Mr Charlie Chumpkins

All posts in the Mr Charlie Chumpkins category

All good things come in small packages…

Published September 23, 2014 by helenlaycock

I’ve written before about the first little character I ever created for a book – Mr Charlie Chumpkins.

I am little. I like little things. Charlie’s very small, but, like me, perfectly formed – or so I like to think. I like Charlie an awful lot… nevertheless, due to his being so tiny, I had to put him through a few trials – not to be cruel, you understand, just to test his mettle.

*wonders if that is psychopathic behaviour*

Now, anyone of petite stature perfectly understands that while it’s great for Hide and Seek, it can be rather a disadvantage in some situations… supermarkets, for example. One has to be resourceful, nay, acrobatically-gifted, to reach the last box of fish fingers at the back of a high freezer.

(*By the way, I have perfected the art and don’t mind passing on my tip. See end of post for details.)

Anyway, I digress…

It was quite easy to come up with ideas for getting Charlie into trouble in the Big, Wide World. If you’re only inches tall, then there’s potential for catastrophe  everywhere from a pizza delivery to a camping holiday, from a wedding to a hospital visit, from a day at school to a day at the zoo… you get the idea. You name it, Charlie’s been there.

I have finally produced a bumper volume of his adventures which is, in fact, two books combined. Ready for the title?

*takes deep breath*

It’s:

Mr Charlie Chumpkins and The Further Mishaps of Charlie Chumpkins

I enjoyed re-reading it as I’d forgotten a lot (memory like a … what is it?). I thought I’d share a bit here that amused me. This is a chapter called ‘Pest Control’ which introduces the character of Grandma… and her vicious cat, Zimbo:
This is where I inserted a Read More tag.

This is where the insertion of the Read More tag failed. Read the rest of this entry →

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What Charlie did next…

Published June 19, 2012 by helenlaycock

Little Charlie hung around in my mind long after I had written my first book about him. I had no intention of writing a second book, but as I trundled about doing my daily routine I kept finding instances where I could imagine Charlie getting into trouble. Every time I had an idea I jotted it down, often on the back of a receipt or on a  chocolate wrapper ( I always seem to have one of those nearby!). Finally I had enough ideas to write about his further mishaps, for mishaps were what Charlie’s life consisted of. Can you imagine being that tiny? Wherever he went in the world of ‘proper-sized’ humans he was sure to get into trouble.

The character of Grandma was rather a feature in this second book. She suffers from very bad eyesight and dotes on her awful cat, Zimbo.

Here is an extract from The Further Mishaps of Charlie Chumpkins (which now forms the second half of the book) when Charlie gets caught on the control pad of Grandma’s hospital bed:

Suddenly Charlie activated another button. The bed started folding up with Grandma inside. She was going to be a Grandma fajita! I fumbled round with Charlie and the control pad, but he was so firmly attached I couldn’t get behind him to undo the paper clip. Luckily Grandma slept on. As Charlie wriggled, so Grandma began to unfold, stretching, stretching. I was worried that she would begin to do a back bend and continue to curve until her head was touching her heels.
`Straighten her up! Straighten her up!’ I shouted, hastily pulling the curtain around the bed as the other old ladies began looking over. Grandma was snoring loudly as she went into reverse again and her face came up to meet her toes. I yanked Charlie with all my might. His braces snapped with a ping and he was free. He sat in my hand.
`Forgive me, Sam, but I find myself somewhat amused by that little experience.’ He chortled into his hand.
The curtain zipped open and there were Mum and Dad with the crackers.
Grandma woke up.
`Were you having a little snooze, Mum?’
Grandma looked around to get her bearings.
`Oh, what a funny dream. I was having a workout with Jane Fonda. And, do you know, I’ve even got the aches to go with it!’ Grandma laughed heartily.

The cover before it was amalgamated into a bumper two-in-one edition

The Further Mishaps of Charlie Chumpkins

Mr Charlie Chumpkins

Published June 14, 2012 by helenlaycock

This was the first book I ever wrote. I had the idea when I was a teacher of nine to ten year olds. I imagined what it must be like to be a minuscule person in a giant world. I think I had asked the children at school to write poetry from the point of view of an ant. A puddle would be like an enormous lake, for eample, a needle like a sword and a garden like a huge wilderness. We thought of all sorts of everyday objects and began to imagine how they would appear to us if we were tiny.

The idea churned about in my head for a while. I had always written stories and poems, but an actual book? That was a lot of words. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I decided to try. It was a relatively easy book to write as my first one as each chapter was basically a story. The idea of the book was that a little boy, Sam, is off school sick. Typical of lots of boys, the space under his bed is a filthy mass of junk. Having called for his mum to bring him a hot drink, Sam realises that she can’t hear him. He will have to bang on his bedroom floor instead. Somewhere under his bed is his cricket bat – perfect for whacking.

Well, of course, that’s not the only thing to be found. There is, much to his surprise and disbelief, a little man under there too. His name is Charlie Chumpkins. The book is a catalogue of his adventures. I deliberately ended it on a cliffhanger as I knew I would return to Charlie Chumpkins at some time. Indeed, last year I wrote the sequel, ‘The Further Mishaps of Charlie Chumpkins’.

I may well go back to this character in the future and write a third book about him. These are the only books of mine where I have written a sequel. Every other book is a stand alone book.

The original cover painted by my daughter

Here’s my little man…

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