Slipping love between the floorboards, Catching stars as if they’re snow…
This book brings poetry to each page, including to the pages with no words. Perhaps by the twentieth read-through I may be able to summon words of my own sufficient to convey its lingering power. But I’m still looking at the story and illustrations together as presented. Then at the illustrations alone. Then the story alone.
In a world where their love is illegal, a young couple find a way to stay together — but one small moment could tear it all apart.
The haunting monochrome illustrations of this beautifully presented hardcover book could each stand framed on a wall. The style Makeshift Galaxy most brings to my mind is that of Shaun Tan. Like him, Turgoose uses both images with words, sometimes dispensing with words. What has happened? What does it all mean? That is left for each reader to mull over in their own way.
It has the look of a coffee table book,and be warned: when you return with the steaming cuppa you may find your guest with book open, oblivious of you and staring far away. Into another galaxy, perhaps.
‘The silence screamed with stories left untold.’
Makeshift Galaxy an illustrated story about love, sacrifice and survival, is published by Odyssey Books. It is stocked at major online retailers, including Book Depository, and Amazon. Its free to see on Kindle Unlimited but this is a book you will want for real, on your bookshelf.
Did you know, Fellow Baffled Ones and Gentlebears, that you can leave reviews of books? You don’t have to be a formal reviewer, oh no. You can just plonk down what you think about a book. You can say a lot about it or say only a little. It would be so wonderful if you do some reviews. For every writer-bear.
You can do reviews for Mawson and his books, if you like. Just ask, and we’ll send you a PDF version to look at. OR, look for the books. Two of them are FREE to read on Kindle Unlimited.
Each review is wanted, Each review is good, Your review is welcome In a writer’s neighbourhood.
Why your help matters: In these days of (shudder) Algorithms all forms of recognition for a book matter. They are all noted. They all add up. All the Likes, the Shares, the Mentions, the Clicks on buttons that say ‘Helpful’- they all get taken into account by these (shudder) Algorithms. But the most helpful thing of all is a REVIEW.
YOUR review matters so much that I would send every reviewer a block of chocolate* if I could, smudged by tears of gratitude. Your review not only tells other purchasers of Grand Books about (cough) Mawson’s, but they also jump up the rankings of the book and the visibility of it and all that sort of thing.
It’s fun to have a bash: If you are stuck for something to say, simply bash away on the star ratings. They all get counted by those (shudder) algorithms. Here, our Sir Scotland The Brave shows how to stab most valiantly at the star ratings.
Click ‘Like’: While you are at these websites, you can also run your eye down the page to the reviews left by other fine people, and click on the ‘Helpful’ or ‘Like’ buttons beneath them. (This all helps with those pesky algorithms.
The awesome power of ‘playing’ on your device: So, every Share, Like and Mention on your social media helps; yes, the (shudder) algorithms note it all. Keep them coming and Mawson’s books( and the books of all writers who are not bears to) can keep bravely going out into the wide bright world.
Fifty years ago when this world was very young, your correspondent’s hobby was War Gaming.
I don’t mean shootups on a screen at implausible digitalised foes. There were no screens then; we’re talking about the dark ages here, the 1970s. No, this War Gaming was played out with regiments of miniature figurines on a table covered in green paint or blaze cloth and set up with ‘terrain’ cobbled together from home made paper mache hills and railway-model trees and buildings.
These days there are entire shops in shopping centres that sell excellent figurines. These are mostly figures of imaginary hordes loosely modelled on Tolkein’s orcs and various Star-Wars and other villains. But many wargamers still stick to the traditional idea of attempting to refight historic campaigns with forces more or less representing those of the (human) past.
All War Gamers, whether they prefer Orcs or Elves, Persians or Prussians, Incas or Ghurkas, take pride in their labour of sourcing (recruiting), painting and marshalling their formations. The range of figurines available today, metal and plastic, covers every concievable era- and Middle Earth and several alternative universes. But in the aforementioned dawn of time when I were a lad, none of this was so.
My first ‘troops’ were cardboard ‘flats’; soldiers that I carefully copied from books, re-scaled, drew, and patiently cut out. My focus and patience on this activity amazed my parents because I was utterly clumsy at everything else. I was also hopeless at drawing anything else. Mum worked out where her best nail scissors had got to and retrieved them, a set-back which slowed my recruitment drive.
