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Julia Donaldson webchat, Wednesday 28 August, 9-10pm

(180 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 23-Aug-13 09:48:19

We're thrilled that acclaimed author and former Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson is our webchat guest on Wed 28 August.

A Squash and a Squeeze, The Gruffalo, Zog, Room on the Broom, Tiddler and a host of other best-loved books have endeared her to countless children.

Her latest book is The Further Adventures of The Owl and the Pussy-cat, in which she revisits Edward Lear's favourite rhyme, with beautiful illustrations by Charlotte Voake.

So, if you're a fan, please grab a glass or a cuppa and come and chat to Julia about her writing at 9pm on Wednesday.

And if you can't make the webchat itself, do post a question in advance.

As a taster, take a peek at this exclusive new Mumsnet video of Julia, and her husband Malcolm, singing their brand new Owl and the Pussy-cat song. (There are on-screen lyrics if you want to use it as a sing-a-long with little 'uns.)

Sconset Fri 23-Aug-13 09:59:04

I love Julia Donaldson, and I'm sure my dc will have lots of questions, especially as we'e just been to the "squash and a squeeze" exhibition and they had a fabulous time!

But the Owl and the Pussycat?

I love the old song sad don't know if I can listen to a new one... the other was a huge part of my childhood memories.

Nice to see you Gerry, too smile

gazzalw Fri 23-Aug-13 11:31:50

Hi Julia

Our two DCs were brought up on your books and we all loved reading them as a family! Any chance you might consider writing for older children - just think that your stories are so lovely and it's a pity that your books can't progress with the children as they grow!

Thanks

LentilAsAnything Fri 23-Aug-13 17:33:07

Hi, Julia

Loving your work.

How do you choose an artist for your books (both when you started out and now that you are successful)?
If I were to write a young children's book, what's the best process for finding an artist? Can you put a good word in to Axel for me! wink

Thank you!

Sorry if that counts as more than one question! If only answering one, I'd prefer advice re how to find an illustrator for my book. smile

blondieminx Fri 23-Aug-13 17:36:23

I can't think of anything clever to ask but just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU as the books are a delight to read and my DD loves them.

We too went to the Tiddler production (at Colchester's Mercury Theatre) and we loved it, would be very interested to go to further stage adaptations smile

SPBisResisting Fri 23-Aug-13 17:43:06

Hi Julia, we're big fans of your books here, adults and children.
My question is do you consider yourself a feminist? I love Zog, and insist on reading it to my two whenever I feel overwhelmed by the pink princess /weak women stuff.
Also, do you have a favourite of your own books? I love the Snail and the Whale, it's almost like poetry.

Hello Julia, just wanted to say thank for getting my little boy reading. I don't think he would have done if it wasn't for you and Axel Scheffler. Looking forward to reading him your newest book, it's my favourite rhyme!

Hi Julia,

We love your books in this house, you are easily our favourite author in the world smile

Will there be another Christmas cartoon made of one of your books this year? We have all 3 on DVD, as well as the books and love watching them, then reading the stories.

mrscmcfeely Fri 23-Aug-13 18:47:36

Hello Julia! My 7 year old son would like to know how you created the Gruffalo character? I would just like to say thanks for giving us hours of enjoyment x

Munxx Fri 23-Aug-13 20:41:59

Hi Julia

We love the Gruffalo books in this house, but my daughter wants to know where the Baby Gruffalo's Mummy is! She always asks.

Thanks so much, also thanks for Zog what an amazing female role model there is in that book!

hugoagogo Fri 23-Aug-13 20:59:04

hello

My daughter is 11 and her ambition is to be a writer and illustrator, what advice would you give her?

and thankyou so much for your books, they are wonderful to read aloud, it makes my job (reading books to under fives in the library) so much easier.

SilveryMoon Fri 23-Aug-13 21:07:02

Hi Julia, I haven't got a question, but just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful books thanks
My son (6yo) is struggling at school at the moment, his teacher wanted to concentrate on reading first, but he has little interest.
We were in a bookstore recently and they had a big display of all of your books and he called out "Look mummy! Julia Donaldson! She is my favourite" He then asked me to buy some for him, which I did and he couldn't wait to get home so I could read them to him.
grin

johnworf Fri 23-Aug-13 21:11:52

Hi Julia. We're huge fans of yours and met you in Stockport 2 years ago.

My question is: How do you decide which illustrator to use? I really love Axel's illustrations but I wonder why some of your books have pictures done by different people?

gemscott3383 Sat 24-Aug-13 00:07:32

I would love to know where Julia gets her inspiration from, since so many of her characters are the underdogs and not "the usual" characters for children, like Superworm (which is our favourite) and the Highway Rat, not to mention the Gruffalo, what inspires her when creating a new main character?

