Quizzing around the Christmas tree!

This Christmas will be quieter than usual so here’s a quiz to print off and mull over. See how much you can do without Google! Please do post comments and scores, but not answers – they’ll be on the blog after Christmas. You may have to think back to your childhood, maybe even your parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods as I’ve realised many of my choices are old fashioned. If any 21st century children and grandchildren would like to contribute up to date and more diverse examples of well known books for a future quiz that would be great and you can email them to me via the blog.

There are a whopping 75 questions (I worked HARD on this, or you could just call it self-indulgence). Score 1 point for every correct fact you get – eg a point for authors and for picture books illustrators’ names. A point for the title or series, extra for the countries the books come from in Round 8 and any other answer to a specific question. I make the maximum score 150 but it could be more. Let me know what you get – and note, some books and authors may appear in more than one question.

Here’s an example, for two marks: TMG by PP would be Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce.

Round 1: Did you, like me, read these as a child?

  1. TJSS by RK
  2. TCOGK by LMB
  3. PP by JMB
  4. JW by RC
  5. TTTE by RWA
  6. IOTBD by SOD
  7. TWOWC by JA
  8. TLWH by EG
  9. BS by NS
  10. TB by MN

Round 2: A Picture Tells a Thousand Words

  1. LATD by SH
  2. TVHC by EC
  3. PAL by JM
  4. M by LB
  5. F by J & AA
  6. TS by RB
  7. HS by EB
  8. TMC by AB and NB
  9. TSD by EJK
  10. SM by TC

Round 3: Classics Old and Newish

  1. AOGG by LMM
  2. WKD by SC
  3. LW by LMA
  4. NAC by MB
  5. HPATPS by JKR
  6. TLTWATW by CSL
  7. AAIW by LC
  8. WTP by AAM
  9. NL aka TGC by PP
  10. MP by PLT

Round 4: These characters are (part of) the family – but what is the book or series?

  1. Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace
  2. Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis
  3. Pod, Homily and Arriety
  4. William, Charles, Percy, Fred, George, Ronald and Ginevra
  5. Kurt, Marcie and Minal Cricket
  6. Pongo and Missus
  7. Sally and I
  8. Lily Rose, Kate, Jim, John, Jo, Peggy and baby William
  9. Naledi, Tiro and Dineo
  10. Ahmet – and why is he on his own?

Round 5: Animals

  1. Who liked marmalade?
  2. Who WAS marmalade?
  3. Who was SOME PIG?
  4. Which animal hero of a 1936 children’s book banned by General Franco and burnt by Hitler was, according to Life magazine, accused of being “everything from a fascist to a pacifist to a burlesque sit-down striker”?
  5. Who had a cat called Mog? (At least two possible answers.)
  6. Describe an owl service…
  7. …and another?
  8. Two benevolent despots in children’s literature happen to be elephants. Can you name them?
  9. In which book did someone’s uncle get planted by another elephant who thought he must be a tree?
  10. And whose aunts and uncles spanked him for his insatiable curiosity?
  11. Who is made of patchwork?
  12. .…and who of velveteen?
  13. Where in the world does a spider play tricks and tell tales, and what is his name?
  14. Which canine babysitter lost sight of her three charges?
  15. Who got fed up with spring cleaning?

Round 6: Identify the author and/or the book(s) they are talking about.

  1. “It is the book I’m proudest of because it had something to do with the death of the Dick and Jane primers”
  2. “It was a brilliant title but the publishers didn’t like at first. Even reviewers at the time said things like: “in spite of the strange title, it’s a very good book”
  3. “It seemed to me almost that my father had got to where he was by climbing upon my infant shoulders.”
  4. “He takes possession of every story I try to write, even though they are not about him.”
  5. “I knew it would make people feel uncomfortable.”
  6. “If you read my novels, you know, they’re not black novels – they’ve just got characters in them; it’s about who they are, you know, the story and it represents the communities that I’ve lived in, which are very mixed communities. I don’t sit down and go “right, I’ve got to write black literature for black people” or anything like that. I just write stories.”

