Crumble for World Book Day.

20-logo-left-downIt’s World Book Day, and it’s a special one as today is the 20th, and so we are featuring some of our best reads to get you all turning the pages. This one is especially for the children.

Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale.

When we first considered putting out a children’s book, and we started the process of working with Mike, it was important to us that the book met certain expectations. Firstly it had to be an engaging story that children would enjoy, and we also felt a story that would delight any parent equally as much, when reading it to their child.

We also believe that books should contain positive advice or messages, which would aid the reader in not only understanding the story, but also understanding themselves and the life they live. To answer this we posed the question, would children take a positive message into their own life, having read this story?

Finally we looked at how the story could be enhanced; this question was answered when author Mike Beale presented us with a selection of drawings for the book, done by Illustrator Maureen Fayle.

The ultimate test of the book came when we gave it to our six year old daughter, and asked her to read it and then give us feedback on her own experience of the book.

Crumble’s Adventures, we are pleased to say passed all our criteria with flying colours. The story which evolves around Crumble, is a charming tale of a small dog who at the start of the book is homeless and alone. Wandering the streets and living off scraps, it is very clear how her existence is one of loneliness and sadness. I think every child has a point in their life where they experience this, especially at that early age where they enter a new school and have to leave their parents at the door, so the start of book struck a deep chord with all children. It can be frightening to enter the start of the real world, and here Crumble reflected all those tiny feelings that many children face.

As the story moves forward, Crumble stumbles by accident on another dog named Alex, and at this point Crumble’s fortunes take a turn for the better. Alex takes the homeless Crumble home, where she is welcomed in and given a good meal, and this is the starting point of a strong friendship, and a sense of belonging. From here on in the books takes up a positive stance as the two dogs develop their friendship and go on many adventures. From our point of view, this shows the importance of family and strong friendship, something that is a very valuable asset to all children in the early stages of their development.

Crumble's Adventures by Mike Beale. Illustrated by Maureen Fayle ISBN 978-1-910299-06-7

Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale. Illustrated by Maureen Fayle ISBN 978-1-910299-06-7

What follows is an engaging tale of the dogs, with very positive messages and a few tense moments that do indeed captivate the imaginations of children. The story is adult enough for parents to comprehend the story and its meaning, yet written is such a delightfully easy to understand way that all children can relate every quickly and easily to the two dogs, and the friendship that strengthens between them. Our main test was our daughter and her understanding of this story, and it passed with flying colours as she really loved the story and became very excited as she followed it through the publishing process.

The story is enhanced by the simply wonderful artwork that is woven throughout the book. The hand sketched illustrations provided by Maureen, contain such wonderful detail that the pictures themselves jump from the page, and it brings a real sense of identity to the characters for the children to relate to and follow. 

The book has been formatted in a way that moves away from the large pictured and low print types of books that children start reading with, and carries a similar format to that of a novel for older children, but with larger print and slightly wider spacing. This we felt was an ideal way to bridge the gap between books for younger children, and serves as a way into gaining an insight into the formatting of books for older children. Spliced together with the illustrations, it forms a package that gives of a sense of a step up into a more older approach to reading, and we feel is an ideal way to help children adjust to what will come as they progress into older and more print driven books at a later stage.

In conclusion, Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale, is a simple to follow, well written story that serves as a very positive reading experience for children aged six and above. The story which is fun and exciting, is ideal for either reading to children by an adult, or as a good start for young readers who want to progress into a more print driven type of story. It is beautifully illustrated, with easy to read formatting and larger print, and we feel is an ideal first serious book for young readers.




World Book Day, Children’s Writing.

WBD2016_blue_rightdownThe creative industry is often a much forgotten part of the economy, finance, banking and investments have become the preoccupation of the world, so it is more important than ever that on World Book Day we shine a spotlight on reading as a fun way of relaxing and of course learning.

It is easy to focus on the famous, names like Lee Childs, JK Rowling, and Dan brown are a few we could consider household names, but when you think about it carefully, in recent times we have lost the likes of David Eddings, Ann McCaffery and just recently Harper Lee, all of whom were household names in my youth, but with libraries closing and the large publishers promoting celebrity names rather than mid list or new talent, one must ask is there enough talent to work its way up for the future of writing?

This year we decided to move our focus away from adults, and take a look at what is going on at grass roots level. Having published a children’s book last year, we thought it would be a change to look at children, and what effects them in the literary world. World Book Day we feel is a huge date in the school calendar, children dress up as their favourite character and all round school there are book related events. It made sense for us to look at the school and get a good idea of what exactly is being done to encourage the writers of the future, and the vehicle we used was a competition.

We joined forces with one of our local schools, Leigh Primary School in Tameside, Greater Manchester and supplied them with a copy of Crumble’s Adventures written by debut author Mike Beale. The competition was based on drawing a picture, after all Mike’s book is beautifully illustrated by Maureen Fayle an Artist based in Devon, and we also asked for a short story that would create an adventure for a dog like Crumble.