MixedClassBaby Sat 24-Aug-13 12:15:20

Just another thank you here. My DDs always pick up a stick to carry when we go out walking - and then return it 'to the family tree' when we come home.

enormouse Sat 24-Aug-13 12:44:26

How much input did you have on the gruffalo and gruffalos child films?
We love them in our house as well as your books and our DS watched them so much the DVD wore out.

TheTimeTravellersWife Sat 24-Aug-13 15:57:55

Both my children love The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and many of your other books. Do you have any plans to release a Gruffalo app for ipad or other tablet?

weebarra Sun 25-Aug-13 08:50:49

Thank you Julia for all your books, my two DSs love them.
DS1 is 5 and he would like to know if the Gruffalo's child has a mummy?

edam Sun 25-Aug-13 10:15:31

love your work. Sadly ds now thinks he's too old, aged 10, but I don't think you are ever too old, esp. not for the snail and the whale.

Which is your favourite book?

Jenijena Sun 25-Aug-13 10:42:00

My DS is only 1, but your books are easily the most fun to read and I'm always on the look out for others! Came across Tyrannosaurus Drip the other day and loved it smile thank you for making a non-wussy princess in zog.

My question is: I've found the gruffalo in quite a few of the JD/AS books, but can't see it in Monkey Puzzle. Is it there? (I bet someone else can answer that too).

Vajazzler Sun 25-Aug-13 10:43:10

Hi Julia I'd like to ask how it feels knowing that tales you have written are in the hearts minds and homes of so many children?

WafflyVersatile Sun 25-Aug-13 11:34:33

Hello Julia,

The gruffalo is dedicated to my old school which, of course, made me very excited when I bought it for various nieces. But I don't know what the connection is. So what is your (or Alex's) connection?

WafflyVersatile Sun 25-Aug-13 11:38:14

Bah. Typo. Axel not Alex.

Hi Julia
We love your books. I always wonder if you intended for the books to appeal to adults as much as to children, or if it just happened naturally, and whether you ever considered writing a book specifically aimed at an adult audience?

LittleMilla Sun 25-Aug-13 16:43:10

Hello Julia,

My two year old ds absolutely adores your books and we recently got given the gruffalo DVDs. Also wondering if you have plans for more adaptations? We don't really 'do' tv in our house but at just 20-25 mins long it provides wonderful entertainment whilst I bf my other son!

Also, we are huge super worm fans in this house. To the point that my son goes looking for worms in our garden but insists on being kind and "making them happy". So just another thank you for making reading already such a huge part of our family's life. And we cannot wait to explore more of your books.

X

Waspie Sun 25-Aug-13 16:50:37

Hi Julia

Another huge thank you for your brilliant books. My son's first proper sentence was "Once there was a fish and his name was Tiddler" smile.

His favourite story is Tiddler and mine is Zog. What's your favourite of your stories?

Thanks.

I just had to post to say Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for writing such wonderful stories that I actually enjoy reading to my children. We love your books so much we actually had a Gruffalo party once, you can see my gruffalo cake if you click on my name.

My question is which of your characters/ideas did you tell to your own children and who were their favourites?

shrunkenhead Sun 25-Aug-13 19:06:15

Hi Julia, my question is as follows: Do you think your most successful books are those you've had illustrated by Axel Scheffler?

MarianneEnjolras Sun 25-Aug-13 19:35:25

Hi Julia

We love your books in our house too, they're so much more fun for an adult to read aloud and I think the rhyme really helps get my son interested. His favourite story at the moment is the Highway Rat.

But I have just one little niggle... can you try and avoid rhyming words like scarf with giraffe? grin My northern accent just can't handle it. wink

trice Sun 25-Aug-13 20:26:43

Hi Julia, I just wanted to say that my children and I love your books. We also love your songs. You have given so much joy to so many bedtimes, I love the language and the rhymes.

What was your favourite children's story book when you were a child?

FannyFifer Sun 25-Aug-13 20:50:39

I'm going to see Tiddler @ the Fringe tomorrow with the kids, can't wait.
Also i hear that you are going to be signing books so double excitement in my house. grin

I love your books so much, i always assumed you were Scottish as the flow of your books lends itself so well to a Scottish accent.

Anyway, my question is, are the illustrations of your characters how you imagined them when you wrote the books?

tryasimight Sun 25-Aug-13 22:26:05

I also want to know which of your books is your favourite?

I want it to be Tabby McTat which I think is hugely underrated but my DD's have just discovered the Singing Mermaid and would love it to be that

OMG! Can I just thank you for making the past decade of bedtime stories fun - after 4 DSs I could so easily be very bored but I'm still happily chirping away of an evening about snails on tails of whales, gruffalo crumble and stickmen. I love the books so much I tend to give a selection of them to first born babies in a family.

I'd be really interested to know which story pleases you most and why?

I love snail and the whale - the rhythm and the story just are perfectly aligned.

FishCalledWonder Mon 26-Aug-13 00:43:13

We love your books in this house. My favourite is Tiddler but 20 month old DD's is definitely the Gruffalo.

