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The What on Earth Institute of Wonder

One elephant, one kakapo, one unlicensed teenage driver, one boy waiting for the world to end and a twelve-year-old girl with a very special gift.

Sal has always had an affinity with animals – especially the lost kind. But when two rare and endangered creatures appear out of nowhere, life takes a detour into strange and uncharted territory.

Join Sal, Bartholomew and Roy on a mind-boggling expedition into the secrets of the Animal Kingdom with only an invisible map of the human heart to guide them. (Unless, of course, you count the talking parrot.) What on Earth could possibly go wrong…?

Ah….I’ll let you in on a secret. A lot!

I’m so excited and nervous that The What on Earth Institute of Wonder is coming out on the 31st of August.  If you adore animals and don’t mind a laugh, I reckon you’re going to love it. Well I hope you are. And there’s plenty of that in there too. Hope.

Stay tuned over the coming months for some sneak peaks and stories behind the story…

 

 

Vincent heads to Germany

What a great cover!

 

Book Week

That suit! That smile! NEVER seen a grander Vincent than Lachie! And a Florence too with her emerald green musical shoes and a baby elephant by her side.

Brilliant costumes Sophie and Lachie. You take my breath away!

(There’s a rumour you have ideas for new rooms. Can’t wait to hear them!) Thank you SO much for letting me share.

Competition Closed!

That’s it! Entries are now closed for the Grand Drawing Competition. Thank you to everyone who entered! The winner will be announced very shortly (Monday 27th July)  and pocket dog despatched as soon as possible. All entries will also be displayed on the website.  I can’t wait to show you the spectacular imaginations and talents of everyone who entered. Stay tuned!

Grand Competition

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!

Rosie’s Drawing

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.

Kakapo

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

The Grandest Letter

I got a lovely email the other day. It was from a girl called Lila. I asked Lila if I could put it on my website because it’s like the best review ever. And she replied  ‘That’s fine. I would love that. (smiley face)’

So here’s Lila’s lovely letter. 

 
Dear Lisa,
 
As soon as I picked up your book (the grandest hotel on earth) I could not put it down. Your writing is amazingly emotional, if you would have seen me reading you would have seen tears running down my cheeks or me laughing hysterically. A real joy to read. I could read it every second of the day.
 
Your regards, Lila (age 10)
 

Elephants & Pianos

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

 

 

 

Out and About with Vincent..

Vincent has finally hit the shelves! It’s been great criss-crossing the city visiting bookstores and hearing what people think of the book! We also had a launch party with smoking sodas and whatever-flavour-you-think-of-balls….Weirdly most people thought they tasted like cheese and bacon. It’s funny how our imaginations desert us at the most inopportune times. Anyway, here’s a few reviews and photos….I’ll be signing books this Saturday 20 July, 10am at Lindfield Learning Hub. Come along if you’re in that neck of the woods…

REVIEWS

“This is absolutely GRAND! I adored it. What a wonderful read!”

Karen Foxlee
Author, Lenny’s Book of Everything

“… so alive with magic and wonder … simply impossible to resist. This is a charming and surprisingly moving delight for readers aged eight and older seeking more of Nevermoor’s capriciousness, with all the sensitivity of Kate DiCamillo’s best. Four stars.”

Phil Lesnie, BOOKS+PUBLISHING

“Utterly beautiful, completely joyous, just stunning..”

Megan Daley, Children’s Books Daily

This book is sure to win awards, including children’s choice book awards. It is highly recommended.

Dianne Bates, Buzz Words

“..an epic and addictive adventure for junior readers. This is a book-world to fall into headfirst, dream about when you aren’t reading and fantasise about long after you’ve come to the end… This is a book that is destined to become a treasured favourite in so many homes and I predict lots of people are going to be talking about it.”

Shaye Wardrop,  Kid’s Book Review

The moment I opened this book I was whisked away into this fantastical world and really did not want to come out. But of course I FLEW through the book because it is utterly unputdownable.”

“This is the type of book that will be loved by kids aged 8 to 11. It is full of all the best things that your dreams could imagine!”

Rob, Lamont Books

This novel is so engaging it is difficult to stop reading it until the very end!

Patricia Halsall, Magpies

“..an imaginative and hopeful read full of charming characters and an intrinsic sense of humanity…..that I liken to one of my favourite junior fiction novels, Withering-by-Sea.”

Better Read Than Dead Bookshop

“This is a delightful read for 8 plus readers that has heart and is smart. Quirky. Full of great imagery. Echoes of Dahl and the work of filmmaker Wes Anderson. Lisa Nicol is an Aussie writer to watch!”

Paul MacDonald, The Children’s Bookshop

“I give this book five out of five stars – yes it is THAT GOOD!”

Momo Time To Read 

‘Absolutely Grand….If your little reader enjoyed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they will love this book.”

Better Reading

A smoking soda & the last bowl of whatever-flavour-you-think-of-balls

Laughing at my own jokes and posing with Vincent perched on my right shoulder like a parrot….

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