This delightful series of Children’s books teaches many things: kindness, community, acceptance, environment and more.
Resa – I believe the above is the first book in the series.
Robbie – It is the first book in the series. It was the first children’s book my publisher, TSL Publications, published too, so it was a learning curve for all of us.
Resa – On page 22 there’s a roaring fire. It looks delicious. What is it made out of?
Robbie – Ah yes, that fire was fun to make (and eat). The logs are made of a chocolate bar we get in South Africa called a Flake. It is quite crumbly and does look like it’s made of wood.
The fire is made from yellow buttercream piped using a large star nozzle and the earth is made from crushed, dark Oreos. Very delicious.
Resa – So, your son and husband are both named Michael!
(This is a bit embarrassing, but I thought Robbie wrote these books with her husband.)
Robbie – My husband’s name is Terence. Both my sons have Dean as a second name which is my father’s first name. It is a family name that has been passed down for a number of generations.
Resa – “Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees” is quite pertinent and important in my mind. Bees are so important to our survival. Did you and Michael do this tale as a teaching story?
Robbie – Yes, all the books have a subtle teaching point about teamwork, friendship, acceptance or the environment. The Sugar Dough Bees and The Condensed Milk River are both about environmental issues and I have been pleased that lots of the children do pick up on them. It shows that the schools and their parents are giving them good guidance about our planet and looking after it.
Resa – Yes, last night I read “The Condensed Milk River”. It’s great that you feature environmental issues.
Resa – Your son was 10 when you wrote these books based on some of his ideas. That was in 2016. He must be 16 – 17 now. Does he still help with ideas?
Robbie – Michael is turned 17 on Monday, 30 January. He does still help with ideas for the stories, he has a wonderful imagination. Most of the Sir Chocolate books were written in 2014 and 2015 although I am only publishing some of them now.
I haven’t had to change them much as we still like the stories. My artwork has grown though and I’ve tackled more difficult projects like fondant dogs and a gingerbread caravan.
Michael assisted with a number of the ideas and themes for Haunted Halloween Holiday which we wrote and published last year.
He is very open minded and there is a strong theme of acceptance of difference in that book. A Vampire (Count Sugular) is married to a witch (Witch Honey) and their male baby is a banshee (I’ve only heard of female banshees before). I have been delighted to see child readers picking up on this and making remarks about a vampire married to a witch.
Resa – I see in “The Sugar Crystal Caves” that the recipes are not cooked or baked, but are created out of biscuits, wafers and other already made treats that are glued together with icing sugar.
This seems fun for younger children, that are not ready to bake, even with mom’s help. Is this what you intended?
Robbie – The instructions on how to make boats, cars, and other fun things from biscuits and icing was just an idea I had when I wrote that particular book. I had been remembering making sugar crystals and racing cars out of boudoir biscuits when I was a kid and I wanted to share that knowledge. I don’t think kids are shown how to do these sorts of activities any more and they are such fun. I did a few of these activities with my Sunday School class and they loved it. Biscuit art is an alternative to baking and is also a fun and bonding exercise for children and caregivers.
This particular book has done well with the pre-schools. I think the biscuit art is easier for teachers to do with their classes than baking.
Resa – I like the biscuit art. It’s like food LEGO. Kids get that.
What a great suggestion – biscuit art is like Lego. I didn’t think of it like that but your are right, it is all about construction.
Resa – In “Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five”, you teach about African animals. It seems there is more to this than just teaching about animals. After all, they have to be saved from the lazy elves. What was your & Michael’s objective in this story?
Robbie – The objective of this particular book was partly to teach children about the “Big Five African Animals”, but it was also about teamwork and formulating a plan to solve a difficult problem. Sir Chocolate and the other animals all work together to find and rescue the Fondant Five. They derive a plan and implement it.
Resa – After I read “Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Fairies”, I thought….. Kindness and understanding bring personal rewards. Am I on the mark here?
Robbie – This little book had a few subtle themes. Obviously, colours was one, as well as different flavours and tastes and being adventurous about different taste combinations. Kindness and being helpful and thoughtful if people are sick are unable to attend to their jobs and needs for a period, was also a theme.
Resa – In “Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog”, Sir Chocolate’s son is the hero. You teach about some dogs, but there is more. Tell me about the main lesson in this book!
Robbie – Chocolate Fudge is intended to be a good example to children. He is smiley, always polite to teachers, and does his work and achieves good marks. The dogs, on the other hand, are naughty and undisciplined. They chase the ducks and scare the frog. When Lord Humbug calls for the little dog who is struggling in the water, he doesn’t listen, but choses to carry on playing. As a result of his disobedience, he ends up in trouble and nearly drowning. Chocolate Fudge is brave and becomes a hero by saving the little dog.
I’ve also read “Haunted Halloween Holiday”. I reviewed it on my Hallowe’en post. Click on the book cover & go to that post. Scroll to near the end and find the review!
Diana from “Myths of the Mirror”blog reviewed Robbie’s new children’s Christmas story. Click on the above image, and go to the page of reviews. Diana writes the best book reviews!
Resa – I adore all of your fondant characters & cake castles & scenes etc. Personally, your fondant flowers blow my mind. Is the day lily on the shortbread in “the strawberry cream berries” a fondant or real flower?
Robbie – Yes, that flower is made from fondant. It is a wired flower which means that I run a narrow piece of florists wire through the base of each petal when I made them (each petal is made separately, of course). When they are dry, I then twist the wires together to form the flower. Wired flowers are challenging to make.
I modelled the pink one you referred to on a similar coloured flower in our garden. I love animals, birds, flowers and nature in all its shapes and forms. I usually study flowers, and other creatures for a few weeks before I attempt to model one. I like to get the small details right in each creation.
Resa – Robbie, I’m all into details. Thank you for patiently answering my many questions. It allowed me to write a detailed post on the marvellous creation of a son and his mother.
To learn about making fondant sculptures from Robbie, click on the cake above!
On top of everything there are recipes to go with the stories. Most are classic treats. Robbie shows us how to make Choc Chip Cookie & Choc Cupcakes.
The videos are edited by Gregory Cheadle, Michael’s brother older by 3 years.
Click on Robbie’s profile above, and go to her books on Amazon.
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