The competition was open to all the pupils from Year 1 to year 4, which is roughly ages 5 to 9 years old. VCP are a fantasy adventure fiction publisher, but we have

Leigh Primary School, Tameside, Greater Manchester,

Leigh Primary School, Tameside, Greater Manchester,

quite strict guidelines as to what we would and would not publish. We look for originality, creativity, a well thought out intelligent story, and also especially with a children’s book we look for a strong and positive message that helps teach values and understanding of the world around the reader. It was decided that we would expect something similar of the winner, even though this was at the primary level. (although we are not completely ruthless, we were ready to be open to everything given us)

On Friday 4th of March the stories were collected, with the winner being announced on Friday 11th (Today). The two best were to be awarded a certificate, a new pen and a signed copy of Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale.

The following are 21 submissions we received from Leigh Primary. We have done a small amount of editing, but we wanted to keep the work exactly as it was presented to us, so not all the spellings have been changed and corrected, and the punctuation is exactly as it was given to us, just remember this is the work of children aged five to nine years old.


Amber Year 2

First Winner of a signed copy of Crumble’s Adventures By Mike Beale.

Amber Yr 2

One day there lived a brown dog called Crumble. Crumble didn’t have an owner. Every day Crumble would walk up and down the street to see if anybody would like to adopt him. One night Crumble went to the police station he barked loud at the door and soon a big policeman opened the door. The big, giant policeman said, “have you got no owner?” Crumble barked, “Well it doesn’t look like it” he said. “Come on in.” The policeman put Crumble in a cage but forgot to lock the door and Crumble thought to himself, “I don’t want to be in this cage.” Crumble quickly hopped out and ran as fast as he could.

When he stopped he was at a farm, “that’s strange I’ve never been to a place like this before.” Crumble walked a bit closer and he saw four horses galloping around a field. Then Crumble walked towards the farm and into the big wooden barn. In the barn were three big, woolly sheep, a horse saw him and told the other horses about Crumble. They all came over and one horse said, “what are you doing here?”

“I have no owner.” Said crumble, “so I decided to see if you would want me.”

“Well we would have to ask the boss.”  Said the horses.  “okay” replied Crumble. And the horses galloped off to see if the boss would want him. The boss came out and took Crumble in. The boss already had a sheep dog but that sheep dog was really old, he was 72 years old.  The boss said, “you can be my new sheep dog if you like.” Crumble was very happy and jumped onto the bosses lap. This is what Crumble had always dreamed of, to have his own family.

Crumble loved it at the farm and every day he played with his friends. The boss looked after Crumble and he enjoyed looking after Crumble.



Amie Year 1

Second Winner of a signed copy of Crumble’s Adventures By Mike Beale.

Amie Yr 1

Crumble the dog lived with a nice family, but he wished he could visit lots of exciting places. One day he decided he would go travelling and jumped on a bus stopped outside his house. The bus took him to the jungle.

Crumble looked around and saw a furry brown monkey! The monkey said “You don’t belong here in the jungle. Get out!”

Crumble was sad and walked away. Suddenly he saw a tall tree walking by! Crumble was scared and looked again. It wasn’t a tree, it was a giraffe with a long neck. The giraffe said “You don’t belong in the jungle. Get out!”

Crumble was sad and walked away. Then he saw a big elephant. The elephant said “Help!” he was being chased by a hunter.

Crumble barked very loudly and bit the hunter on bottom. The hunter got scared and ran away. The elephant, monkey and giraffe all saw how brave Crumble was. “You can come here any time. Thank you for helping us.” They said.

Crumble decided that he missed his home and family. He said goodbye to the animals and went home.

The End!


We were so impressed with the intelligence, creativity, and imagination that we decided to give every child an award of a certificate and a free mechanical pencil, which we hope will help them to write more stories. From the point of VCP, we feel this shows how important reading is to children, as it allows them to explore their own surroundings, and beyond.

Ameera Year 3

Ameera Yr 3

There was once a dog called Crumble, he was an adventurer dog. He had a giant liquorish tale, he dreamed of going in to an alien ship. His life depended on it. One night he couldn’t sleep. It was the witching hour apparently, everyone said, “if you ever wake in the witching hour you will turn into an alien.” Crumble wanted to see an alien, but he couldn’t get to sleep because he really wanted to see a real life alien. So Crumble got up and looked out of the window, an alien saw him and took Crumble away… He ran… in the blink of an eye he had hairy hairs covering his body. He reached a plate that had labels saying ‘gorges marvellous medicine’  “His name is probably Gorge.” She said.

Soon they were both asking questions like, ‘what’s your name?’ and ‘do they eat you?’ and ‘what’s your job?’ The alien looked at Crumble and said, “out there every single night there are wolfs that eat any boy and girl they see for lunch. My job is to make potions for them.” One night the alien took Crumble out to collect some ingredients, and showed him things a dog had never seen before. The alien showed Crumble how to make potions, and they watched the stars that were like fireworks firing off in the dark sky. Crumble ate this strange food that tasted like an old disgusting sock.

