquet and we were very nearly late to school!)

And here’s a gigantic dog we saw in Yass! That’s a normal size dog next to him. You can just see the top of his head. I think Mr Cheeseman was too scared to stand next to this dog. Which was very sensible!

We also visited a gigantic guitar which made Mr Cheeseman as happy as a banjo player.

I love road trips. There’s something relaxing about being in transit. Going somewhere feels good.

And as well as seeking out GIGANTIC things, we did squeeze in a few school visits. The kids were so smart. It always blows me away how creative and clever kids are. We listened to different pieces of music and came up with ideas for stories and characters. Music is great for getting your magical thinking all fired up. Lots of writers use music to kickstart their imagination. If you get stuck with your creative writing you should try it.

Shoutout to Hay Public School, St Mary’s Primary School,  Cootamundra Public School, Young Public School, Young North Public School and Yass Public School. Thanks for having us! We had the best time!