Then I chanced upon a packet of metal figures, some of which you see in these photos*. They represented forces from the 19th Century: British, Highlanders, Maori, Zouaves, Italians, Foreign Legion, Prussians and Austrians. Beautifully moulded and painted, they were sold in groups of five. They were expensive! I sank all my earnings from lawn mowing into this collection, recruiting soldiers five at a time until I had something of a force to manoeuvre. At that time the floor was my battleground and the furniture formed the terrain.
In my teens, I discovered the plastic figures put out by ‘Airfix’. These were far cheaper and came in twenties. Box by box I recruited and handpainted my Romans, Ancient Britons, medievals, American Civil War troops and my ‘moderns’. (I am one of the few table top wargamers to have not bothered with the Napoleonic era.) Eventually, I could field mighty armies of a sort with up to 200 figures a side.
But in the early days, the only figurines I had were these few, hard-earned, difficult-to-source metal figures shown in the photos. Though I never used them after the age of 13, I have carried them about ever since from flat to flat, house to house. Today they are helping to show off to you my well preserved very first book of wargaming rules,
Wargaming requires rules, preferably a playable set with which contenders can set up their forces, clash, and come to a conclusion within two or three hours, all the while bickering away amiably. You need agreement on how to deal with movement, missile discharges, melees, morale, and casualties. Clubs of wargamers formed in the sixties especially in England. They created makeshift sets of rules, all different. This was no use to me in Australia nor to any other gamer, and there turned out to be many table top wargamers also in the USA.
Terence Wise’s 170 page heavily illustrated “Introduction to Battle Gaming” book changed this. His simple set of suggestions was indeed highly playable. With this book in hand, I was able to form a group of my own among my school mates. One of us focused on Napoleonics, one on Moderns, and two of us on other eras. Between us we enjoyed many hours of table top play along with the requisite amiable bickering. But eventually we wanted something more challenging. I then discovered the Rules that for a long time dominated the small but growing wargaming people -those that were by published by the Wargames Research Group. I put Mr Wise’s book away. But clearly I have treasured it. His was the publication that properly began the hobby for me, and for many others.
Where to FindIntroduction to Battle Gaming by Terence Wise, published 1969 by Model and Alliled Publications Ltd, Argus Press Ltd: When I searched the Net to see where you might find this books, I was surprised to discover that other wargamers of the 1970’s vintage must still be about because several copies of this revered tome still exist, mainly through Abebooks.com. There is also an updated version, apparently.
*I have forgotten the brand name of these soldiers and could perhaps make a miniature fortune on EBay if only I could remember it.
**Because the range even of the plastic figures was then limited, I would alter figures to resemble other troops eg by adding tiny spears and shields to certain Medievals to create Persians. I am amazed now that I ever did anything so finicky. All gamers then did such things. We researched our eras, and we were all possibly a bit barmy. They were good days. Good days.
You are at Baffled Bear Books. Here writes Mark, guardian of Mawson Bear. Mawson is a Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears. He is the writer bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In . Mawson has many qualitites but he is not a drop bear.
‘This gentle little book snuck up on me. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was glad I dove in.’
‘She Ran Away from Love is an adventure on more than one level. It’s the physical journey of a small, frightened bear who finds love just a bit too bright for comfort, but it is also an inner journey in which the little bear finds herself.’
‘I suspect this book will touch different readers in different ways. I smiled through the entire book.’ Review by Bernice Sneedy at Amazon AU. ‘
Thank you Bernice Sneedy for this kind review of Frilly’s quest to find herself.*
Mawson’s Guardian adds: And LOOK! Its HALF price for a soft cover to hold in your paws (or hands, as the case may be) at Amazon Australia. And only $3 on Kindle everywhere.
Go on, get snuck on yourself!
Other places to find She Ran Away From Love by Mawson, one of this world’s few published Writer-Bears:
Do you sometimes feel a bit muddled about, well, Things ?
Sometimes rather ruffled when Things just go and, well, Happen ?
Sometimes feel confused one moment and completely baffled the next?
It’s not easy being Grownup. All this business of having to be sophisticated and industrious all day long! It just wears you down. But when you arrive in Mawson’s cosy world, the frazzled reader can flop down among the cushions and relax. Make your world a world of calm, for a little while anyway.
