Poetry Friday Muster!

Welcome to the Poetry Friday Muster. That’s the Australian term for the American cattle round-up, and it seems appropriate, since I’m sharing my droving book that was published this week.

Look! A herd of cows.

There’s a bird in the herd that stalks as it walks, eating slugs and the bugs that the herd stirred. What else can you see as you follow the cheeky bird?

Bright and playful, this rollicking rhyming picture book with gorgeous sun-soaked illustrations will have little ones hootin’ and a-tootin’!

The Bird in the Herd‘ is the book of patience.

1)  I wrote this story 19 years ago – and I blogged about this on release day. It didn’t actually change much during all that time – mostly tweaks to strengthen the rhyme. The title changed the most! Originally called ‘Muster Mayhem’, it was then called ‘No Cows’ for a number of years – before Linda Mitchell referred to it as ‘A Bird in the Herd’ in a blog comment last year … Funnily enough, about a month after that, my editor questioned ‘No Cows’, and suggested something like ‘A Bird in the Herd’. I cannot imagine why I didn’t think of it myself! But I’m so very grateful Linda and Clair did, because, with the slightest of tweaks, it’s perfect!

2)  I met my illustrator, Renée Treml, 9 years ago, and she has been an absolute treasure to work with!

(Renée had just 3 days from when she read the manuscript to when the illustration competition closed – but she did it! “That’s how much I loved the story❤️,” she says.)

3)  Whilst ‘The Bird in the Herd’ is technically my third published picture book (‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day’ snuck out during December last year) it was in fact one of my first manuscripts, (written more than three years before ‘This is the Mud!’) – and my second picture book acceptance. It was in progress for 5 years. With COVID and potential shipping delays, we sent it to the printers early, so it’s already been in our hot little hands for 5 months!

Patience is a virtue – but it sure does age a body!😂 The book was written for these two little cuties (OK – there are definitely three cuties in that pic!) but alas, those adorable little farm boys only ever had the unillustrated version. This saddens me – but then I remember that, over the years, whenever I read it aloud during a zillion drafts (as you do, because, rhyme) it would draw my youngest from the furtherest reaches of the house, subtly steadily moving closer and closer, until he was pressed up beside me, because the rhythm of the rhyme would catch him every time. This story is woven into the fabric of our family. And one day, these two men might be reading this book to their own children. With pictures!

My friend Kirsty made a comment on Insta about the perseverance and passion invested in this book. I think they’re the two defining traits of a writer! Kirsty’s comment inspired this poem for today. (You will note the grasshopper, above, who also features on every page of the book.)

Renée has two rather adorable graphic novels that are available in America – with very clever titles! Look out for ‘Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery’ and its sequel, ‘Sherlock Bones and the Sea-Creature Feature’.

‘The Bird in the Herd’ is not yet published in America. I’m hoping it wings its way there so you can all see it for yourself. To say I love it is an understatement. It is glorious, from cover to cover. (Click to read some reactions.)

And now, over to you! What has your passion and perseverance produced this week? (Hands up if you’re sneaking in with a lamipofri.😹)

* This post was edited to include the book blurb. 

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62 comments

  1. Hi again, Kat! I loved THE BIRD in the HERD earlier this week & even more with this added acrostic form poem #EgretsEverywhere! Especially following the herd
    xo
    Jan /Bookseedstudio

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on the new book! It looks fantastic — and I enjoyed the backstory as well as the photo with the three adorables. 🙂 Thanks for the cool acrostic — so very true that perseverance and passion are essential for all writers. And thanks for hosting this week!!

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  3. What a marvelous new book Kat, there’s so much energy in words and images—a perfect picture book match—And what endurance, patience, and wonderful pics, many congratulations!!! Love your acrostic too. Thanks for Mustering us all up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel that it has been a perfect picture book match, Michelle. And whilst I would have loved to have shared the book with my littles, the extended time has produced a book far better than anything I’d imagined. I really do feel that the right team created this book, and I’m so grateful to our publisher and book designer, too!

