> The Beesley Buzz: August 2012

Wonderlands Festival Winners

Last Sunday, two up and coming young authors (aka my two sons!) were invited to the British Library's Wonderlands Festival as part of their prize they won in a creative writing competition with the theme of "My Favourite Place".

Daniel was the overall winner in his age category with his tear-jerking letter to his Granny he never knew entitled "My favourite place...the Sea" and Joshua was one of the runners-up with his poem "My favourite place...the Zoo" which, in true Joshua style, ended with a rude word that rhymes with zoo!

The boys were asked to read out their work in the amazing Storytelling tent hosted by the British Library's resident storyteller, Kate Corkery - who was so engaging and inspirational, not to mention funny. She did a fantastic job of keeping the children (and parents) hanging on her every word with her storytelling and all without a single book in sight.

They had also arranged tickets for us to attend the session entitled "Drawing Stories" with some of my fave children's authors Anthony Browne, Emily Gravett and Peter Sis.

We managed to get front row seats and it was such a treat for me who was feeling totally starstruck...if I could be any children's author, I would probably chose to be Emily Gravett!

Each of the authors had chosen one of their books to talk through and answered the audience's questions too.

Anothony Browne explained his "shapes game" to prove to us all that anyone can draw and children were invited to go on stage and draw a shape or turn a shape into something. Daniel drew a triangle that Peter Sis turned into a sail-boat.

This was then followed by a book signing session where we bought a copy of Emily Gravett's new book "Matilda's Cat" (book review to follow shortly).

We all came away inspired and enthralled from a truly special day at the British Library.

The day that...

The day that…

This post is my entry into the The Day That… blogger photo competition.

We knew they were going to put something in the paper…the journalist had phoned earlier in the week for a chat…he explained that sometimes the editor cuts the articles short or cuts them out altogether. So we imagined that, at most, there would be a little snippet, perhaps a little filler article about our son Joshua.

So when we went to pick up our copy of the local paper, this is not what we expected to see on the billboard outside. The paper had a full page article celebrating Joshua’s achievements since leaving school, whilst trying to overcome the daily difficulties he faces with having aspergers syndrome.

For most parents, the camera comes out on a childs first day at school. Feeling proud of your son or daughter wearing their school uniform for the first time. For me, the camera came out to celebrate taking him out of school. It had taken over 18 months to gradually rebuild his confidence, to give him a sense of self worth again, to show him that we believed in him, even though his school teachers hadn’t.

Somehow seeing it in black and white, made the significance of this special day all the more poignant. It marked the complete end of what had been an extremely difficult journey for Joshua and the beginning of a new adventure. This boy who had been written off by the education system and could easily have become just another statistic – part of the 91% of primary school children in our county who had been permanently excluded from their school due to having a special educational need such as ASD or ADHD.

But Josh has been able to show the world that he has been able to achieve far more out of the school system than over a dozen teachers, experts and professionals could ever have achieved when he was in school.

Joshua…we are so proud of you for who you are…well done!

Originally posted on http://rebeccabeesley.wordpress.com/

Toys R Us Toyologist Review - LEGO Minotaurus

This is our review for Toys R Us Toyologist 2012 that, combined with our application form, led to us being chosen as Toyologists. Unfortunately some of the formatting and images didn't transfer to this version.

The Beesley Family

Meet the Beesley family…aka Toys R Us’ latest “Toyologists” (well we very much hope we will be!)

Hi, I’m Daniel. I’m 6 years old and together with my 8 year old big bro Joshua (here he is giving you a wave!) I’m going to be telling you about our most favourite toy at the moment. It is a fantastic LEGO game called MINOTAURUS.

It is supposed to be for children aged 7 and over, but I love it and I’m only 6 years old. I love it so much because it is fun and exciting. You have to get your team of three LEGO people to the centre of the LEGO labyrinth. Watch out for the Minotaur though. If he gets you, you get sent back to your starting corner!

It really is one of those games where you never know who is going to win as it can all change at the last minute.

It has a really cool dice where you can change what is one each face to vary how you play the game and that makes it more interesting. For example, you can put a ‘green’ face on the dice and that allows you to jump over the hedges. The grey side allows you to place a block to stop another player or to block the Minotaur. A black side means that you can move the Minotaur 8 spaces.

Up to four people can play at a time so sometimes it’s just me and my brother that play it and sometimes mum and dad join in too. Even our baby sister helps us play sometimes by throwing the dice…

Mum says…
“At £17.99 from Toys R Us, this LEGO Minotaurus game has proved to be great value as the kids love to play it almost every day. It comes in a sturdy box and made a great present for Daniel’s last birthday. Although it might not look like a lot of LEGO in the box, it actually makes a great game. It was so easy to set up using the step by step instructions included. Once set up, it can then be kept in the box ready for the next time you want to play.
My only minor negative would be that the ‘template’ to help set up the labyrinth pieces is made of cardboard and that could wear out and tear over time. However, the instructions show how to set up and you don’t even have to use the labyrinth in that layout so it wouldn’t pose a major problem anyway.
I have also found out that there is a MINI-Taurus travel version of the game so it looks like we might have to be getting that to take on holiday with us, too!”

Our final verdict…

We LOVE this game so much! It is a great game and mum says it was worth every penny. We hope you will enjoy it too!