Thursday, 4 November 2010


SmallBean loves history. Knights, Romans, vikings, ancient Greeks, celts and Robin Hood(?) all feature a lot in his imaginative play. He has many books which he reads and reads and reads, and his knowledge of certain historical periods outclasses mine hugely. (Well, let's face it, my history is zilch so even SmallerBean aged 2 1/2 probably knows more than me...)

One of his favourite authors is Marcia Williams. Have you heard of her? She rewrites history books in the form of comic strips with the most detailed pictures you can imagine. And she often includes little speech bubbles which are a bit rude. Which makes Small love them even more. Her books we have read include Robin Hood, The Iliad and the Odyssey, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Greek Myths and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. We will be dipping into Shakespeare, Dickens and Inventors at some point. If you have a child who is not too keen on history or reading, I cannot recommend enough for you to go and borrow one of Marcia's books from your library or buy one here or here. I have truly learnt lots from her. Maybe my historical understanding would have been better if I had listened harder to Mrs Anderson and Mrs Rhys when I was in 4UN but they really could have made Sutton Hoo and raising the Mary Rose heaps more interesting. I was asked to stop doing history at the first possible opportunity ie at the end of 4UN. Just think. If Marcia had taught me history I could have been an academic on TV, working with The Snows and making programmes about battles in fields in 1538. Or digging up the City of London with Baldrick, sorry, Tony Robinson and talking for twenty minutes about a chink of brown pottery. Mmmm. Worth thinking about isn't it?

I digress.

Look at the detail and humour in the pictures. Aren't they incredible?
The reason I am telling you all this is because the other day, SmallBean decided to write his own book. This is a BIG THING because although SmallBean loves to read and can do so very well, he is Not So Keen On Writing. Or drawing. So I had a huge smile on my face when he made his announcement. And he was most adamant that he would be illustrating and scribing in the style of Marcia Williams. He is writing Robin Hood and I thought you might like to have a peek at what he has done.

There. Isn't that marvellous? Can you tell which one is Robin? Pick out that dastardly Sheriff?
Don't you love the way a volleyball game suddenly starts?

There are Other Books on the last page

and a bar code on the back cover.

Now those of you with girls will be thinking 'Well, Florence/Maud/Donatella (delete as necessary) has been doing that sort of thing since she was three. Just what is the big deal?' Those of you with boys may be sharing in my incredulity and glee. You will possibly understand where this big smile has come from. Pencil choosing is a rare occurrence in this house and when it happens I like it. Especially when something so fab has been achieved. When the rest of Rodin (sic) Hood has been written and illustrated, I am going to scan it and send it to Marcia (you see how I am on first name terms with her??) just to show her how she influences Young People (or Young Person) in such a good way. I hope she likes SmallBeans book as much as we like hers.

Thanks Marcia.

(I emailed Marcia Williams and she gave me permission to use photos for this post. Thanks You.)


  1. You know, I always thought that there wasn't enough volleyball in the Tales of Robin Hood.

    Does Small like Horrible Histories on CBBC? Has me howling with laughter and humming the songs.

    Am worried now about not ever seeking permission to show photos of illustrators work!

  2. Fantastic book! That's great that he decided to write his own book, I love that they decide to play volleyball too! :) x

  3. Oh yes sounds sooooooo familiar. My boy is 12 and any time he was inspired to write was major. I got so cross with his (female) primary teacher who would constantly show me Emilys book for me to compare. I told her I was not Emilys Mum and as such couldn't give one about her work.He has a teacher now who bothers to find out what interests him and then gets him to write about that, mostly Marvel Avengers.

  4. It is a rare boy that likes writing, I'm afraid! Having one of each has really brought that home to me.
    Good old Marcia! We have the King Arthur book,I think.

  5. As a Mum of 2 boys I know about their lack of interest in writing. However I do know if they are inspired it can flow very well.

    We also have the King Arthur book. Both my 2 love history and anything in a fun form which keeps them insterested gets the thumbs up from me. Horrible Histories is the next thing you'll have to get - boys love the blood & gore!!

  6. Definitely one for the keepsake box i think!!!
    as a mum of boys (and a girl) i think you should wallow in the glow of enormous pride and keep that huge grin on your face it will make people wonder what you are smiling about!!!

  7. Brrrrrilliant! Good for him!

    I bought a lovely book about how to make pop up books and carousel books and all sorts - so a lot of the fun is not only writing the story but doing some paper engineering too - migh that interest him d'you think?

  8. oooh priceless - definitely a keeper that one! and now I am very intrigued by dottycookies comment about pop up books. xxx

  9. What a great post! Really made me smile!

  10. How fantastic, I will be checking these books out in our library for sure. All mine are into art but not really writing (and they are boys and girls) so this may be a way to encourage them :-)

    Thanks for your comment at mine by the way, little Esme is much better now thank goodness.

  11. I have just logged on for a catch up!! I love the book! Sending lots of love from snowy SW xx