Round 7: Snippets of random information

  1. Which two UK authors used to enjoy a drink together in this pub, in a town whose gas lamps inspired a famous scene in a book by one of them?
  2. Which humorous US cartoonist and writer for adults and children was part blind after being shot in the eye by his brother in a childhood game of William Tell?
  3. Which Brit signed a seven book children’s “nurturing” book deal in Australia and New Zealand in early 2020? (10,000 bonus points if you can guess my thoughts about this.)
  4. Which UK children’s author and illustrator said about children: “I get on with them perfectly well but spend time with them? No, no, no. There’s no need, you see. I just make it all up.”

Round 8: Lastly, in honour of a Europe I’m sorry and angry to be forced to leave:

Photo by Mau00ebl BALLAND on Pexels.com
  1. (Picture book) WTWTA by MS
  2. (Picture book) M by LB (oh! I already had this in Round 2. 2 free points then.)
  3. (Picture book) M by DB
  4. (Poems) S by HH
  5. (Autobiography) TDOAF by AF
  6. (Classic) F by A
  7. (20th century Classic) PL by AL
  8. Where might you find Pom, Flora, Alexander and their cousin Arthur?
  9. Why might reading fairy tales not be an entirely happy experience?
  10. How have cartoonists recently compared Boris Johnson to an Italian classic character?

Questions © Jessica Norrie 2020. Photos of The Unicorn and Snowman with books © Jessica Norrie.

The 12 days of EsseXmas (a secular celebration)

Here’s my 2017 swansong, inspired by a dash to the shops this morning.

On the 1st day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

A massive wide screen TV (no photo. Think I’m stupid, burglars?)

On the 2nd day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

Cusk 7

2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 3rd day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

bling inflatables3 blurry Santas, 2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 4th day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

Bling napkins 4

4 festive pants, 3 blurry Santas, 2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 5th day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

 

FIVE TRAFFIC JAMS! 4 festive pants, 3 Santas, 2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 6th day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

6 bits of bling, FIVE TRAFFIC JAMS! 4 festive pants, 3 Santas, 2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 7th day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

bling snowflakes 7

7 saddo snowflakes, 6 bits of bling, FIVE TRAFFIC JAMS! 4 festive pants, 3 Santas, 2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 8th day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

8 beauty salons, 7 saddo snowflakes, 6 bits of bling, FIVE TRAFFIC JAMS! 4 festive pants, 3 Santas, 2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 9th day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

bling games 9

9 board games, 8 beauty salons, 7 saddo snowflakes, 6 bits of bling, FIVE TRAFFIC JAMS! 4 festive pants, 3 Santas, 2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 10th day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

Bling prosecco

10 Prosecco glasses, 9 board games, 8 beauty salons, 7 saddo snowflakes, 6 bits of bling, FIVE TRAFFIC JAMS! 4 festive pants, 3 Santas, 2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 11th day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

Bling balls

11 golden balls, 10 Prosecco glasses, 9 board games, 8 beauty salons, 7 saddo snowflakes, 6 bits of bling, FIVE TRAFFIC JAMS! 4 festive pants, 3 Santas, 2 white vans and a massive wide screen TV!

On the 12th day of EsseXmas, Essex man sent me:

a 12 days of Kindle deal so you can buy my book “The Infinity Pool” here for only 99p until sometime in early January (had 10 Proseccos, can’t work out exactly when…)

…11 golden balls, 10 Prosecco glasses, 9 board games, 8 beauty salons, 7 saddo snowflakes, 6 bits of bling, FIVE TRAFFIC JAMS! 4 festive pants, 3 Santas, 2 white vans and a GINORMOUS wide screen TV!

510glyvrrdl

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

(If you try singing this do send me a video.)

©Jessica Norrie 2017

A Writer’s Bored game / Writers’ Board Game for Christmas

fc-deletes-2
*Screenshot attribution below

Writers – looking forward to Christmas Day? Do you think you’d make a better job of writing Her Majesty’s speech, if only they would ask you (and pay you)? Will you be itching to get back to your characters, your setting and your plot, but obliged to spend quality time with the family on activities that all ages can enjoy? Well, sigh no more!