My question is: when writing, do you start with the character or with the storyline? Does it vary with each book?

Ooops. That's two questions.

RobinBedRest Mon 26-Aug-13 00:48:08

I would like to ask if you are a vegetarian, as one or two of your books seem slanted towards the nut/waterweed eaters?

Vijac Mon 26-Aug-13 07:54:52

We love your books too, what a joy they are grin! My questions are how long does it take you to write a book and at what stage does the illustrater get involved? Plus how much conversation do you have with them or do they get free reign? Also, love the video of the song, you and your husband look very happy together. Does a happy home life lie behind your success?

Brockle Mon 26-Aug-13 09:38:29

I would just like to say thank you for your wonderful stories. My children love them and I have introduced them to my 9 month old ds3 who loves Monkey Puzzle.

my question is about your inspiration for your stories. Do the characters for your stories form first or do the words/verses come to you and you build your stories around the verse?

asuwere Mon 26-Aug-13 10:06:00

I love your books, at recent library trip, DS3 chose 3 books and they were all yours! smile

I would like to know if you find yourself rhyming in everyday life?

MrsKwazii Mon 26-Aug-13 16:03:50

We love your books in our house too Julia - I love the way they're a pleasure to read aloud as you get into the rhythm of each story. I can imagine that you spend a very long time getting each line just so. Are there any of your books where you'd like to go back to and tweak a sentence or word here and there?

Suddengeekgirl Mon 26-Aug-13 18:26:31

My dc (4&2yo) LOVE your books - as do dh and I! smile

We took the dc to the exhibit at Seven Stories in Newcastle last year and they were so excited so see so may things from their books at home!

My question is... Is everything you write in rhyming form?
(Apologies if I've missed an example of this!)

Suddengeekgirl Mon 26-Aug-13 18:27:28

Oops - meant to add a follow up question... Are you the rhyming rabbit? smile

Brockle Mon 26-Aug-13 21:03:38

I love the rhyming rhythm in Zog especially. Are there any stories that you are particularly proud of?

Troll isn't a rhyming story is it? did you make that decision or did the story seem to need prose?

Tee2072 Mon 26-Aug-13 21:22:26

Hi Julia

We also love you in this house but if I have to read Smartest Giant In Town one more time, I may cry grin.

I was wondering who 'translates' your books for America? I'm American and was looking to buy your books for a cousin who is having a baby soon but don't think 'Spiffiest Giant in Town' is quite the same thing...

RubyrooUK Mon 26-Aug-13 22:50:50

Hi Julia,

Can you reveal the method of you go about writing a book? (Eg, do you set yourself a number of words to write each day or think of a story in your head, then set it down in writing in one go? Do you jot down pictures with the text or not?)

And thank you for so many wonderful stories. My son has just turned three and knows the majority of them off by heart. He recites the rhymes whenever he has a spare second when he is not otherwise talking. I am always being shamed as he shouts in public places "I'm having witch and chips for my tea" or "I'm a lizard wizard and you're in my power". Worst of all is when he says in a small pathetic voice "I've lost my mum" and people rush to his aid while I am right there.

aristocat Mon 26-Aug-13 23:28:45

Hi Julia, another fan of yours here. My favourite is definitely Room on the Broom smile You have made reading a pleasure for so many.

My daughter likes your Princess Mirror-Belle stories, will you write more like these please. And my question is where do you get your ideas from?

westcoastnortherner Tue 27-Aug-13 01:06:21

Hi Julia

We love Tiddler, A Squash and a Squeeze and The Smartest Giant in Town!

My Daughter wants to know if she can give you an idea for a new book?

She wants a book where the school supplies come to life.

TheContrastOfWhiteOnWhite Tue 27-Aug-13 09:09:38

Hi Julia,

We really love your books in our house. Thank you for the wonderful stories.

My question is another one about illustrations. Did you have a very firm idea of how the Gruffalo should look, or did he look different in your imagination until Axel drew him. He could have quite a few different 'looks' from the information int he story.

Cies Tue 27-Aug-13 09:25:48

We love your books here.

My three year old would like me to ask you about the hat in Tabby McTat : "why is the hat first the old checked hat, then the new checked hat, then old again?" (my own explanation is not good enough it seems, he wants the authoritative version grin )

HappyAsEyeAm Tue 27-Aug-13 09:35:37

Julia, Did you intend for Prunella and Pat, in Tabby McTat, to both be female? And are they supposed to be a gay couple? I have been wondering this for a while, as it could have been that you intended Pat to be male, and maybe Axel then had the idea of them both being female. Or am I making something out of nothing?!

Our favourite book of yours is Sharing a Shell. I have always read the anenome's voice in a thick Welsh accent, for some reason! Essentially just exaggerating my own, fading accent. "I'm an anenome, not a blob ..."

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Tue 27-Aug-13 10:22:30

Huge favourite in our house. I don't think our daughter's life would be the same without The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom.

