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Carol Vaage - Educator, Author, Artist

Retired and loving all three interests!

Bibi and the Bull information and sites

Background of the story:  (content coming soon)


Purchase online: Red Deer Press; Amazon; 


YouTube of  Mayor Henry Braun of Abbostford reading the story: Link


Questions from children for the Author:

Dear Mrs. Vaage:

We love your book!  It was a treat to receive your book!  Our school secretary brought it in and we noticed that it was for us.  We didn’t know who sent it, even though we read the return address sticker.  We opened it up and out slid a book!  We read it right away.  We were surprised when we read it for the first time.  What an ending!

Since then, we have read it many times.  We like to join in and be Grandpa and the bull.  We wondered about some things.  Here they are.

G: What is Grandpa’s name?

Georgia Graham used Walter McVea as her model for the grandpa drawings. However, my Dad’s name was CSPearson. He was the “real” Grandpa.

CP: What is the tag on the bull’s head?

Farmers register all their cattle so that the government knows where they’ve lived and who their owners were (like for example when Mad Cow disease is discovered). Also, it helps farmers track to see what the cattle lineage is.

A: Do bulls really make an “OW--OOO—OW—OOO” sound?

It’s the first time anyone has asked me that question. When the editor of my book saw my sound for the bull sound, he didn’t like it and changed it to this way. I only had “oooooooooo!” That’s the moo sound cattle make. For bulls, it’s much louder and scarier sounding. When I read it, the sound comes from deep in my throat almost like a growling/roar sound, like a bull would make.

CS:  Why did you write about a bull?

People should write about what they know. Since I was raised on a farm, I knew about bulls. We had bulls in the pasture when I was growing up, and I had been chased by a bull when I was little. We used to always go to the stampede every year as well, and my favourite/most thrilling event was the bull-riding event. Bulls intrigue me – they are so huge, so powerful. They’re just mighty animals. Besides? This story was based on a true event. A bull actually did come right over to where my young daughter was playing in the sandbox. When she screamed at him, he walked away.

J: Why is the hayloft so, so high?

An illustrator can exaggerate images in their drawings. Just like you can. Sometimes you can draw longer arms on your body for instance. Georgia drew this hayloft, so it seemed higher. But haylofts are on the upstairs of a barn, and when you are standing near the open door, like Grandpa and Bibi were, it is quite scary. And you can see a long way off when you’re up high.

K: How did you get the medal on the book?

The Canadian Children’s Book Center always picks the best 10 books that were written in Canada each year. They try to find books that represent Canada and have good stories and illustrations that kids would enjoy. So even if you live far away from me, in another part of Canada, you still have been enjoying this book, right? My publisher submitted it to the competition, and they picked it. The first year of the award, we got rolls of stickers that we put on the front of each book we had. The second year, we had the printers just image the sticker right into the ink. That was easier.

J: How did you get your idea for the story?

I was driving out in the country one night after teaching school – to teach some grown-ups out in the country about how important play is in kindergarten. I passed by one farm that had so many bulls and they were stomping around, and it reminded me of that time when the bull got out and went to stand by my young daughter.  At the time, I had been searching for a story idea because I wanted to write a story for my kindergarten class. They all loved it, and it was the parents of those kids who insisted I send the manuscript into a publisher!

S: Do you like your book? It’s my favourite story!

I don’t think it’s the most important thing I’ve done – I think teaching kids is way more important work, but it is fun “being an author.” Some people think I’m famous because of it. Sometimes my picture has been in the newspaper, and that is always a surprise to me. But you might want to grow up to be an author if you would like your picture in the paper!

J: How big is a tractor?

The tractors are getting bigger and bigger every year because it is harder work and more expensive to be a farmer. The bigger the tractor, the more it helps the farmer. In the picture with Grandpa standing beside the tractor, you can see that it is about as tall as a grown-up man – like your dad. Maybe you could go on a field trip to look at tractors, or your mom and dad could find a farm machinery store to go and look at all the equipment. It’s quit amazing how tall everything is.

B: What do you like to do on a farm?

When I was a little girl, my job was to collect the eggs from the chickens every day, plus wash them very carefully. I had to carry coffee and snacks out to the men who were working in the fields. I worked in the garden to help my mom. When I was grownup, I mostly did garden and yard work. My dad did all the farm work with the animals and the crops.

C: Do ducks swim at your farm?

We didn’t have tame ducks on our farm. Only the wild ducks and geese would stop to swim in the small ponds.

Z: Why are pigs sloppy?

Pigs will eat most anything. I used to take big pails of “slop” out to the pigs when I was young. Slop was mostly composting kinds of things – potato peels, orange peels, vegetable water, that kind of thing. We put it into a feeder tray, and all the pigs would rush over and snortle it up. Water and other juice would splash up as they snorkled it up as quickly as they could. Also, one way for pigs to keep their skin from being sunburned is to roll in the mud – like elephants do. That always makes them seem dirty. They’re not dirty animals because they always keep their bathroom waste in one corner of their pen and don’t roll in it, like other animals do. But they are sloppy!

S: What are shivers?

Little vibrations or shakes. Sometimes you get shivers when you’re a little cold. Or when you’re a little scared. That’s what happened to the bull.

M : What made you choose the name Bibi?

I made the name up. My heritage is Scandinavian, and it sounded like it could have some from Sweden or Norway. I didn’t want to use my daughter’s real name in the book – I wanted that to stay more private in our family.

M: Where is the dad?

My husband lived with us on the farm, but he had to go into the city every day to do his work, and he’d come home late at night, sometimes after my daughter was often asleep. My dad, the grandpa, would come out every day to do his farm work, and so he was there a lot to spend time with her He just loved having time to play with her and teaching her things.