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Dr Pamela and the Wonderfully Weird World of Children’s Books!

Pamela Butchart

Today’s blog post is by Pamela Butchart, award-winning author of the Baby Aliens series, the Pugly series, the Wigglesbottom Primary series, and Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon.

When my journey as a children’s author began I had a sneaking suspicion that life as I knew it was about to get even more BIZARRE!

I wasn’t wrong!

A lot of exciting (and slightly bonkers!) things have happened over the past couple of years…

I officially opened a Reading Igloo (made entirely from recycled milk cartons!):

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Book research led me to attend my first ever Pug Party:

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I dedicated ‘Pugly Bakes a Cake’ to 17 pugs (who were then the VIP guests at the book launch):

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I wrote a shakespeare book called ‘To Wee or Not to Wee!’:

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I was given a BLUE PETER BADGE (and was on TV!!):

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I dressed up as a pimento-stuffed olive on World Book Day:

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I even did the first ever wedding day book shop signing (our wedding day coincided with publication day):

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However, something happened a couple of weeks ago that TRUELY takes the crisp!

The University of Dundee decided to award me an HONORARY DOCTORATE DEGREE!!

Here’s me BARELY able to contain my excitement, looking over at my husband and family as I become ‘Dr Pamela’!

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My mum was chuffed when the uni sent a car to collect us on the Big Day. On the way there she told me that she thought this graduation was even better than my first one (awww).

When I asked her why she said it was because she didn’t have to pay for this one!!

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It was great having a Stage Seat! GOOD POINTS included getting to watch the faces of all the excited graduates come up on stage to collect their degrees (one of them was an ex-pupil!).

NOT-SO-GOOD POINTS (1) dropping my doctorate hood in the middle of the ‘Serious and Quiet Bit’ when we were all standing up (of course) and (2) clapping so much I sort of forgot how to use my hands (which must’ve looked a bit weird).

And then I had to give a SPEECH.

It’s all a bit of a blur. I’m told I mentioned Kanye West (twice), the X Factor and chips and cheese. (Don’t worry – there was some serious and hopefully inspiring stuff in there too!).

The rest of ceremony was FULL of surprises! Including the wonderful (and HILARIOUS!) Dean of Education’s speech which included him reading out ‘Rate My Teacher’ reviews he’d found about me online!!

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(Tim is awesome! I’m so pleased that the person who leads some of our future teachers is someone who is down-to-earth, kind and full of FUN!)

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On stage surprises continued as the Chancellor, Lord Patel, randomly whipped out a copy of my book, ‘To Wee or Not to Wee!’ and asked me to do a surprise reading of my retelling of Macbeth to the hall full of new graduates!

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The reading went down well (phew!). The crowd seemed to like the bit where Lady Macbeth (Bethy) is RAGING because she has to go to the shops and do a buffet at the last minute when Macbeth tells her the King’s invited himself over for a party.

I decided to forgive the lovely Lord Patel and sign his copy of the book in the fancy Robing Room after the ceremony.

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It was an honour to meet Lord PateI. He’s probably one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met.

Plus I LOVE his party trick! (He has an uncanny ability to remember if he was at someone’s birth during his 30 years as Head Obstetrician at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

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Lord Patel also became my Mum and Gran’s BFF for the day (and I think my gran might have even asked him for a date!).

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Backstage, EVERYONE was talking about my mum’s fascinator since they’d all seen my Tweet about how she’d run off to buy one as soon as she’d heard the doctor-y news! (Bless her.) It really was a beautiful piece of headwear and everyone was suitably impressed!

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For me, a personal highlight was being the first ever person to sign the Honorary Graduate Roll with an orange Sharpie. (The Queen Mother used a normal pen when she was the first person to sign it in 1967 – I checked).

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My mum got so excited she even went home and did a costume change before the evening reception!

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Pamela Lawrence, from the Alumni team, took excellent care of me all day! We had loads of fun visiting a creative writing class on campus where we had to make up stories on the spot (my husband absolutely stole the show with his random monologue of a disgruntled florist!)

And although I’m yet to find my Crisp Twin, my dad DID keep mistaking ‘The Other Pamela’ for me all day!

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I had a FANTASTIC day! Principal Pete Downs, and all the university staff were absolutely outstanding (and SO much fun!).

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A huge thank to the the University of Dundee for awarding me this honour. And for all you did for my family and friends on the day.

You guys ROCK!

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Love & pugs

Dr Pamela x

Thank you, Pamela! You can read the opening chapters of Baby Aliens Got My Teacher, the first book in the Baby Aliens series, below:

Buy the book online.

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