If I may, I wish to answer a few questions I have been asked by those here on The Farm who are more curious of mind (for by now we have all become aware of the continued chronicling of our adventures). The question I hear asked most frequently is: For what age are these stories intended? Are the stories suitable for everyone or anyone in particular? Is there any age limit regarding who might enjoy them? These questions I hear often by those wishing to perhaps read aloud to their young ones, and therefore I shall attempt here to present a useful answer. In considering this question of I was led into a fair amount of contemplation. When asked by my fellow residents here on The Farm, I often make a simple quip, even though our lives do at times enter the realm of the exciting and the perilous. For the younger ones among us, a more specific answer would be a strong reader as the vocabulary would indeed be challenging and a learning opportunity for those less experienced with substantial chapter books. Certainly anyone more seasoned (say age eight or over) will likely encounter little difficulty and may still learn a new word or two. But such notions as using age categories might be too narrow, for strictly speaking one's age given in years is perhaps irrelevant. Time and experience grant us differing "ages" depending on what it is we wish to do. For example, even given my relatively substantial number of years, I am still only a child when it comes to baking Banbury cakes or conjugating French. Nevertheless, certainly the young ones here on The Farm enjoy listening to our tales, as do those with a more seasoned, sophisticated or even philosophical disposition. With so much variety in taste, interests and abilities, this is not a simple question with a simple answer.
It may suffice to say the stories can be read by anyone, for there is much here for young and old. I do have a number of friends and acquaintances with young ones who read the stories aloud in the evenings. Others of a similar age read them alone. Recently I was told of a nine year old who read of our experiences as recorded in Lillybeth and Hinsberth: The Edges of Things — a book of over 400 pages — in one rather long night. In summary, the point of my digression is to say the record of our lives here on The Farm are stories for anyone of any age, whether reading or read to, who enjoys the simple and very real magic of books.
R. S. Markel has invited Mr. Abselard, a dear porcine friend, confidant, and resident of The Farm, to share a few thoughts on a wide smattering of topics gleaned from the pig's venerable tradition of their morning conversations. We do hope you enjoy this new addition.
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Photograph by Tracy Burke
Welcome. I am a writer and illustrator of novels for young (and young at heart) readers who have a passion for exploring fantastic places, impossible events, and the magic and mysteries of our world. Please feel free to read a bit about my work and peruse the character essays, interviews, and illustrations. I do hope you enjoy this small glimpse into the world of Lillybeth and Hinsberth.
"I am so sorry Mr. Hinsberth. I almost forgot — you are real."
The Edges of Things