My first children's novel: 'Babymandog - Unusual Bonds of Friendship'

First print just arrived on 22nd December - Yay - so exciting!

'Babymandog: Unusual Bonds of Friendship' is a children's book published by Magpie/Tales for Children, written and illustrated by me Fiona Hansen. (29 black and white pen drawings. And some photos drawn over with pen.)

What is it about?
Babymandog is a heart-warming story of a creature that is half-human/half-dog and his two best friends, who live in a place called Town, in the Middle of Nowhere.

The story is set in motion when the scientist, who created Babymandog, regrets his experiment and decides to sneak the little creature into Town’s baby delivery van, hoping someone will take care of him.

After a troubled start to life, Babymandog finds happiness when an old farmer called Mac adopts him. But just when you think that this is the happy ending, everything changes…

The rest of the story tells of Babymandog’s survival in a secret cave and his friendship with a dog called Sniffmut and a cat called Mango.

As their lives intertwine, an adventure unfolds that will keep you in suspense and eager to find out what happens next.

It is written for children aged 8-12 yrs old, but entertaining for parents too - and can be read to younger children. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy can contact me or if in Melbourne, copies are available at Dymocks book shop Southland Mall or thesaurusbooks Brighton. At this stage with limited edition it will only be available Down Under.

Next time round hopefully I can do a bigger print off and get set up for overseas transactions. This has been an exciting journey and all new for me. I have not known what the heck I am doing - a learn as you go job EEK. So far so good. Quite a few have sold already and it feels weird book signing for starry eyed children - but very rewarding.

About my background:

My family arrived in Melbourne Australia as an immigrant family from South Africa in 1961. As an eleven year old, and the oldest of three children, the whole experience was a big adventure. From the rough and dangerous voyage across the Indian ocean in an old ocean liner called the SS Orontes, to life in two immigrant camps; Bonegilla and an ex-army camp at Fisherman’s Bend Melbourne. Then finally settling in the suburbs of Black Rock and Sandringham. In 1967 my family moved again and settle in New Zealand.

My love for writing and drawing started at an early age with an imagination that often ran away with me. I have always loved nature: from the vast and varied landscapes of Africa and Australia to the chocolate box greenery and majestic mountains of New Zealand. I have also always loved the rhythm and rhyming of words and love to paint a picture or mood when I write.

In South Africa, my father worked at the Botanic gardens in Pietermaritzburg South Africa.  As a small child, I went to work with him on Saturday mornings, which is where I fell in love with the huge trees and beautiful gardens there. My father told me stories of witches that lived in homes hidden at the base of trees with entrances hidden between gnarled roots, and flower fairies that lived in the gardens. I spent many hours drawing trees, witches, fairies and mushrooms - combining reality with fantasy. Later in 1962 my dad became the Superintendent of parks and gardens for South Melbourne when we moved to Australia. So once again I had connection with beautiful gardens. (This is where I got the inspiration to take photos for this book - from some of the wild areas of the Royal Melbourne Botanic gardens).

In 2010 my husband and I returned from NZ to live in Melbourne and settled in Parkdale, a beautiful spot near the beach. The idea to write this story came from a doodle I drew while talking on the phone in 2013. It was of a dog with human face, hands and feet- the name ‘Babymandog’ just popped into my mind - and the rest is history - I have written my first children’s novel.

I have also always loved animals: household pets and birds and other wild animals. This came from seeing wildlife in Africa and Australia, and owning pets throughout my life. As a pre-teen, I also hand raised a young Pigeon and a baby magpie, and later on in SA a young cuckoo. All of which had fallen out of their nests. Recently in 2013, a couple of ravens befriended us, visiting each day for food. They are now our friends and are very social. They eat out of our hands, and one of them will even stand on our knee or shoulder to get a morsel. This interaction with wild/tame ravens has been very special and an inspiration to write about how we relate to animals. More about that later.

As a mother of five children, and now grandmother of nine grandchildren, I have a special interest in children and the different developmental stages they go through. I love to get down to their level and observe how they think and act. I hope this book will reflect that and relate to both the children and parents that read it. This first book, ‘Unusual bonds of friendship’ is based on three of my grandchildren, so you can guess that I will be writing more about the others.

This book is dedicated to three of my grandchildren who are the three main characters - Dylan is Babymandog, Leo is a dog called Sniffmutt and Jasmine is a cat called Mango, as in drawings below.


Anyway this all feels strange. Just thought I would like to share this with all of you here. I wrote the second book last year and have started the third now. 

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Comment by Fiona Hansen on January 27, 2017 at 15:45

Thanks Rose. It is good to get feed back . I have read it so many times now Whew! with all the editing and book design process etc. I have had a few happy young readers too. One of them commented on the bf page, and can't wait for the next book.  Hope to get more feed back when other young ones have read it.

Anyone here interested in a copy msg me. If you are not in OZ or NZ, I am not yet set up for overseas transactions, so could be costly.

Comment by rose on January 27, 2017 at 14:38

Ok - I had this book read to me after breakfast in bed - DELIGHTFUL and what a wonderful gift to leave behind for your grandchildren, I'm hooked and look forward to the next episode!

It is a real joy to share this book with our younger guests.

Comment by rose on January 9, 2017 at 9:29

Excited to get our copy!!!

Can you send this out to all Fiona?

Comment by Rainbow Cat on January 2, 2017 at 15:26

Great stuff Fiona!

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