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  4. Congratulations kat! Perseverance indeed. So happy for you, and for readers who will get to hold this fun book. Also glad to celebrate with you – remember how we celebrated your first PB and my first verse novel with our verse-off? It seems an age ago, but we have only got younger 🙂 Congratulations again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay, Sally. I do, I do! That was another funtastic celebration. I have remembered it often this week. This might be my 7th book – but in many ways, it feels like my first. Perhaps that’s why I’m feeling so youthful.😹 (I did have my finger poised over a pic of me 19 years ago – and Renee and I when we caught up again in 2017. To show the passage of time… But then I settled for the boys.)

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  5. Congratulations on your new book! Thank you so much for sharing the backstory–the idea of your sons reading that book to their own children brings a huge smile to my face. Thank you for hosting, er, mustering as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on the new book! And all the perseverance in its creation. Wow! Holding on to it for 5 months. It looks delightful, and I love the story of how its rhymes drew your son from wherever he was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank-you. You are right – perseverance pays off. Though alas, I still can’t post a comment to your site. But thank-you for linking in with such a layered, constructed poem. It’s beautiful.

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  7. Thanks for hosting, Kat – and yes, we have musters here in New Hampshire, as well! (In fact, I live just a few minutes from Musterfield Farm, if you can believe that!) Congratulations on your book – I know how big a role tenacity and patience play in bringing books to life, so enjoy your accomplishment!

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    • Oh! You have musters. And yet, when I was stateside, I don’t think many kids were familiar with the term? (It was one that we discussed.) When I was in New Hampshire and surrounds, we were looking, looking, looking for signs of cattle – but they were elusive! I realised later that it was probably because they were in ‘barns’ for the winter. Yes? Side note: We don’t have barns in Australia. We have sheds. And they’re for machinery, not cattle. (It makes me sad when I see ‘barns’ (and ‘fields’ – which are paddocks) starting to creep into Australian books, because we’re losing a big part of our rural identity and our vocabulary. Something that I’m quite passionate about. (Ooops. You may have worked that out.🙃)

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      • Oh, there are quite a few dairy farms around – more in Vermont, but there are plenty here in NH! And yes, the barns keep them warm in the winter, and are where their hay is stored, too. Here, a paddock usually refers to a large, corralled area, not necessarily a field, but an area where the livestock (cows, horses, etc.) graze. More similarities than one might realize! You were likely in the less-rural areas, which is why the cows were so elusive! 😉

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  8. Perseverance indeed, Kat. I am happy for your “finally” publication! And love seeing the picture of those ‘adorables’, sure they are still adorable, but a bit grown up! Thanks for the muster this Poetry Friday!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations Kat on your perseverance and stickability in bringing your latest book into being. Well done. Writing is synonymous with the need for such qualities. I like the idea of rollicking rhyme. It delivers a sense of fun and optimism. Thank you for the added bonus of your perseverance poem- and thank you also for hosting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for hosting and congratulations, Kat! I admire your tenacity and your acrostic. And I love the picture of your (three) “little cuties” first readers/listeners. Something is in the air as my post today is cow/farm related, too. 🙂

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  11. Kat, congratulations again on Bird in the Herd! I love the word muster. Thank you for including a page from your book and that precious photo. I adore the memory of your youngest coming from somewhere in your house because he heard your rhyming book and climbed in your lap. Great acrostic-especially “Endurance sweetens success.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am surprised at how much euphoria this week has generated, Gail. I am truly grateful for all the support and shared joy. I think it is that endurance which has made this feel like my first picture book, all over again. 💗

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  12. The story of your book’s journey is such an inspiration and I love knowing about the evolution of the title. That photo tugs at my heartstrings. What a trio of precious beings! Finally, your acrostic is great, with the perfect beginning line! Thanks so much for hosting this week and congratulations again!

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    • Thank-you, Molly. There are so many disheartening days in publishing – and you often feel so alone – but for people to know that there is still hope – I think that’s a good thing. So glad you enjoyed my treasures.

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  13. About length of time on completing a project … while expecting my oldest son, I began cross-stitching a Victorian Santa Christmas stocking. Then he was born and I never completed it – Santa’s there with toys sticking out of a bag that never materialized. Eventually I had it sewn together anyway, as is, and he used it for years. That’s what I think of, reading about the “little cuties” for whom your book was written. Your work turned out to be perfectly complete, endearing and inspiring – name and all! Congratulations and thank you for hosting today!