After a while the alien decided to put Crumble back where he came from, his home. Crumble still couldn’t sleep for so long, he wanted to be with his friend Gorgie, and Gorgie felt the same, but the bone catcher said, “dogs are the only tasty thing to eat, and British dogs are the best of all.” Crumble didn’t want to get eaten.

Later on Crumble watched an astronaut movie and always wondered what it would be like to meet a real life Astronaut. Well I wonder what Crumble will do next…


Daanya C Year 1

Daanya Yr1

One day Crumble and his owner Julie went to the airport to go on holiday. Crumble wondered off and got on the wrong plane. The plane took off to the sky, and Crumble went looking for Julie but couldn’t find her.

The plane landed and Crumble walked out of the plane and kept on walking till he reached the exit. Crumble was worried and terrified that he couldn’t find Julie.

Crumble was walking hopelessly looking for Julie when he spotted a pretty dog. He followed the pretty dog onto the bus. The bus driver was cross and shouted, “NO DOGS ALLOWED!” So Crumble and the pretty dog got off.

The pretty dog said to Crumble, “are you following me?” Crumble replied, “I’m lost.” The pretty dog said, “I am Daisy, what’s your name?”

“I am Crumble and I am hungry.” Then Crumble woke up and it was all a dream.


Ikram Year 1

Ikram Yr 1

There was once upon a time a dog called Crumble, who went for a walk, and found a big, fluffy, furry cat. He seemed it was time for him to have a good clean walk so he decided to chase it, and it lead him to a rocket. As the door opened Crumble hopped onto the rocket and suddenly fell onto a button that had them zooming into the sky.

Crumble set off into space and landed on the moon. First of all he met an alien called Zorg. Crumble seemed that the alien was nice so he introduced himself by saying, “woof woof.” Which meant, “Hello my name is Crumble.” Then the dog, Crumble, asked the alien. “How do I get home?” The alien understood what he said and showed Crumble the way home.

Soon as Crumble stepped out of the rocket he felt upset because he was going to miss the rocket and Zorg. As he waved bye-bye a tear fell from his cheek, but he couldn’t wait to go inside and relax. As Crumble was going to step foot in his house he saw the cat again, he didn’t chase it because it might lead him somewhere else and he needs some rest. Crumble wondered how the rocket got there in the first place, but thought he should figure it out next time


Iona Year 2

Iona Yr 2


Mrs. Round had taken Crumble and Alex to Scotland for Christmas. It was a very long journey on the train, but they had been given lots of treats for being very good. They were staying with Mrs. Round’s friend Malcolm McDuff, he ran a farm in the Highlands.

They had been at Old Glenn Farm for four days and all it did was snow for three whole days. Finally the snow had stopped and the dog door was unlocked, and Alex could introduce Crumble to a new friend.

They dashed out of the door and ran across the yard, flicking fresh snow into the air as they made their way to the big, red barn, they both shouted “hello” as they walked into the barn. “This is Angus the long haired highland cow. Angus this is Crumble.” Alex Said. “hello Crumble” Angus said as he walked outside. “this snow is pretty deep would you like a lift?” Alex and Crumble replied together, “yes please.” Angus crouched a little and said, “hop on my back.”  So Alex and Crumble jumped up. Angus took them far away to the forest, and when they got to the middle of the forest they were lost.

Mrs. Round came out to call the dogs in for dinner, she was very shocked when she couldn’t see them. Alex and Crumble were scared, “we don’t know how to get back to the farm.” They said. Angus told them not to worry, “luckily I have these four hooves and they leave deep tracks.” He told them.  So they followed Angus’s footprints all the way home. When they got home it was already tea time, and they had to eat there dinner and tea together. “Wow,” said Angus, “that lot will fill you up.”

“yes it will.” Said Crumble and Alex together. Soon it was bed time for the tired dogs. They were read a bedtime story and they fell fast asleep.


Luke Year 2

Luke Yr 2

One day Crumble who was a dog, he walked he didn’t have a family and was alone and he walked everywhere. He was very sad another dog came he was happy he went on some adventures like hunting and treasure hunting. Then they went treasure hunting an they gone went the wrong way. They meted the wolf they hated but asked witch way should they go and they found it from wolfs directions. Then they knows that they went the rite way and they saw some treasure then they was in tunnels. They went this rite way and they walked home.


Nadeem Year 3

Nadeem Yr3

One day, Crumbles was out for a walk. While Crumbles was walking, he saw a biscuit shaped as a bone but it wasn’t an ordinary biscuit it was a magical bone, but Crumbles didn’t know he just ate it all up but then he felt weird and he turned into Crumble Dog. It was the 31st of April 1972.

On the strike of 12 O clock his super sense was tingling and he said “Hulk’s in trouble” So he went “It seems he is on Mars, not the sweet Mars the planet. “OH NO HE’S FIGHTING King Zig Zig” So I threw crumbs at him so he couldn’t see and he could take him to safety so he could fight him since King Zig Zig hates crumbs. He threw some at him and he went away for good.

He went back to Earth with Hulk who wasn’t really hard to pick up, he didn’t even need one paw he needed one piece of hair to pick him up and he took him to his lab.

