Article/page published: 09 January 2017
Last updated: 10 February 2017
Joe was upset.
That afternoon at school, Mr King had told Joe’s class that they were to start a project on pets. First they could tell each other about their pets, and draw them and make models of them. Then they could write up charts about the pets’ food, care and habits. Later on they could bring them to school.
No wonder Joe is upset. He doesn’t have any pets because his mother is allergic to furry animals. So he makes one up, an amazing enormous dragonosaurus. But, secretly, he’d rather have a real one any day. And then, something very unexpected happens…
This is why I wrote it:
I live next to a farm, and am surrounded by animals. I love to watch the lambs in the field behind my writing barn, and the calves and horses being cared for by the farmers and their daughters. One of the fields is a campsite, and it’s always a huge pleasure to see how the visiting children react to the animals, wanting to stroke them or help to feed them, to collect eggs. Some of these children come from cities and have never seen farm animals before. So this book is for them, and it’s also for children like three of my grandchildren, who can’t have pets because of their allergies, but who love to meet them and read about them. And most of all, it’s for children who love to let their imagination fly.
This is how it came to be a book:
Many years ago, in 1990, I wrote a little story for an anthology called Ip Dip Sky Blue. The publishers of the Little Gem books at Barrington Stoke found the story and wrote to ask me if they could make it into a book. I was thrilled. It’s the most beautifully produced book I’ve ever owned – and I wrote the story! Little Gems are everything the name suggests; they are sparkling little books, beautifully made, and things to treasure. I’m very proud to be published by them and look forward to seeing Blue John as my next Little Gem.