By: Blonde Two

It was apparently Charles Caleb Colton who first coined the phrase, ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’. He must have been a clever man, he was educated at Eton and Kings, lived for a time in beautiful Devon and was right.

Well at least it felt that he was right when Blonde One’s new school, Trinity School in Teignmouth, first told me about their (not insignificant) plans to write their own version of ‘Dart the River’ after the Dart’s equally beautiful cousin the River Teign.

In truth my role in all of this was minute compared to the feat of outdoor and indoor organisation that the Trinity Prep teachers pulled off. ‘Dart the River’ covers the River Dart’s journey from source to sea and, determined that their book should do the same, the staff at Trinity Prep undertook to take each class to visit a different section of the Teign. As this included a venture onto Dartmoor (river sources are usually boggy) and a trip to the beach with the tinies, plus sections in between and all on the same day, I was mightily impressed. During their visits the children listened, watched and discussed whilst recording their thoughts in word and drawing much as we had before we wrote Dart the River.

The next week (on World Book Day of course) I was invited over to Trinity School to talk in assembly about writing a book and then help run a writing workshop to encourage the students to write pages for the book. At the same time other groups were completing art and IT work to accompany the writing. I had a most marvellous time, the enthusiasm of the children was overwhelming and in many cases they didn’t need much guidance from me.

This was all back in February/March so imagine my delight when, upon my return from Norway at the end of May, I opened a package containing my very own copy of ‘Teign the River’. It is delightful just as a book but to me it means much more than that. My joy in the book is two-fold (and I will admit to tears). Firstly how wonderful to know that something you have created has had an impact on an audience and helped them to achieve something (surely the desire of authors the world over) and secondly how reassuring to see that there are still schools out there who buck the current trend towards ‘exam-only’ recognition and see the importance of being outdoors, exploring the environment and working together as a team.

Well done Trinity Prep and thank you for my new book. I will treasure it always.

If you haven’t picked up your copy of ‘Dart the River’ yet you can buy it from the Blonde online shop, from Dartmoor National Park visitor centres, from local bookshops and on Amazon.