I'd like to know where you would point children as they get older and move on from your own stories. Do you think there's an equivalent you for older children?

Disclaimer: I can't imagine DD ever getting too old for Room on the Broom. I'm certainly not!

RSVP Tue 27-Aug-13 11:45:26

Hi Julia,

Very big fans here too.

I am a bit unsure about the ubiquity of Gruffalo merchandise.

I appreciate that it probably supplements your income, but do you ever worry that it might escalate to Thomas the crap Tank Engine territory, i.e. overpriced, overdone etc, and distract from the brilliance of your books?

Thank you

MapofTassie Australia Tue 27-Aug-13 12:16:18

Julia we love your books here (and the DVDs). DS1 was wondering if Stickman ever escapes from the Gruffalo's Child?

majjsu Tue 27-Aug-13 12:22:17

I love your books as much as my little girl. Her current favourites are Hippo Has A Hat and Chocolate Mousse For Greedy Goose.

What books did you love to read as a child?

threepiecesuite Tue 27-Aug-13 12:39:41

I have no question but just want to say a heartfelt thank you for writing The Paper Dolls, mine and my daughter's most favourite bedtime story ever. I love the rhymes, the imagery, the illustrations, and the 'kind granny' in the memory gets me every single time.
Thank you - you are wonderful.

mrscog Tue 27-Aug-13 13:46:25

No question, just praise - DS is only 18 months and we only have 'What the Ladybird Heard' and 'Sugarlump and the Unicorn' (Amazon Vine have sent it to us to review) but we love both. I'm really looking forward to reading more.

Lydia Monks is such a wonderful illustrator too, I love her style of mixing photgraphic texture with drawings smile

Thank you!

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Tue 27-Aug-13 14:30:36

What is your opinion on ebooks for children? Do you think you can't beat the physical act of going to buy a book and devouring it when you get home? Or do you think that things change and ebooks will quickly become the norm?

We're big fans of yours in our house. So many lines from your books are ingrained in what we say.

We don't give each other cuddles, we have a squash and a squeeze instead. When one of us see's a clear blue sky we will mention zigzagging through the blue. When walking through the snow, 'aha aho, tracks in the snow, where do they come from, where do they go?'. If we ask one of the boys to put something down they will 'drop it politely' grin

FCEK Tue 27-Aug-13 15:54:11

Hi Julia. I was not aware you were deaf until I read "Freddy and the fairy". I too am deaf and this book had really helped my daughter and her friends understand my needs better. Have you considered using this book to help raise deaf awareness in hearing schools? Or in deaf schools to make children feel less alone? Do you work with any deaf charities? (sorry that's a lot of questions!)

nameequality Tue 27-Aug-13 20:14:31

My DH would like to know whether The Gruffalo was inspired by Norse Mythology as he says the Gruffalo is a bit like a troll (a proper one not an internet one grin).

Kveta Tue 27-Aug-13 20:14:45

Hi Julia, my children (and I!) love your books - what do your grandchildren think of them? Are they aware that granny wrote them?

(I was in your middle son's class at school, then went to Glasgow at the same time as him, and one of my sisters was in your younger son's year, then went to Dundee at the same time as him too - I remember you being in the audience for many orchestra concerts whilst I was at school, little knowing that you were such a literary star! I won't be online for the webchat tomorrow, as I'm flying back to Milngavie with the children, accompanied by our rat eared and well loved copy of the Gruffalo grin we are SO happy that our favourite author is from East Dunbartonshire smile)

chiara32mutandone Tue 27-Aug-13 20:56:55

Can I just ask as am new here, how do webchats work exactly?

GloriaJones121 Tue 27-Aug-13 23:48:59

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Tee2072 Wed 28-Aug-13 07:29:32

chiara the guest comes on and answers a selection of the questions and, sometimes, other questions that are asked on the day.

Their posts will be highlighted in orange.

Does that make sense?

NicksWife Wed 28-Aug-13 08:04:45

Hi Julia, just wanted to thank you for all of your fantastic books and songs! They are dearly loved in our house- dd1 loves Stick man and dd2 loves The Gruffalo! We're looking forward to your new book.
How much discussion happens between you and the illustrator? We were reading Room on the Broom and I wondered how much input you had in the design of the final broom- it's fab!

FourGates Wed 28-Aug-13 11:51:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmandaPandtheNightmareMonsters Wed 28-Aug-13 12:39:02

Not a question, but I've just got tickets for DD1 and me to come and see you at the Cheltenham literature festival. So excited!

DuelingFanjo Wed 28-Aug-13 12:56:58

How did you get your first picture book published and do you think it's harder if you are just the writer and not the illustrator?

Asking because I have an idea for a children's picture book but not sure if I need to look for an illustrator or should I attempt to do the pictures myself.

Carriepreston Wed 28-Aug-13 12:59:44

Hi Julia, when it comes to the illustrations of your books do you work directly with the illustrators to describe how you picture the characters or do they work off the descriptions already within the books ?

