Valerie May Kingsmill
Valerie was born in Kent, England during the Second World War, where she lived in a mostly rural area until her family emigrated to Australia when she was twelve. She spent her teen years near the beaches outside Sidney, then later lived in Melbourne until 1973, when she took a vacation in Canada.
Valerie fell in love with that country, and has lived there ever since, mostly on the Canadian prairies. She and her husband Peter have built small businesses - a community weekly newspaper, a successful tearoom restaurant, and a passenger boat business on the river in Saskatoon.
Throughout her time in Canada, Valerie spent at least some time painting and sketching her surroundings in her adopted - and dearly beloved - country. She was modestly successful as an artist, selling a number of prints and originals, but, as she puts it, "Peter won't let me sell my best paintings, so now we're stuck with them around our house, sharing space with his grandfather Fosbery's landscapes and his mother's rather more impressionist still lifes."
Valerie and her Canadian family have spent more than 25 years near Redberry Lake, north west of Saskatoon. In the early years there, they owned a 20' sailing cruiser with a red hull, which - although not a sailor herself - she grew to love. For Christmas one year, she purchased a plastic toy sailboat for their daughter, who played with it along the beach where she operated one of her croissant-based restaurants. The little sailboat reminded Valerie of the sailing cruiser anchored on the bay, and inspired many of these stories.
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Redberry Tales: Stick-in-the-Mud
by Valerie May Kingsmill
After a winter with Mr. Mouse and friends, the little sailboat family goes back to its boat on the shore, where Boy and Girl wander around and get lost. Boy gets his feet stuck in the mud, and a succession of friendly (but not very efficient) creatures try to help Girl "un-stick" her brother. All ends well - and hilariously - when family friend Mr. Muskrat takes charge and saves the day!
Redberry Tales: Muskrat Lodge
by Valerie May Kingsmill
The little sailboat family gets abandoned on the shore after the little girl they belong to falls through the roof of a muskrat house. The muskrat family meets the sailboat family, and new friendships form as they prepare for the winter. These children's stories suitable for youngsters in pre-school to grade four and are free of messages other than pure enjoyment and imagination.
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