Dreamy Days and Random Napsis Mawson’s latest little book stuffed with happy moments. If you are a daydream believer in a world still bright despite everything, then this book is for you.
Here you can find the answers to just about nothing at all. You can forget you ever had questions anyway. Mawson and his friends are befuddled about most things most of the time – just like so many of us. And that’s all right.
In She Ran Away From Love, by Mawson, his little friend Frilly feels hopelessly baffled by Big Questions. But does she give up? No! She sets out on a quest. See where it takes her.
‘Writing about love, dreams, happiness, and finding your own identity is all found within this short happy book.‘ Review on Amazon UK.
You are at Mark’s blog, Baffled Bear Books. Mark is guardian and hapless typist for Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears. Baffled Bear Books ABN: 4787910119
Did you know, Fellow Baffled Ones and Gentlebears, that you can leave reviews of books? You don’t have to be a formal reviewer. You can just plonk down what you think about a book. You can say a lot or say a little. It would be so wonderful if you do some reviews.
Each review is wanted, Each review is good, Your review is welcome In a writer’s neighbourhood.
Why your help matters: In these days of (shudder) Algorithms all forms of recognition for a book matter. They are all noted. They all add up. Likes, Shares, Mentions, Clicks on buttons that say ‘Helpful’- they all get taken into account by these (shudder) Algorithms. But the most helpful thing of all is a REVIEW.
YOUR review matters so much that I would send every reviewer a block of chocolate* if I could, smudged by tears of gratitude. Your review not only tells other purchasers of Grand Books about (cough) mine, but they also jump up the rankings and the visibility and all that sort of thing.
It’s fun to have a bash: If you are stuck for something to say, simply bash away on the star ratings. They all get counted by those (shudder) algorithms. Here Sir Scotland The Brave shows how to stab most valiantly at the ratings.
Click Like: While you are at these websites, you can also run your eye down the page to the reviews left by other fine people, and click on the ‘Helpful’ or ‘Like’ buttons beneath them.
The awesome power of ‘playing’ on your device: Every Share, Like and Mention on your social media helps; yes, the (shudder) algorithms note it all. Keep them coming and Mawson’s books, and the books of all writers, can keep bravely going out into the wide bright world.
Cancer Daily Life is a bittersweet collection of illustrations that readers highly involved in the C world can relate to, including friends and family of people with cancer.’ From back cover.
This short, colourful picture book finds the odd things, the weird things, and even the ironic things can bring a guarded smile, during cancer treatment. It’s a little something you could give a friend who is going through cancer, especially when you are lost for words to say to them yourself. (This certainly describes me.) There are ironic reflections on the long days of feeling sick and lonely and terrible. There are little glimpses of the fears to be tackled and the fantasies conjured up during the hard hours of treatment. Recommended as a little splash of colour in the daily life of the “C” world.
Rafael Antonio is an illustrator for games, books and comics. To find him, plonk a paw down here for Twitter .
Mark, your host at Baffled Bear Books, is guardian of writer-Bear Mawson. Of Mawson’s book It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In ” was said, “Reading this book is like receiving a great big hug of reassurance and a huge hot chocolatewith fluffy marshmallows.” Review by Lady Bracknell. Of Mawson’s She Ran Away From Love was said, “‘A magical little grand tour into the meaning of happiness.’ Sharrie Williams, Author of The Maybelline Story.
‘What if Beauty stood up tothe Beast, the Princess never tried to sleep on the pea .. and the Swan Maiden took revenge on the hunter who kidnapped her?‘ (From the Back Cover.)
Professor Caddy got her paws on this beautifully illustrated retelling of fairy tales. On the cover, a young woman, head held high and wearing sturdy boots, looks ready to protect herself (spear) and to find her own way about (map). The back cover suggests she is less concerned about the dragon than the dragon might be about her. There is not a tiara or movement-restricting dress in sight. ‘I must bring this to our Tedettes Jane Austen Bookclub’, said Caddy. ‘These princesses look so different and bold’.
Tedette Samantha loved the first tale, ‘The Princess and The Pea’. This is the exactly kind of princess Sam wants to be! She dashed off to put on her ‘exploring bag’, inspired to go adventuring herself right away.
Wise old Hilda-Bear read ‘Cinderella.’ ‘Marvellous’, muttered Hilda, ‘ Marvellous. Why should we bears of ‘a certain age’ miss out when it comes to fairy tales. Marvellous, just marvellous’.
