New Picture Story at Montville Markets

Early Saturday morning, I packed the car with a table, chair, a bundle of books and some craft and headed with Bill my husband to the vibrant Montville markets. We shared a small space next to the honey stand to display and promote Arriving Home, a children’s picture story ideal for ages 3-7, and the keen adults in their lives.

A first time experience for me, I was organised and ready with a coffee on hand and a smile to greet many passers by. Being a chatty, friendly sort of gal, I talked to a man whose wife had a stall inside the hall. He was wearing a T shirt from China, that read, have climbed the Great WallI. This attracted my attention, hence the conversation.

Other stall holders and I shared our creativity – me the writer, Gordon Smith with his Hippyshack creations and a woman with wired bird hangers ( very cute and unique). There were jewellery stalls and hand crafted wares.

My picture story is the collaboration of nine Mapleton artists and myself – the story of Maggie the Magpie Goose and Eric Echidna, their community, friendships and the places they visit to establish a sense of belonging and home. When Maggie loses her journal, Eric encourages her to make new memories starting from today. Together they visit special places ( Maleny Showgrounds, The Barn at Flaxton, Lilyponds Park at Mapleton) and meet their friends to foster happy times.



It’s not that long before a few familiar faces pop up, questions are asked and the book is selling. Ben, a father with his two year old daughter Florence is keen to buy a signed copy. Florence is easy to please with a colouring in sheet of a spiky echidna. I meet and greet Sallie with daughters Isla and Ruby – both girls well behaved and eager to create their own echidnas.

When I look up, I notice a toddler walking with his Dad. They pause and approach me to have a look at the book. Alex is in fact so keen to stay and have a conversation with me about words that start with the letter ‘W’, including wombat.



There’s a certain buzz of energy and excitement from 8am to 10am when the crowds gather, enjoy pancakes in the hall and buy their plants, produce and crafts.

French speaking Chloe comes to have a closer look. Her children Maya and Noah test out the puppets. Another three sales. It’s a pleasant vibe. Happy readers. Curious onlookers. I talk to people from the UK and Sydney. The responses are positive.





These lovely wood ducks that cross the road in Mapleton were hand painted by artist Lois Collins who is pictured with me to my right. Her skill and care is evident in the detailed brushstrokes and design.

Something for everyone in Arriving Home. At the back of the book are the places Eric and Maggie visit – do you know much about the eastern water dragon, the long nosed bandicoot and the antechinus? Find out information and appreciate the beautiful wildlife and flora in your community. Count the lizards. Where is the frog?

A quick pack up and get- away to the car park, saw Bill and I arrive home with more happy memories. Does that sound familiar?

If you would like to purchase a copy for an overseas friend/ relative or one for your shelf, email me at


Cost $10.




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Margaret Allen
January 12, 2020 at 6:39 am

Many Congratulations Margaret, can’t wait to read & see this picture book. I will certainly be sending some copies overseas

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    January 12, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    Thanks Margaret! I think your Irish friends will enjoy it!

January 13, 2020 at 4:37 am

Sounds like a great day, Marg, and I’m glad the book drew so many people in. Stories connect us all, don’t they? Congrats and thanks for sharing! x

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    January 13, 2020 at 4:53 am

    Kel, it was a super friendly day. I enjoyed the new connections made and the responses from the children. Congrats on your beautiful, soon to be, published picture books.

M.J. Gibbs
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