Crumbles returned home, he found lots of people see him they were holding pictures of him so he became famous. But one day Crumbles wanted some privacy so there was only one thing to do, to take off all his gear and disguise to have peace and quiet but who knows he might come back to save you one day.


Nadira Yr 3

Nadira Yr3

One day, Crumble and his brothers were sleeping. It was morning and Crumble woke up early. After a while Crumble’s brother came out. “Let’s play catch” Explained Crumble Okay. Then Crumble threw the ball too high, so Crumble went and got it. But Crumble didn’t know where he was going.

Soon Crumble went further and further in the forest. After a while Crumble got lost and really got scared. Then he got used to it, also he saw some wild animals and started liking them. 1 hour later Crumbles brothers got worried about Crumble.

Later Crumble went deeper in the forest. When went, he found 3 dogs. Since Crumble was alone he decided to hang out with the three dogs. Later that day Crumble got lost because he smelt his brother. Just then Crumble found his two brothers he felt safer with his family. Crumbles mum was so happy to have Crumble back. Later on they decided to watch a film called Black Beauty, then they set up a surprise for Crumble.

It was Crumbles birthday today. Then they laid out the table for Crumbles birthday. Happy Birthday to you! Crumble was so excited. Then it was 10:30 pm, so Crumble and the brothers and mum went upstairs to bed. Good night said the dogs, good night said Mum. Then everyone was fast asleep ZZZZ!


Nakib year 3

nakib yr 3


One spooky night, Crumble was in Spooky Hollow it was so dark that he could barely see a thing. The wasn’t happy so tried to find his way out. The problem was that Spooky Hollow was a MAZE!

His only way was to jump out of the maze with his extremely jump! He jumped over the wall but he was where he was before, so he jumped so far that he almost landed on the tree, but he was safe. Then he came in hot Africa, then he went to the rocket station and almost went up in space. Then he landed in Happy Hollow.

The End.

Naseema Year 1

Naseema Yr1

Once upon a time there was a dog called Crumble. He had a boring life. One day Crumble had an idea, he wanted to go to the moon. So he packed his stuff and he made a rocket in his garden. He got his bag and went in the rocket. Then he pressed the buttons.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0… BLAST OFF!! Crumble was flying to the moon, Hooray!!  While Crumble was waiting to get to the moon he ate some dog food and played video games and had a nap. While he was sleeping Crumble dreamt about how he was on the moon.

After his nap Crumble saw that he landed on the moon. So he got out of the spaceship, he started walking on the moon. It was FANTASTIC! He saw an alien and they became very good friends. Crumble and his alien friend got the flag out of Crumble’s bag and stuck it on the moon

This was the most exciting day of crumble’s life. He couldn’t wait to tell his family all about his adventure.



No Name Supplied 01

No Name 01

Once upon a time, there was a dog called Crumble, and he lived all by himself near a farm. Crumble wanted to go on another adventure, but he didn’t know where to go. One day he asked his friend Tom to go to a haunted house with him because it was Halloween.

When they went in, he saw a door that said ‘Candy Land’ and Crumble wanted to go in. He asked his friend Tom to go with him, and Tom said Okay. They went in and there was so much candy, even there was a chocolate waterfall. Tom and Crumble went to eat some candy, so they went to the Candyfloss area. Next they went to the boats and went in the chocolate fall and ridded till they had chocolate all over them.

It was time to go home and go to sleep, so they did. The End.


No Name Supplied 02

No Name 02

A dog eat’s a lot of food and his mum was sad and he stops and a other dog eats a lot of foods and his mum shouts.

One day there was a little dog who eats a lot of foods and he never sleep or play, so he eats some apples and some oranges. He was full, his mum was sad, the dog said sorry, he still eating he couldn’t stop, and he did, and sleeps and play, now she was happy.

He went to eat again, she was mad! But finally he eats only one, she was happy.

Now another dog eats a lot then that. The end.


Nusaybah Year 2

Nusaybah Yr 2

Once upon a time there lived a dog called Crumble. Crumble said to his dad that “can I play outside with my friends?” and his dad said “yes” so Crumble went out and played with his friends outside, there names were Croc, Sid, Rebecca and Tim. Tim is black and white and Tim has white ears. Croc had a spiky body and Croc had weird ears. They played tig! This is how you play, so you have to put a bone in the middle of the garden and if the dog catches the bone they get to be the catcher. They played the game for a while then they went on a magic adventure they went in a jungle.

They had monkeys, snakes and crocodiles there at the jungle. It was soo creepy. But suddenly the dogs disappeared in the jungle far far away some explorers in the jungle and they heard some dogs. The explorers were very kind to the dogs the explorers was the boss of the jungle.

It was time for the dogs to go we had so much fun, when they got back from the magic adventure everyone had to go home. Crumble said bye-bye to all his friends and said “night night and have a good sleep dogs.” They all went home with there mums and dads and they all went home at the same time.


Nusrah Year 2

Nusrah Yr2

A long time ago Crumble was alone. She went to the forest and saw a man. “what’s your name?” Crumble asked

“My name’s Alex what’s your name?”