LilyBolero Wed 28-Aug-13 15:47:05

Hi Julia, firstly, thanks for all your books, we have loved them through all our 4 children, each one has had their favourite - ds1 loved The Smartest Giant in Town, whilst for ds2 Tiddler was the obligatory night-time story for months on end - I think we know it by heart!

My question is; "What advice have you for aspiring writers/illustrators? My dd is 10, and is constantly making books which she writes and illustrates, and ds2 is a fantastic artist with a great eye for detail, and is always drawing illustrations for books that don't have pictures, or copying illustrations from existing books. We just let them get on with it, but do you have any interesting ideas for projects they could do?"

LilyBolero Wed 28-Aug-13 15:48:38

Oh and yyy to loving Princess Mirror-Belle too - dd has devoured the books, but the audio discs have also whiled away many a long car journey. They are fantastic, especially Snow White and the Eight dwarfs!

LilyBolero Wed 28-Aug-13 15:51:17

(I wish there was an edit function on here) - just to add, one of the reasons we love Mirrorbelle is because it is almost uniquely, a story for girls (and boys) with a girl/princess who ISN'T all pink, fluffy, fairy-wings. As dd is none of those things either, it was great to find stories that weren't all 'Rainbow Fairy' types (if you know what I mean!).

TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 28-Aug-13 15:56:13

Hello Julia. How tall is the Gruffalo?

My kids love the book but it made them scared to go for walks in the woods until I pointed out it looked big to the mouse but actually it is less than knee-high to a human. One of my kids does not believe me. Please can you confirm?

Many thanks.

IvanaCake Wed 28-Aug-13 19:42:13

I just wanted to pop in to tell you how much we love your books. My daughters are 3 and 5 and are huge fans, as are myself and Dh.

Thank you so much for all that you write smile

WoodstockDaddy Wed 28-Aug-13 19:45:16

My 4yo daughter loves JD's books - as does her 8yo brother (still: he loved them when he was younger, but still enjoys them and reads them to his sister).

One of my favourite holiday memories is of Norfolk in 2008 when we had the CDs of Gruffalo, Snail and the Whale and the rest playing in the car the whole time. Soundtrack to the summer!

Looking forward to reading the new Owl and the Pussycat book.

AllSWornOut Wed 28-Aug-13 19:49:29

Dear Julia, another thank you from our household too. Tabby McTat is our favourite and i would like to know if he has a Scottish accent, and a stealthy second question, did you have a tune in mind for their favourite song? I have of course made up a tune but i always wonder what the original was.

indyandlara Wed 28-Aug-13 19:52:17

We love your books and came to see you at the Edinburgh Book Festival this month. My daughter was desperate to meet you and was delighted when you looked at her paper dolls. Thank you for doing for younger children what JK Rowling has done for older kids. You make reading cool! Oh and we adore the Gruffalo in Scots!

cindy21 Wed 28-Aug-13 20:03:28

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cindy21 Wed 28-Aug-13 20:04:35

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JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 20:20:03

Test

PenguinBear Wed 28-Aug-13 20:29:20

Hi Julia,

I love your books, as do my children. I am also a primary school teacher who loves sharing your books with my Reception class at work.
I would love to write my own books for this age rage and wondered how you get your ideas and how they translate onto paper?

Thank you smile

SPBisResisting Wed 28-Aug-13 20:31:42

Welcome!

TheContrastOfWhiteOnWhite Wed 28-Aug-13 20:32:03

Welcome!

AnneEyhtMeyer Honduras Wed 28-Aug-13 20:33:26

Just wanted to say thank you for making reading to DD so much fun. She loves all your books, and is delighted that one of your books is about someone with her name!

As well as engendering a love of books your stories have also made DD a fan of the theatre - we have been to see several adaptations locally.

From a personal perspective thank you for reminding me how much I loved the Highwayman poem - one of my favourites at school and I love that DD now has her "own version"!

It must be great to make so many people smile.

SPBisResisting Wed 28-Aug-13 20:34:50

Is your DD called Zog? wink

AnneEyhtMeyer Honduras Wed 28-Aug-13 20:35:13

How did you guess? grin

Blatherskite Wed 28-Aug-13 20:38:49

Will there be any more TV adaptations of your books? We've loved the ones that have been done so far. I now find myself reading the Gruffalo in a Scottish accent smile

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 28-Aug-13 20:51:31

Evening all, Julia's here now and limbering up to answer you questions. Welcome, Julia - over to you!

SPBisResisting Wed 28-Aug-13 20:53:08

<waits>

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 20:53:16

Hello everyone! I'm really looking forward to reading your questions and doing my best to answer them. I had a great time last year on Gransnet and so my hopes are high!

SPBisResisting Wed 28-Aug-13 20:54:07

They had you before we did envy

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 20:54:35

I visited that school before I had a publisher for the book, and had such a great time there that I promised that if it was ever published I'd dedicated to the school (Auchterhouse Primary).