Tedette Lizbeth is always conscious of her lovely fur. She went straight to the tale of ‘Snow White’ which features the magic talking mirror. Well, it was not quite how she remembered it. “Mirror, mirror on the wall’, asks the Queen, ‘who is the fairest of them all?’ Lizbeth was delighted at how this story turns out. She will never look at mirrors or her fur the same way again.
The nine tales retold here include ‘Beauty and The Beast’, ‘The Frog Prince’ and ‘The ‘Swan Maiden’, but now you see them with new eyes. I think we will all want to see more tales in this light! Oh, and there are ‘morals’ in these tales for princes too, for instance, that wearing glasses and loving books is perfectly fine, and that waiting about on a lily pad in a murky pond hoping a princess will come to you is perhaps not the best way to go forth in life.
‘The charm, whimsy and magic of traditional fairytales remain, but the diverse characters challenge stereotypes about who they should be or how the y should act, stand up for themselves, and shape their own futures. ‘(From Back Cover).
The Adventurous Princess is both written and illustrated by Erin-Claire Barrow. Her full-page colour drawings are respectful of the original tales but visually turn us to appreciate them differently. Erin hopes such stories ‘inspire young people, and young women in particular, to see themselves as the strong, clever and adventurous heroes of their own stories.’ (Foreword.) You can see more of Erin’s work at her website. Take a look, for instance, at her collection called ‘Dangerous creatures from Celtic folklore.’
‘The gods give no more than you can bear. The unfriendly sea shall be your road. A new homeland lies far across the roaring waves’. Kruesa’s ghost to Aeneas, p.44
The first lines of The Way Homeplunge us into the night a civilisation was turned to ashes. The Greeks raze Troy. Trojan leaders are cut down. After trying in vain to save King Priam, young Aeneas fights his way past Ares himself, the god of war, to bring his father and son to the hills where they join the survivors. These, the last of the Trojans, huddle together, shocked by the disaster. Like refugees through the ages, they have no idea what to do, where to go.
‘We need you for a king, Aeneas’, said Mmestheos. ‘The people are ready to make their oaths’. Anxiety crept over Aeneas. P. 41
Aeneas, only 19, is racked by grief for his wife Kruesa, struck down by Hera, queen of the Twelve Olympians, whose determination to wipe out the Trojans knows no bounds. But he must summon the resolve to play the part of a leader. He plans to steal Greek ships, but the land loving Trojan men do not know how to sail them across the dark sea.
Social boundaries must give way to character and ability. Aeneas takes counsel from all ranks, including commoners – and women. Beroe leads forward her fisher women, and they take charge of the sailing. The Trojans turn their prows toward an unknown world where men and gods alike are hostile. During this search for their new home, Aeneas must dig deep for the courage to challenge the accepted way of things, to do what must be done for the good of all.
This is a great read for anyone who loves seeing the misty times of legend turned into a driving adventure. Lest because of a few spear throws and dented shields this be misconstrued as a ‘book for boys’, I am going to make special mention of recommending it to young women. The female characters outnumber the men, I think: healer Eumela, ‘Little Red’ who will one day become Lavinia, no-nonsense Beroe, tragic Andromakhe, Queen Dido of Karkhedon, the warrior Amata, and more. The entire story, in fact, is propelled by the terrible feud between the goddesses Hera and Aphrodite.
‘Most of our playmates die of the flux by the time they’re old enough for betrothal’. Ankhises, p.63.
With short, fast sentences packed with both action and feeling, Julian Barr , novelist and itinerant bard, turns harpies, cyclops, nymphs and bitter gods into breathing characters. And Barr is also an historian; he shows us an early world where life for humans was hard, slavery the norm, marriage came early (Aeneas and Kreusa were betrothed at the age of eight) and death came soon.
‘Aeneas.’ Sergostos’s lips tightened. ‘Just don’t die’. Aeneas gave a bark of laughter. ‘You know me. I’m going to live forever’.
Aeneas indeed lives on, in myth and poetry, and now in Julian Barr’s highly readable trilogy, The Ashes of Olympus. The series is based on the latin epic The Aeneid , written by Virgil around 25 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans.
The Way Home, with illustrations by Matt Wolf and maps by Linc Morse is published by Odyssey Books, ‘where books are an adventure’. And what an adventure this one is!