“Crumble,” he sniffed, “let’s go over there.” Crumble smelled food. Crumble and Alex ate the food and when they finished they heard a noise. They went out and saw kidnappers. “GO!” Went Crumble and Alex went to get ice-cream, it was so much fun. But on the way to get it Crumble got stuck then Alex got stuck and Crumble kindly helped Alex out and then they eats the ice-cream. She was tired and so they went home. The end.


Shaynie Year 1

Shaynie Yr 1

Once upon a time a little dog called Crumble. He was having a wait. He stopped and stared at a creepy house. Who lives there?

A vampire jumped over the creepy house. Poor Crumble, but Super Spot saves the day.

You’re my hero said Crumble. Don’t say that I do my job.

This is my story about Crumble and his adventures. Crumble and the Spooky House and other tales meet Crumble.


Suha Year 1

Suha yr 1

Early one morning a dog named Crumble lived in a house and he didn’t like the look. So late that night Crumble packed his things up and got out of the house, then set off.

He swam in the river, climbed a mountain and road in a car, and finally arrived at a big city with big houses. He couldn’t find a home but he did find a big forest, it was very spooky, scary and cold. He found himself in a very spooky cave. Crumble was cold and hungry and had no food, he needed food and help. Crumble then found himself in an empty place with lots of food, so he ate some of the food.

Then he was in Africa, but it was very hot. Then Crumble was at a special place but it was too big for Crumble. When he thought about not having a home of his own, he found himself back at his old house. Now he liked it very much and never wanted to leave it again.


Sumayyah Year 3

Sumayyah Yr3

Once upon a time there lived a dog called Crumble. Crumble asked his mum if he could play in the garden. When Crumble went out to the garden, he wanted to go in the woods, but when Crumble went in the woods magically dinosaur came to life. Crumble got petrified, Crumble tried to go back but there was a dead end. Crumble saw a Terodactor. The Terodactor landed near Crumble. Crumble climbed up the Terodactor. The Terodactor flew up and down and went very fast and Crumble held on tight.

When the Terodactor landed Crumble climbed down, Crumble saw a Diplodocos too, When crumble climbed climbed up the dinosaur, he didn’t have a fun ride. The Diplodocos was very slow, so Crumble climbed back down.

Thirdly, Crumble saw a Triseratops. Now Crumble can ride on all of the dinosaurs. Crumble had a much better ride than the ride from the Diplodocos. The Triserotops is really fast at walking.

Fourthly Crumble saw a Teranasoarus Rex. Crumble climbed up the Teranasoarus Rex . After he climbed up the Teranasoarus Rex he couldn’t find any more dinosaurs. Crumble found a green and magical gate, he went back and it lead him back to his garden, he went home and fell asleep

The End.


Tilly Year 1-2

Tilly Yr 1-2

Crumble the spotty dog is my best friend. One day, last summer, I took him on an adventure to the seaside. When we got there we went for a run on the beach, built some sand castles, rode on a donkey and ate ice-cream.

I decided to go for a paddle in the sea but when I came back Crumble had disappeared. I ran up and down the beach looking for him and shouting out his name. Nobody had seen him.  Just as I went to tell the policeman, I saw Crumble swimming to the rocks with a little girl on his back. When I ran over to them the little girl was crying. She told me that her mum and dad had brought her and her little brother for a picnic in the cave but the tide had trapped them in the cave. Crumble had heard them shouting for help and gone to the rescue.

As Crumble swam back to the cave he saw a whale, the whale had swallowed the family and was heading to the shore. As he got there he took a deep breath and blew the whole family out of his blow hole onto the beach. At last they were all safe. Crumble and I went home happy after our great adventure by the sea.


Zainab Year 4

Zainab Yr4

Once there was a dog called Crumbles who went on an incredible adventure.

First he went to Sweet Land. There was lots of candy cane trees and people were just biting the branches! There was a chocolate lake and Crumbles was swimming in it and licking the chocolate.

Then he saw another dog and his name was Ben. They played on the chocolate slide, climbed up candy trees and swam in the banana milkshake river.

Next Crumbles the dog went to the chocolate factory. And guess who he saw there… Willy Wonka!!! Crumbles had lots of fun there, and he won a whole basket of CHOCOLATE! He also saw his friend who he had met at Sweet Land, Ben, Crumbles liked the chocolate factory because there were games to play and puzzles to solve.

After that Crumbles went to the beach with his two friends, Ben and Alex. There he made lots of sandcastles and Crumbles made the tallest sandcastles anyone could ever make! He swam in the sea and reached an island where no one could ever reach. Then he said goodbye to his friends, Ben and Alex, and then went home and dreamed about having another adventure.

The End.


Zeinab Year 4

Zeinab Y4

One day, Crumble woke up and wanted to go on an adventure to have some fun. One day his friend Sammy came and visited, he said “I’m going to Disneyland tomorrow mate!”

“Can I come with you Sammy?” Asked Crumble. So they went to Disneyland Paris. After they got there, there was a door that said Legoland and they went in to have a look.