The Writer’s Bored Game is the green, cheap, fun answer to Christmas Day family entertainment you’ve been looking for. If you’re a Good Housekeeper you can prepare this in advance, but it only takes a few minutes on the day and the rules are easier to understand than most board games. You can delegate children to run the preparation if you’re smart.

You will need:

A large piece of cardboard – packaging from expensive new electricals will do.

Black, red and blue felt pens (or any two colours plus a dark one)

About 30 bits of red and blue card, or white card marked with red or blue. Or paper. Or post it notes. But they must indicate two different colours. On one side draw a line to divide them in half (below right). On the other side draw a happy face / remark (e.g., “whoopee!“) on the red ones and sad face / remark (e.g., “oh no!“) on the blue ones*(below left). That is the hardest thing you have to do – I said it was easy.

 

Pens or pencils

A dice and things to use as counters.

Instructions

  1. Draw a track on the card with numbers 1 – 40 ish (not more than 50 or everyone really will get bored). Write “The Writer’s Bored Game” in large letters on it and draw one red and one blue rectangle. Make bridges between numbers if you wish for lucky or unlucky people to land on (see picture top right). Or don’t bother.
  2. Invite children to ring some of the numbers in blue, others in red. More red than blue, though, or they might cry.
  3. Give out the red cards, maybe four to each person.Each person must write above the line on the card WITHOUT SHOWING ANYONE ELSE, a GOOD thing that could happen to a writer. (A brilliant plot occurs to you! Current affairs suddenly mirror your idea! You get published! The BBC buys the rights! JK Rowling writes you a 5* review! etc). Then under the line write a good thing that can happen in a game: Go forward 4, have another go, kiss the person on your right, hand round the chocolates, invite your favourite person to join you on your space etc). When all are done shuffle them and place them face down on the red rectangle.
  4. Give out the blue cards, maybe three to each person. Each person must write above the line on the card WITHOUT SHOWING ANYONE ELSE, a BAD thing that could happen to a writer. (You lose all your computer files. Youll never understand apostrophe’s. Someone else publishes the same idea, better. Your partner says it’s crap, etc). Then under the line write a bad thing that can happen in a game: Go back 6, lose a turn, everyone can overtake you, eat those cold sprouts up now, etc). When all are done shuffle them and place them face down on the blue rectangle.
  5. The board should now look like the one below. Play the game. Take a blue card if you land on a blue number, a red one on a red number. See, it’s easy? First one to the end wins. The rule in our house has always been: the winner has to tidy away the game.

This is considerably less boring than it sounds. For example my son once wrote above the line on a red card: You are a fish. You cannot read let alone write. And below the line: Stop playing and drink wine. Teenagers are especially good at anarchic input. However, sometimes it does turn out boring. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles (when I resort to clichés you know it’s nearly the end of the post).

Variations: Actually you can choose any subject you like; it doesn’t have to be about writing. Everyone could jot down a subject and you pick  from a hat. A cousin once chose golf – horror! But it was ok. (You are a fish. You cannot play golf. Go to the end and drink wine.)

When the game is over, simply throw it away. In the recycling box, obvs.

bored-game-10

This amazing idea is my intellectual property. I used to do it (on fairy story themes or topic based ideas) with groups of children when I was a school teacher. If any designers would like to try and market it more attractively, do get in touch. Otherwise, just enjoy. Remember, you can always be a fish. Or whatever you want.

I drew the Christmas Eve straw for the Britfic.com blog post, so for another amazing idea from me, please head over there from 24th December. Why not – it’s better than peeling spuds.

Happy Christmas and see you for a more serious discussion in the New Year.

*Screenshot from dianaurban.com, a very useful site for writers from an industry insider

**Come to think of it, happy/sad faces and “whoopee” etc aren’t strictly necessary. You can skip that bit, or keep children quiet for ages making them do it.

©Jessica Norrie 2016