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    • I sometimes think it’s the imperfect moments that we carry closer, perhaps because we really connect then? And those memories are strongest? Either way, I love your sewing project story. Sentiment wins every time!

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  14. Kat, what a wonderful celebration of Bird in the Herd!
    I don’t remember even thinking Bird in the Herd….how funny. But, I’m so glad you ended up with a title that will draw young and young-at-heart readers into your wonderful poetry. Hooray! Keep those words rolling through your fingers, girl. You’ve got good ideas that need sharing. And, you must be so tickled with the illustrations! The color and the positive whimsy…just perfect. You’ve got a winner, there! Isn’t it funny how endurance really does sweeten success?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You did, you did! What a wonderful inspiration and encouragement you have been. Yes, I adore the illustrations. They are the perfect splash of colour the world – and especially drought affected graziers – need, right now. Renée is a talent (she is author/illustrator of her own adorable picture books, too) and a treasure.

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  15. What a story! (Both IN the book and ABOUT the book!) I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for hosting the roundup.

    Lamipofri? It’s the way I roll. Although I think I’ll name my form Quidaid (Quick Daily Draft). That’s about all I can manage these days, and there’s usually (hopefully) one from the week that is worth sharing in public.

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    • I realised after my (last minute) naming of my last minute form, that I had been too specific. The lamipo – of which I have unwittingly written many over the years (most especially when co-ordinating daily writing challenges😹) – is the last minute poem that can be written on any day. Keep rolling, Mary Lee. Your Quidaids are like bandaids for the world.

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  16. I love your perseverance and need to muster some for myself from your inspiration. I want this book for my little grandchildren so let me know as soon at it’s available here. My poem today is a secret lamipofri. Don’t tell anyone. It’s trying to be a real poem. Thanks for hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, you for sure wrote a sweet poem, Margaret. And yes, I will be celebrating wildly (so you’ll know!) if this little picture book makes its way to America. (I just hope it doesn’t take 19 years!)

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  17. Kat, I love that you are passionate about preserving Australia’s rural vocabulary… and CONGRATULATIONS on this newest release! The image of your son coming closer and closer is such a precious one… as is the thought of him and his brother reading these words to their own children someday. I’m so glad you had patience and persevered… thrilled for you, and for readers everywhere! xo

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  18. Congratulations are being extended once again, Kat. You know that my little Sierra loved your book This is the Mud! and so I am sure she will find this story equally enchanting. Your skill with rhyme and your zest for life seemed to be captured in your new book. Enjoy all the accolades. I look forward to the book coming to America. Thank you for hosting PF today.

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  19. “…because the rhythm of the rhyme would catch him every time.” You can’t help it — it simply flows out of you! 🙂 Congrats again on the new book, Kat! I loved learning the backstory.

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  20. WOO-HOOOO! I didn’t get a post together this week, but I’ve been looking forward to reading yours! Sure love this backstory of patience and perseverance. Just a lot of joy and fun all around with this book, and both are much needed right now – so perhaps your bird was waiting for just the right timing? Renée Treml’s illustrations look delightful.
    You’re an inspiration – Congrats again! (& Thanks for hosting.)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Yay, Kat! Congratulations for The Bird in the Herd! I love hearing about how the book came to be and that you didn’t give up on this adorable story. And I need to print your wise acrostic to keep on my desk. It was great to see you at the Pieces Poets birthday party last night. Technology is amazing, isn’t it? Thank you for the inspiration, and for hosting this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Kat, this is fabulous–congratulations! I love that even though your youngsters didn’t get to enjoy it with illustrations as kids, they were part of the entire creation process as you wrote and revised this. I look forward to reading it! (And thanks for hosting!)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thanks so much for hosting, and for sharing the lovely story behind your new book. Congratulations! It was nice to “meet” you this week, too! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Kat, it was so great to have you last Friday and I’m sorry I’m only just getting back to comment on your rather wonderful long story of two cuties, a calf and an egret. Perseverance and passion indeed–of the latter I have plenty; of the former I tend to flare early and often, have trouble with the steady part that gets you there!

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