There was Lego everywhere and lots of children jumping in the Lego pool. It was so fun and some children kept on stroking them a lot and they loved it but Crumble had an idea and wanted to do it.

He scared everyone away so he can play with Sammy in the Lego pool, so he did. Everyone ran away with frightment. Sammy was upset that he frightened them away and wanted to go. After that Crumble went to apologise but first he had to bring them all in. “What should I do?” thought Crumble. So he asked Sammy and said sorry and even wanted him back to help fix the problem, so he did.

They got them then persuaded them to come in and they did. Time to go home in the hotel and that’s what they did. The End.


On Monday night we took the pencil written stories and typed them up to email to the Author Mike Beale. I really have to say at this point, it is probably the most fun job I have had since launching VCP. I think what amazed me the most was how intelligent the stories are, and how imaginative and creative the children of Leigh Primary truly are. I laughed and smiled, and I completely was captivated by how the children saw Crumble and the values they attributed to Him/Her and the friendships that were forged. I really had no need to worry about our criteria being met, as these children aged between Five and Nine years rose to the challenge with style. In a way I am glad I did not have to judge them, because even now, I am not sure I could honestly pick a winner, I loved King Zig Zig, and the vampire house, Amie one of the winners with her story of the jungle, and how what at first appeared like enemies, became friends as they helped each other enthralled me. The dinosaur riding Crumble, and the friendly horses showed how easily children relate to their surroundings and look for friends, it all felt like a thoroughly heart warming experience.

Mike Beale made the tough decision, but we felt all the children should be rewarded, and they will all receive a certificate of merit and a mechanical pen to continue writing. I feel these children give me great hope for the future of writing, and they are a credit to their school and the staff who work so hard to teach them. I must admit I really am hoping we get another invite to work creatively with the children again.

I shall leave the last comments to Mike Beale who wrote to us:

What wonderful stories. We were moved by all of them and will long cherish them as part of our own Crumble’s Adventure story.

We were delighted by the imagination of the children and the wonderful story lines – Angus the long haired cow; King Zig Zig; and the Diplodocus; just to mention a few.

All of them offered interest and excitement and we cannot praise them enough for their efforts.

Every story merited a gold star, but we felt that Amie and Amber stood out.

We liked Amie’s story line and what seemed to be a very sad visit to the jungle turned into hope and happiness.

Amber followed a similar approach. We liked the 72 year old sheep dog and Crumble being part of a family with friends he(she) could play with.


Crumble's Adventures by Mike Beale. Illustrated by Maureen Fayle ISBN 978-1-910299-06-7

Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale. Illustrated by Maureen Fayle ISBN 978-1-910299-06-7

Crumble’s Adventure by Mike Beale

Illustrated by Maureen Fayle

ISBN 978-1-910299-06-7

Published by Violet Circle Publishing.

Available from Amazon and all online book retailers, and from your Local Bookshop to Order.


Thank you to Leigh Primary School, Tameside, Greater Manchester, UK for all your help, especially Mrs Khan who did a lot of organising for us. More importantly, thank you to the 21 children who gave such a wonderful amount of effort, to really make this competition such a wonderful experience, all of you are little stars.

Robin and Corinne at VCP.


Update with crumble at VCP.

Its been a very busy couple of years for VCP, their transformation back at the end of 2013, from just a promotion vehicle of Heirs to the Kingdom into a publishing company has taken a huge amount of work. Last month saw them produce their seventh book, which was a children’s book, and we took some time with Robin to chat about his experience’s this year now he has settled into his role as Editor and Writer.

Crumble's Adventures by Mike Beale. Illustrated by Maureen Fayle ISBN 978-1-910299-06-7

Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale. Illustrated by Maureen Fayle ISBN 978-1-910299-06-7

You have a new book out, and it is for children, which is something very different from the fantasy adventure books you write, how does that fit in with the VCP statement of looking for high quality Fiction?

He smiles. It is, and I feel it fits in very well, there is no rule that I am aware of that states Fantasy/Sci fi or Adventure genres are not for children as well. I actually think that using fiction is the very best way to expand the wonder of the world for children, I mean look at the classics such as Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland, I read them as a child, and still do today to my own children, so why not a tale of a little dog called Crumble, especially considering, that the story is based on the real life observations of the authors dog, with a lovely fantasy twist.

So how does a post apocalyptic writer go about selecting what is indeed a beautifully illustrated book about a small dog who appears to be homeless with no friends ?

To be honest it was a member of the family who recommended Mike to us, he contacted us and gave us an idea of what he had, and we asked him for samples of the work so that we could look at it. I think what caught my attention first was the artwork, as soon as I saw it, I felt a strong sense of my own experiences from childhood and the wonderfully illustrated pictures of that time. I then read through the sample few chapters we had, and I felt it fitted in well with my own personal view of what the story should reflect.

So you examined the manuscript and then from that you make the decision. You say your own personal view can you elaborate on that?