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 20:57:05

edam

love your work. Sadly ds now thinks he's too old, aged 10, but I don't think you are ever too old, esp. not for the snail and the whale.

Which is your favourite book?

I have written several books which are suitable for ten-year-olds! Your son might enjoy THE GIANTS AND THE JONESES or THE DINOSAUR'S DIARY, or he might even like my teenage book RUNNING ON THE CRACKS, which (along with THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT) is my current favourite.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 20:57:49

WafflyVersatile

Hello Julia,

The gruffalo is dedicated to my old school which, of course, made me very excited when I bought it for various nieces. But I don't know what the connection is. So what is your (or Alex's) connection?

I visited that school before I had a publisher for the book, and had such a great time there that I promised that if it was ever published I'd dedicated to the school (Auchterhouse Primary).

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 20:58:40

weebarra

Thank you Julia for all your books, my two DSs love them.
DS1 is 5 and he would like to know if the Gruffalo's child has a mummy?

A lot of people (specially Germans for some reason!) ask about the Gruffalo's child's mum. I'm afraid that as the mere author I haven't been illuminated.

highlandbird Wed 28-Aug-13 20:58:44

Another fan of your books here who just wanted to say thank you so so much for making reading to my son a pleasure! He is 2 and a half but we have been reading your books for over a year, our favourites are what the ladybird heard, squash and a squeeze, snail and the whale and more recently the singing mermaid and tabby mctat. He likes me to read the same story over and over and with your books I really don't mind, we also like that there's always something new to find in the illustrations, I think your stories go very well with the illustrations used and I would also like to hear how closely you work with the illustrators.
Also, do you have a favourite book you like to read to your grandchildren?
Thank you again, looking forward to reading your new book, we love the original.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 20:59:23

johnworf

Hi Julia. We're huge fans of yours and met you in Stockport 2 years ago.

My question is: How do you decide which illustrator to use? I really love Axel's illustrations but I wonder why some of your books have pictures done by different people?

It takes a long time to illustrate a book and I don't think one sole illustrator could keep up with me! Plus, each one has their own strengths. For example, Charlotte Voake who illustrated THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT, has quite a Lear-esque watercolour style which was very much in keeping with the text.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:00:51

SPBisResisting

Hi Julia, we're big fans of your books here, adults and children.
My question is do you consider yourself a feminist? I love Zog, and insist on reading it to my two whenever I feel overwhelmed by the pink princess /weak women stuff.
Also, do you have a favourite of your own books? I love the Snail and the Whale, it's almost like poetry.

I suppose I could be called a feminist, though actually initially there wasn't going to be a girl in Zog at all - the dragon was going to meet a trainee knight! My husband is a doctor and maybe that's why I gave Princess Pearl her ambition to do that job. THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE is one of my own favourites, and I think was influenced by Edward Lear's THE JUMBLIES. (Lear of course also incluenced THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT!)

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:01:37

LentilAsAnything

Hi, Julia

Loving your work.

How do you choose an artist for your books (both when you started out and now that you are successful)?
If I were to write a young children's book, what's the best process for finding an artist? Can you put a good word in to Axel for me! wink

Thank you!

Sorry if that counts as more than one question! If only answering one, I'd prefer advice re how to find an illustrator for my book. smile

Usually once a text by a new author has been accepted by the publishers they (the publishers) will suggest an illustator or maybe give a little bit of choice. They often like to pair up someone established with someone less well known.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:02:27

gazzalw

Hi Julia

Our two DCs were brought up on your books and we all loved reading them as a family! Any chance you might consider writing for older children - just think that your stories are so lovely and it's a pity that your books can't progress with the children as they grow!

Thanks

I do write books for older children! I've mentioned some in answer to another question, and I have also written the three PRINCESS MIRROR-BELLE books, about a naughty reflection who comes out of the mirror.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:03:03

Sconset

I love Julia Donaldson, and I'm sure my dc will have lots of questions, especially as we'e just been to the "squash and a squeeze" exhibition and they had a fabulous time!

But the Owl and the Pussycat?

I love the old song sad don't know if I can listen to a new one... the other was a huge part of my childhood memories.

Nice to see you Gerry, too smile

I know what you mean about sequels to well-loved books. I did hesitate, but I am such a devotee of Lear that I felt it was my way of saying a big thankyou.

MishMoshi Wed 28-Aug-13 21:03:50

Hello, my daughter loves your books. I especially like Zog as it helps counter the princess message little girls are force fed these days. You may have heard of the Let Toys Be Toys campaign who started on here, they want retailers to stop promoting toys as gender specific - one of the things they found was that the Gruffalo is often promoted as a 'boys' item. What would you say to retailers who do this?

Beggars78 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:04:42

LOVE your books Julia. My 3 yo is currently obsessed with the Gruffalo.

