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castle3.jpgThis audio story explains how Prince Bertie came to write the first installment of his autobiography (Prince Bertie the Frog).

The book itself presents the text and beautiful full colour pictures to go with an earlier Bertie story which you can listen to here.

Here's the blurb from the back cover:

Once upon a time, Bertie had it all. He was a handsome prince, world skateboarding champion, and engaged to the lovely Princess Beatrice.

Nowadays poor Bertie is just a common frog. His new pondlife friends include Tim the Tadpole and Sadie the Swan. Colin the Grump Carp goes around the pond whispering ugly rumours. Colin says that Bertie's making it all up about his royal past.

In this exciting, up-to-date fairy tale, Bertie exclusively reveals the events that led to his downfall.

The story of how Bertie came to write his book is read by Natasha Gostwick. Duration 10 minutes.

Bertie's been secretly writing his book for several months now. He's dedicated it to his friend Tim the Tadpole. Apparently it's a jolly clever book - well that's what Bertie told me anyhow.

It all began one Monday morning quite a while back, when Tim was the saddest little Tadpole in the pond. He didn't want to eat up his green slime for breakfast, and he didn't want to go to School. Instead he hid under a stone - well it was more like a piece of grit really, because he is very small.

Sadie the Swan swooped down with her elegant neck and picked Tim up on the end of her beak.

"Why don't you tell us what's upsetting you litte Tim?" she asked.

"Can't, can't, can't," wailed Tim, then "Shan't, shan't, shan't..." , and then he dived back into the pond with a minsicule little splash.

"You can tell us, we're you're friends," Sadie called after him.

'Fwaaa", said Colin the Carp, who's a very grumpy fish."Maybe he's finally realised that he's just a silly, insignificant little tadpole. That's enough to make anyone feel a bit down.... and what's more, his entire forseeable future consists of growing up into ugly frog like Bertie... in fact, that fate's so awful that even I feel sorry for him."

And Tim paused for a moment, feeling very, very, very sad. And then in a very small and very squeaky voice he started to explain. You see Tim didn't want to go to school because he wasn't doing very well at reading. And every time he was in the reading class, he felt a bit sad, because all the other tadpoles were doing much better than he was. And he tried and he tried and he tried...but he still found reading things very difficult, especially words. As for sentences, they were just impossible!

"Maybe that's because your stupid," suggested Colin.

"No, no, no, don't be mean," said Bertie. "When I was just a princeling - that's like a prince, you know, only smaller, it took me ever such a long time to learn to read".

"Well, that is surprising," said Colin.

"What we need to do," announced Sadie, "Is to give Tim some help with learning to read. Because all it takes is practice."

And all the pond life agreed that was an excellent idea.

There was only one problem.

They didn't have any books.

"I know," said Bertie. "We'll go to the palace library. They've got lots of books there, like The Greatest Skateboarding Heroes in World History. And 101 Ways to Cook a Chocolate Marshmallow - those are two of my personal favorites."

And so they waited until night time, because it would look a bit strange to see a swan, a frog and a tadpole walking through the Palace in broad daylight.

When it was really, really late, about ten minutes after bedtime, we all crept into the palace library. Sadie waddled, and I carried Tim and Bertie in my handbag.

It was a bit dark inside, but I knew the way because Bertie is always sending me there to look up stories.

Of course inside, there were hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of books. I said I that I knew a really good one called "The Three Little Pigs", - "it's a really page turner" I told them - but it was out. Somebody must have borrowed it.

"I know," said Sadie, "Let's find him the story of Swan Lake".

"Oh no, that's far too sad," said Bertie, who knows all about most stories. "if Tim reads that, he's sure to burst into tears again."

"How about this?" asked Tim.

Bertie pulled the book down from the shelf.

"Relativity: The Special and General Theory by Albert Einstein."

"That sounds good," said Tim. "I've got lots of relatives."

So Bertie handed him the book.

But after a few minutes, Tim said. "I think this one's a bit difficult."

Tim searched for a long time, then choose a book with a blue cover, and which was also very short, because he liked short books.

"Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, by Ludwig Wittgenstein, said Bertie. "Ah, er...that sounds good."

Tim started to read.

After a short while, he tried to scratch his head. Only he didn't have any arms, so it was a bit difficult. Don't you think it would be better if Natasha read it to me?" said Tim. "She usually seems to be quite good at reading."

So I read the first sentence.

"Perhaps this book will be understood only by someone who has himself already had the thoughts that are expressed in it""Err, that's just what I was thinking," said Bertie. Let's read something interesting instead.

"I don't really like any of these books," said Tim.

"What kind of book do you want?" asked Sadie.

"A book about us," said Tim. "About me, and Bertie, and Aunty Sadie, and perhaps about Colin the Carp too, and all the silly little tadpoles, and Grandpa Tommy Frog, and, and about my mum."

Sadie and Bertie looked at each other.

"There is no such book," said Sadie.

"But we'll make one," suggested Bertie, when he saw his little friend looking sad.

And so over the next few days, and weeks, and months, Bertie worked ever so hard at becoming an author. He spent long hours conptemplating the sky, lost in his thoughts, and thinking ever so hard. Eventually, he told me the true storynory of how it was he became a frog, even though he used to be a Royal Prince, and how he came to live on the pond. I wrote it down for him, and and sent it off to the printer.

And when Tim received his copy, he read all the words and looked at all the pictures. He even read some of the sentences too.

And now he doesn't have any trouble reading at all. And everyday at school, Tim is the happiest little tadpole in the pond.

And did you know that you too can get a copy of Bertie's book? It's really rather a good book, says Bertie. All the pages have funny pictures in colour, and there are plenty of nice words in it, and what's best all, the story is absolutely true.

You can buy it by going to Now you see, you don't have to listen to me to learn all about Bertie's adventures,
you can read about them yourself. Well, I hope you'll still listen to me too, sometimes.... because if you don't, I'll feel just a bit sad.

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