I‘m Zoe but my friends call me Zozo.
I am an author and illustrator who lives in the southwest of England. Here I enjoy living a self-sufficientish life with a large garden, a vegetable patch, chickens, and cats.
My garden has provided the inspiration for the Tales from Mulberry Garden series of stories, named after the tree that I planted when I first moved here.
It is managed in a way that attracts wildlife by providing spaces for them to thrive. There are dry stone walls, with nooks and crannies for frogs and other small animals to enjoy. Hedges and dense planting provide cover for wildlife, while ponds and small pools give them water to drink. I try to grow flowers across as much of the year as possible to provide food for insects. In return, they pollinate my fruit and vegetable plants for me.
Alongside my children’s stories, I also write adult fiction under the pen name of Maze Shoot and regularly write for charity and local community newsletters under the name of Zoe Thomas.
Tales from Mulberry Garden
Fun for all the family, this series of books is suitable for children and adults alike. Read the story and colour the words and images as you go. The range of images to colour has been designed to appeal to all abilities. Colouring tips help to boost confidence and improve skill levels. There are also puzzles and activities intended to keep everyone entertained.
Aimed at 5–8-year-olds, the books also consider the needs of the adults supervising them. The large, dyslexia-friendly font makes the stories easy to read together, guided by teaching suggestions. The activities can either be done together or independently and are related to the themes within each book. They include word puzzles, simple recipes, songs to sing, and subjects to discuss.
They are ideal for parents, grandparents, home educators and those who run children’s groups. If you are looking for books that children can take turns in reading in a group, look no further. There are no sentences or paragraphs that split across pages, making it easy for a child to read one page each without interrupting the flow of the story. Some pages have smaller amounts of text than others so that the teacher can match the amount of reading to the confidence of the reader. Similarly, with the colouring, some pages are more detailed and intricate than others allowing the colouring skill to develop.
Books by Zozo Thomas
Flit and Flutter By
Flit the butterfly doesn’t like change but, all around her, the world is moving on. How can Flit learn to cope and will she be able to help Tad, the frog, come to terms with his own metamorphosis?
Flit and Flutter By is the fourth book in the series. The story touches on how plants change through the seasons, as well as how frogs and butterflies develop.
The activities in this book include a song to sing accompanied by a dance to encourage children to get active, even if they are seated. There is a discussion about how change can be positive and an explanation of how pollination occurs.
Watch my YouTube video to see some of the pages in this book.
This story is about bullying but also talks about fractions and how plants rot down to form compost. The activities include simple fractions, growing your own bean plants, an explanation of composting in the garden, a bean recipe, how to deal with bullies and how to avoid becoming a bully yourself.
Bill and Coo
Pigeons Bill and Coo are busy building their new nest. How will they cope when an elegant stranger appears, and Bill is in danger? Can they overcome their fears and achieve their goals with the help of their family and friends?
Although the story is about the adventures of two pigeons on the day before their wedding, there is a clear theme relating to body image. The colouring options throughout the book highlight certain words that are then explained in the later activities.
Sunny, the onion, is lonely. He’s different from the other vegetables around him. They don’t look like him, or smell like him, and they talk in a funny way. They are kind to him, but is that enough to cheer him up? Or will he be happier once he goes to live with the other onions? Perhaps he will find happiness elsewhere and fulfil his destiny?
The story of Sunny deals with loneliness and feeling that you don’t belong. The activities encourage children to empathise with those who are new into a group or class and what they can do to help a new person settle in. There is also a song, word puzzles, a recipe and a section on growing onions.