What's your favourite book? (By another author)

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:04:49

highlandbird

Another fan of your books here who just wanted to say thank you so so much for making reading to my son a pleasure! He is 2 and a half but we have been reading your books for over a year, our favourites are what the ladybird heard, squash and a squeeze, snail and the whale and more recently the singing mermaid and tabby mctat. He likes me to read the same story over and over and with your books I really don't mind, we also like that there's always something new to find in the illustrations, I think your stories go very well with the illustrations used and I would also like to hear how closely you work with the illustrators.
Also, do you have a favourite book you like to read to your grandchildren?
Thank you again, looking forward to reading your new book, we love the original.

Thanks for your lovely comments. My grandchildren started off with the books illustrated by Nick Sharratt, such as GOAT GOES TO PLAYGROUP and TODDLE WADDLE. He's a brilliant illustrator for very young ones.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:06:22

MishMoshi

Hello, my daughter loves your books. I especially like Zog as it helps counter the princess message little girls are force fed these days. You may have heard of the Let Toys Be Toys campaign who started on here, they want retailers to stop promoting toys as gender specific - one of the things they found was that the Gruffalo is often promoted as a 'boys' item. What would you say to retailers who do this?

I think it's a shame if retailers see THE GRUFFALO as purely a boys' book. And THE GRUFFALO'S CHILD certainly has a big female following (she is a plucky little girl Gruffalo.)

SquidgyMummy Wed 28-Aug-13 21:06:41

Hi Julia,
My 2.10 year loves "Room on the Broom" and luckily so do I as i read it to him every night.

On a slightly less flippant note, it has really helped him with his speech as he is a bit behind with expressive speech.

Do you have specific educational aims when you are writing your books, or do you just write witty verse purely to entertain all your fans?

SPBisResisting Wed 28-Aug-13 21:07:42

Hi Julia, we're big fans of your books here, adults and children.
My question is do you consider yourself a feminist? I love Zog, and insist on reading it to my two whenever I feel overwhelmed by the pink princess /weak women stuff.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:07:57

SquidgyMummy

Hi Julia,
My 2.10 year loves "Room on the Broom" and luckily so do I as i read it to him every night.

On a slightly less flippant note, it has really helped him with his speech as he is a bit behind with expressive speech.

Do you have specific educational aims when you are writing your books, or do you just write witty verse purely to entertain all your fans?

I don't have any educational aims when I'm writing the picture-book texts. But I have written a series of phonic books (called Songbirds) and also a series called Plays to Read, which are specifically designed to help children read with expression.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:09:55

AnneEyhtMeyer

Just wanted to say thank you for making reading to DD so much fun. She loves all your books, and is delighted that one of your books is about someone with her name!

As well as engendering a love of books your stories have also made DD a fan of the theatre - we have been to see several adaptations locally.

From a personal perspective thank you for reminding me how much I loved the Highwayman poem - one of my favourites at school and I love that DD now has her "own version"!

It must be great to make so many people smile.

Thank you! I loved The Highwayman poem by Alfred Noyes when I was at school too, and tried to use that rhythm when I wrote THE HIGHWAY RAT.

AllSWornOut Wed 28-Aug-13 21:10:35

In the same vein as the feminist questions, but not a question as I've already asked mine (!), I was very sad when I realised that in the publicity for a Christmas showing of the Gruffalo's Child here in France, they clearly called the Child a "he". Such unthinking sexism sad

I've not read the book in French (and didn't in the end see the film) so I don't know if the translation is correct.

I have read "A Squash and a Squeeze" in German (actually the first one of your books that I read) and the translation is excellent - I prefer it to the English version!

TheHandbagOfGlory Wed 28-Aug-13 21:11:04

I just wanted to say a very heartfelt thank you for your books. My DS is very quiet and doesn't open up to people much but his school had literacy week where his primary 1 class concentrated on your books. He loves A Squash and a Squeeze and Monkey Puzzle and when they did these in class he suddenly spoke up for the first time in class and there has been no stopping him since.

So thank you, you have such a difference to my little boy.

MmeLindor Germany Wed 28-Aug-13 21:11:10

Hello Julia,

I saw an interview with you and Axel and you mentioned setting 'Room on a Broom' in the sky because Axel complained about drawing so many trees on the previous books, to which he replied that he found something else to complain about.

It made me laugh a lot, because my husband is German, and he is similarly direct and a bit of a complainer so I wondered if it was just a German trait. smile

Do you find a difference between UK illustrators, and those from other countries?

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:11:45

indyandlara

We love your books and came to see you at the Edinburgh Book Festival this month. My daughter was desperate to meet you and was delighted when you looked at her paper dolls. Thank you for doing for younger children what JK Rowling has done for older kids. You make reading cool! Oh and we adore the Gruffalo in Scots!

THE PAPER DOLLS is one of my own favourites, and I have to say that I love the way my husband reads it aloud at book festivals. Did you know that there's currently an attempt to break the Guinness book of Records for the longest ever chain of paper dolls? (You can look on Google to find the website.)