Well I must admit I do have a very broad range when it comes to what I read. The thing is, I feel that firstly the book has to be in one sense or another believable. Ok for me that was an easy task, I just gave it to my six year old daughter and asked her what she thought, it got her approval and she wanted the rest of it, so that was a good start. Once I got the full manuscript I read through it a few times, and in my mind I wanted it to hold within it a positive message, I feel many of the books for children today are a little light on ethics, so for my part, I am looking for something that gives children an idea about how we live and how to handle it. That is mainly because even in a work of fiction, I feel there should be good messages and truths of the world. Crumble had that, it has a few issues I liked such as dealing with loneliness, and how befriending someone can make a huge difference to their life, I also like the importance of a stable family, and that sometimes family are not always your relatives. Those messages told me this was a book that was very positive for children, and so I wanted to work with Mike.

So you had a good book and good illustrations, and as we know Mike Beale is a first time Author, which is a bit of VCP’s mantra is it not?

It is, I am not interested in famous or celebrity authors, they have the name and reputation to get the big boys on their side, in most cases the major publishers prioritise them above everyone else. I am interested in those looking for a start up, I want to help and promote new writers, I do feel especially as we have lost some very big name writers in the past five years in the fantasy genre, my part is to encourage and help the new writers that are trying to get a foothold. The market for writers is probably one of the most competitive, so its hard work, I like to think VCP are doing their bit to find some good quality writers who will move on to bigger things in the future. Mike Beale presented a good package and I do think that Crumble is a wonderful step up for children going from mainly picture books into something more structured towards reading for life, which is also another one of the reasons we wanted to do it.

So this really is what we adults would call a proper reading book, but it is aimed at six years and above?

Yes, it is laid out with each chapter clearly marked; I find a lot of the books that school gives to my daughter are still very basic and filled with bright pictures. I think I am a little old fashioned in my approach, because when I was six, I was given proper books to read and I do think it played a huge part in my love of reading. I think we do not have enough children reading, and it is something I feel strongly as a book producer and a parent that we need to try and get our children away from the TV or games consol and reading more. The layout of Crumble reflects that, it is in a larger print, but it still has the defined chapters with the illustrations carefully placed to flow with the text, and I know for sure my daughter and my son have both really enjoyed reading the format.

So You put out HTTK book five in February, and its now been six months, has all that time been spent working on Crumble with Mike?

Not all of it, we were busy earlier in the year promoting the fifth HTTK, I think we began working with Mike in May, I have also been pretty busy writing in between, as I do, as I am always making notes writing back stories and actually writing the series. So for me personally it’s been a very hectic year, but that is good because I hate it when things slow down, I like to stay on the keys as much as possible.

It must have been a different experience working with another writer; we all know how reclusive you can be, not to mention how you avoid writing forums etc… What has it been like for you.?

Chuckles a lot. I avoid forums for writers simply because I have my own set way of doing things, so at times I find they have far too many rules that get in the way of the creative bursts. I honestly believe that shutting yourself away and just focusing on what you want write is the only way to do it, on the few occasions I have stepped out into the world and been involved with these things they have filled my head with notions that were very unhelpful, so for me personally I avoid them.

Working with Mike was actually really fun and a complete eye-opener for me, because I suppose I got see how another writer who works alone with a few supporters to muck in, actually works. Our stuff is at opposing ends of the spectrum, as he writes for children, and my stuff is pretty complex and adult, so yes, for someone like me who loves nothing better than seeing how other people achieve things it was fascinating working with him, he is a really nice guy, and it was easy to see where such a lovely story came from, because he does have a very quiet and caring nature, which again I felt was beautifully reflected in Crumble.

You say your styles are opposite each other, is that not a problem when editing, surely you would phrase things differently?

To be honest no not really. Look we have a very relaxed and informal way of working, lets be honest I am never going to be all about business dinners and fancy presentations. The way I work is very casual and informal, and that creates the right environment for creativity. We did a lot of research into children’s literature to get a good idea of what was expected, long before Mike gave us the manuscript we were pretty much pulling apart the book world to find out as much as possible. Once we started working, we would look at what he gave us and then comb through it and look to try and add as many improvements as we could, it is the very same system we use for HTTK, the only difference being is it is with another writer.

We used the same approach with Ted on Wordsmith with the poetry book. We made suggestions, but at all times the decision lay with the author, which is a rule I set at the very start of VCP, as we want a company that treats Authors fairly, and to be honest we do a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure it. Mike felt comfy at all times, and questions he asked, we gave full answers to. At the end of the day we take it step by step, we gave him our thoughts on things we felt were important, he went off and looked at it, and then came back with his thoughts, after discussion we moved to the next stage and repeated the process until finally we arrived at the final manuscript everyone was happy with, and that was then published.

I look back to my own experiences of first publishing, and that is the greatest aid to ensuring I am taking into account all of the authors feelings, so with that in mind, every aspect of the formatting was given great consideration, it was a lot of work checking and placing each illustration and line of text to ensure it looked the very best it could, and would appeal to the smaller readership it was planned for. I would like to think for Mike it was a better experience than my first time.

So there is no time limit on producing the book?

