A hero of the bed time story: Martin Waddell

Farmer Duck, Can’t You Sleep Little Bear, Owl Babies… his books have brought us warmth and wonder at bedtimes. They have been the life breathed into a thousand infant school lessons too, mine included.

I like Squeak-A-Lot particularly:


In an old, old house lived a small small mouse

who had no one to play with.

So the small small mouse went out of the house

to find a friend to play with.

And he found a bee.

“Can I play with you?” the mouse asked the bee.

“Of course,” said the bee.

“What will we play?” asked the mouse.

“We’ll play Buzz-a-lot,’ said the bee.


But the mouse didn’t like it a lot.

So he went to find a better friend to play with.

…The same kind of thing happens with the dog, chicken and, worst of all, the cat (“Wham! Bam! Scram!\”). The mouse runs away, until he finds some other mice. With them he plays Buzz-a-lot, Woof-a-lot, and Cluck-a-lot, with a Wham! Bam! Scram! chase that takes them back to the old house where they… sleep-a-lot.

In this way, among friends, frightening things are made approachable, danceable, sleep-able.

On this site Martin Waddell says:

As a child

I was read to a lot as a child by people who knew how to read stories. These stories came alive for me, and the love of story has stayed with me ever since.

As an adult

I\’ve been blown up, buried alive and had cancer as an adult, and survived all these experiences, so I\’m a very lucky man. I live where I lived as a child, and nearly all my stories come from things that have happened to me here, at the foot of the Mountain of Mourne.

As an artist

I work in an old stone barn beside my home, and dream my stories in the garden and on long walks on the beach in front of my house. I never write anywhere else. This is where I belong.

There are pictures of Martin Waddell in situ on this page.
There’s a good interview with him here – be patient with the interviewer at the start.



  1. Anonymous said

    A good one! It’s like when it’s dark and the setting is unfamiliar all of sudden we feel the irresistible urge to start telling ghost stories to each other. We concentrate on the known to deal with the unknown. This is the essence of a game.

  2. Simon G said

    Yes, ghost stories. And games. Like that thing about is flickr a MMPORPG (which I found thought provoking – so much that I had too much to say to join in the conversation!). As you said back then “Is Flickr a MMPORPG? Yes, it is. But not only. I have occasionally used it as a MMPORPG. But not only. The truth is I left there pieces of my heart and many, many friends, old and new.” It’s interesting how a game like flickr can be a diminished shadow of reality or it can go beyond being just a game.

  3. Anonymous said

    ‘not only’ is a basic resultant of the human condition…

  4. Simon G said

    – and sometimes the Mouse Condition.

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