Marilyn’s school visits to talk about White Chin - V Toys and Tales Creative Writing Class PDF Print E-mail

Toys and Tales 9th November 2010

Marilyn visits Toys and Tales

In November wonderful bubbly Karen from The Toys & Tales bookshop in Stockport approached me to give a talk both at Norbury Primary School and also to her Creative Writing Class which she holds in the shop approximately weekly. I have done a report on Norbury separately, but this is an account of her amazing talented little group. Her Creative Writing Class.

On the day I was there, 9th November, the group I spoke to consisted of Niamh, JJ, Imogen, Annie, Joe and Tom and you all did some wonderful writing.

I read from White Chin and then we talked a little bit about the problems and joys and challenges of writing about animals from an animal’s point of view.

These are some of the ideas that you threw around and then wrote about:

  • an abandoned dog, who can’t be rescued because of the allergies of the one who finds him, gets terribly upset and he has to be taken to the vet in the hope that that will sort him out. But will the little dog survive and if so, what will his future be?
  • a brown gerbil sneaks past a sly fox and appears to survive. But does he? And if he does, what happens next?
  • we read the heartbreaking story of a chocolate Labrador puppy who is given to a little girl at Christmas as a present and who horribly and totally reject him. He then has to make his way through Manchester after dark when everything is shut being chased by a big Rottweiler and then…
  • we discover a nest of newborn mice huddled together in the hole of a tree on a beautiful dew ridden morning…more, more, more
  • enter the scary fierce cat, who in reality turns out just to be a tiny little kitten who finally makes a truce with the guinea pig and from that point on they learn to live with each other.
  • and then finally a glorious epic tale about a stray cat without a name who has some very firm ideas of what awful things humans inflict on pet cats, like collars with bells! He gets into an astounding pickle around dustbins and two teenage boys and by Chapter Two we are left on a complete cliff hanger – what has happened – will he survive – who or what is the creature that sounds like a dog. Oh oh. I need to know??? The imagery in this tale was so rich and glorious. Well done indeed.
  • In all these collected writings you have displayed much sensitive thought as to what makes a great story. You all, in quite different ways, have a really good way of knowing how to make us want more in your stories. I am so impressed that you all give up your personal time to come into the shop and join Karen in her Creative Writing courses and I do hope that you will keep it going. You all have real talent and writing is like a muscle when you are an athlete, you need to keep your muscles toned up, so please keep with it, don’t ever give it up.

    I would love to say a very special thank you to you for letting me take over from Karen on that one day, but I just know that what she is doing is really special, so good luck with it and enjoy it and can I also say a very big thank you to Karen and also to James from Toys & Tales for all their support and passion for what makes and keeps books and reading special.

    It will be a privilege to acknowledge your contributions in the new book, MAGNIFICAT, when it is published in 2012.

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Book Reviews

White Chin: the cat that walked by his wild lone

You either love cats or loathe them, but millions of feline fans will indulge themselves in this tale of White Chin, abandoned by his callous owners in a wood.

Forced to fend for himself, he survives until a farmer’s daughter, who witnessed the abandonment, finally finds him and encourages him back to family life.

Edwards, author of the Moon Cottage Cats series, has a genuine feel for the countryside and for the interaction between humans and animals, lending this gentle tale of trust and loyalty a sensitive and uplifting emotional core.

Aimed at younger readers, it will find plenty of adults reading it under the duvet.

Sally Morris - Daily Mail, 17th September 2010

White Chin: the cat that walked by his wild lone

Closely observed and very moving, complemented perfectly by fine detailed illustrations.
Michael Foreman

A terrific animal adventure and an incredibly heart-warming story.

This isn't just another animal story: it's a slice of life and the illustrations are an absolute triumph.
Jane Badger

A sensitively wrought and compelling story that takes you inside the mind of a feline. Edwards has captured a voice that young adults will love.
Karin Slaughter

The Cats of Moon Cottage

A vivid, honest and observant book about a life with cats, told with charm and wit.
Desmond Morris

Cat lovers will adore this book. I know I did. A tender story of love between the author and her cats.
Celia Haddon

More Cat Tales from Moon Cottage

A colourful chronicle that celebrates the many ways animals enrich our relationships and our lives. It's catnip for anyone who has ever loved a feline.
Karin Slaughter

The Cats on Hutton Roof

I admire this book even more than its predecessors. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that in some ways it stands comparison with Tarka the Otter. The tone of voice is different, and so is the pace, but the observation and the empathy are of similar quality.

And these, I believe, are the most important things in attempts to interpret the animal world to the rest of us.
Geoffrey Moorhouse

The Coach House Cats

A fascinating account of the intertwined lives of four cats. A touching book, intelligently observed.
Desmond Morris