No we take it step by step until we are all happy, I am never going to say hey in ten weeks you will have a book, I feel that approach which I know some publishers do, is a none starter, as it rules out the fine polishing process, and we are looking for high quality stories, that we can put into high quality print. We try to work to a very high standard, I demand it, and so we will work with an author until the manuscript is right, by the same chalk, I will refuse a book if I feel it does not sit well in our catalogue.

Crumble came out on August 31st, so what now are you taking a break before moving on again?

I did take a small holiday, I wanted to get the kids away as we had been working most of their school holiday, as we wanted the book in full circulation before the children went back to school, so we took a few days in Scarborough, which was wonderful and we relaxed and had a lot of fun. I do admit I never stop working, so while I was there I got some pictures that would serve well in HTTK, after all Scarborough is a main part of the earlier stories. I came back and started the final edit of Book six, which is the next thing we will working on for late Autumn release, and obviously I am doing a lot behind the scenes to give Crumble a good old push into the world of readers.

So Book six soon and then what, as you are almost at the end of HTTK, will you walk away forever and just write other stuff?

The next project is Kingdom six, I want that out as I know I have readers who really want it due to the cliff hanger ending of five, and I don’t want to disappoint them. As always we are looking for writers who fit our remit and so we are pushing that aspect of VCP, and behind the scenes I have a few things lined up for the end of HTTK, I think it is safe to say writing wise I have a constant stream of ideas, so whichever one gets my pulse racing fastest will be the new project when I finish the last HTTK book. Will I finish the series and say no more, I am not entirely certain, I have not given it a huge amount of thought as I am still writing it, but I must admit these characters have been a huge part of my life, in my house they are almost like family, so I cannot really say I am done with them yet, a break would be nice, I wanted to write the Bowman to prove I could write a book, I did it and it grew into a series, so maybe the next challenge is to write something completely different, after that I will have to see.

So VCP is still working towards it goals, has your idea of it changed about where you want it in the future?

I have always wanted it to be a publisher of quality, which will never change. I am looking for new writers who I can work with, and again I hope over time VCP will grow to be a publisher people can say produces good quality reads. We are still a tiny company and have a ways to go, and I am enjoying the journey. I believe in evolution and I think that will always be our way to go, we will learn and expand as we need to, and hopefully create something that will bring joy to the readers of the world, be them little or large. We have had to incorporate and get use to a lot of new technology in order to do this and we are growing each day with more and more competence, we set a plan at the start and so we are following it, and to date we are on target, we have print pretty much running very smoothly, and so we are now looking at digital, as we want to take our authors onto every platform, we have been busy with that behind the scenes, and will start with digital platforms once we are satisfied we have the right level of quality control on the books, that is not that far away now.

You had a lot of nervous moments at the very end of 2013, how are you feeling now?

For me personally it was a huge leap of faith, I knew I had done the research and could in theory do it, but ending my contracts with my other publisher and going solo was a scary moment, especially as it killed my income for six months. I am a lot happier now we are moving forward and doing ok, we have seven books out and an eighth on the way so it’s a big case of so far so good. I have really enjoyed it, and I have also had the joy of seeing two new authors step out into the world, and that has been a really rewarding aspect of all this. Ted has done really well with Wordsmith and I think Mike has started very well, and I hope will see some success, as I think Crumble deserves it. I still feel the most positive thing is getting the word out that reading is wonderful and enhances your life, and I know we have convinced a few more to do it more, so considering December 2013 and now, I am very happy with the way it has all gone.

So What are you up to now?

At the moment I am preparing book six, as I said I want that out soon, but I am also looking at the night of HTTK thing, we have been asked quite a few times to do it, and it is entirely my fault, as the experience of the launch night in Bolton was so bad, it did put me off promoting locally and doing public events. Currently and  in between Promoting Crumble and getting out the next book, I am looking at ways that could be possible. I have a lot of ideas, but because readers of HTTK are pretty scattered and I have done less promotion at home, I am not that sure of the numbers, so I am looking at a small event with a view to expanding it should it be successful. I must admit I do like the idea of meeting the readers and talking to them, it is during those kind of conversations you learn a lot about peoples experiences of the books.

It sounds like a pretty exciting idea, what kind of things do you have in mind?

Well we have had a few suggestions from people who would like to see some readings and ask questions, so I think that would be the model to build it round, you know a sort of introduction, and then maybe some guest readers etc… I am sure I can sort something out where I can do some signings of books, and that sort of thing, I have a long list of ideas, it would be nice to bring Louis and Jacy in on it to chat to people about their artwork and stuff, it could be quite interesting, as I say at the moment we are only really looking at it.

It does sound like a great idea and so I will look out for it, and it is looking very positive for Robin and VCP. Book Six of Heirs to the Kingdom will be hitting the book sales stands soon and we do hope that VCP and its authors do well. Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale is available now from all online stores, or from your local book shop, as well as all the other VCP published books on the VCP website.

Crumble’s Adventures by Mike Beale illustrated by Maureen Fayle

Crumble's Adventures

Crumble’s Adventures

ISBN 978-1-910299-06-7

Submitted for VCP by Jo Lane.