Vijac Wed 28-Aug-13 21:13:05

How long have you been writing books and did you study English?

ktlq Wed 28-Aug-13 21:13:27

Hi, what's your favourite book and which books inspired you to become a writer when you were growing up?

I'd love to know how you got into the writing game or if you have always written, maybe I need to read your biography!

All the best, what a great feeling it must be to know the effects your work has on young children!

Katie

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:13:33

MmeLindor

Hello Julia,

I saw an interview with you and Axel and you mentioned setting 'Room on a Broom' in the sky because Axel complained about drawing so many trees on the previous books, to which he replied that he found something else to complain about.

It made me laugh a lot, because my husband is German, and he is similarly direct and a bit of a complainer so I wondered if it was just a German trait. smile

Do you find a difference between UK illustrators, and those from other countries?

I think there is a "European" style (and Axel is quite European) but it's hard to put a finger on it. Certainly some UK illustrators are popular in Europe while others do better in the States.

Blatherskite Wed 28-Aug-13 21:14:35

I just googled "Plays to Read" and found nothing confused

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:14:37

ktlq

Hi, what's your favourite book and which books inspired you to become a writer when you were growing up?

I'd love to know how you got into the writing game or if you have always written, maybe I need to read your biography!

All the best, what a great feeling it must be to know the effects your work has on young children!

Katie

I got into book-writing through being a song-writer (for children's TV mostly.) My first book, A SQUASH AND A SQUEEZE, was initially a song.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:15:22

TheHandbagOfGlory

I just wanted to say a very heartfelt thank you for your books. My DS is very quiet and doesn't open up to people much but his school had literacy week where his primary 1 class concentrated on your books. He loves A Squash and a Squeeze and Monkey Puzzle and when they did these in class he suddenly spoke up for the first time in class and there has been no stopping him since.

So thank you, you have such a difference to my little boy.

That is very touching. Thanks so much for telling me about your little boy.

highlandbird Wed 28-Aug-13 21:15:38

Thank you for your reply Julia! We haven't read those books so we'll look them up.
All the best with your new book, look forward to reading with my sons for years to come! grin

SquidgyMummy Wed 28-Aug-13 21:15:44

Thanks Julia, that is very helpful (I have Songbirds now open in another tab on Amazon)

Will be ordering this evening!!

FannyFifer Wed 28-Aug-13 21:16:01

Did you enjoy Tiddler on Monday?

SucksFake Wed 28-Aug-13 21:17:01

All of us love your books in this house; I think we each have a different favourite.

I especially love Zog, mainly because of Princess Pearl.

Who is your favourite character out of all those you have brought to life?

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:18:04

LilyBolero

(I wish there was an edit function on here) - just to add, one of the reasons we love Mirrorbelle is because it is almost uniquely, a story for girls (and boys) with a girl/princess who ISN'T all pink, fluffy, fairy-wings. As dd is none of those things either, it was great to find stories that weren't all 'Rainbow Fairy' types (if you know what I mean!).

I'm always delighted when people like the Mirror-Belle books which as you say aren't at all girly. They're the stories I most enjoyed writing, and were inspired by my oldest son's imaginary friend Sammy who lived in the mirror.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:18:42

SucksFake

All of us love your books in this house; I think we each have a different favourite.

I especially love Zog, mainly because of Princess Pearl.

Who is your favourite character out of all those you have brought to life?

AnneEyhtMeyer Honduras Wed 28-Aug-13 21:19:34

I know I have already asked my question and been answered, but wanted to also thank you for the Songbirds books - absolutely fantastic!

As someone who was taught to read using whole word recognition I find them so much easier to use with DD to explain phonic sounds than other reading schemes.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:19:35

JuliaDonaldson

SucksFake

All of us love your books in this house; I think we each have a different favourite.

I especially love Zog, mainly because of Princess Pearl.

Who is your favourite character out of all those you have brought to life?

The character I most enjoy acting on stage is the sheep from THE RHYMING RABBIT. (I do her with my attempt at a Welsh accent!)

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:20:36

FannyFifer

Did you enjoy Tiddler on Monday?

I think that TIDDLER AND OTHER TERIFFIC TALES is a wonderful show (by the company Scamp who also brought STICK MAN to the stage.) They are so energetic and creative.

MmeLindor Germany Wed 28-Aug-13 21:20:38

Thank you for your reply, Julia. My kids will be very impressed that I 'chatted' to you online.

Isn't it a shame that so many of us didn't know that you have written books for older readers? I will certainly be looking at the books you mentioned for my preteens.

SucksFake Wed 28-Aug-13 21:22:15

I'll have to try a Welsh accent when I'm reading that one too then! Fred from Tabby McTat is always Scottish when I'm reading! Thank you for all the joy you have brought with bedtime stories.

kh137 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:22:16

Hello,

I've just started writing a few stories to share with my three year old son. Any tips for turning these into a book and getting published? Thanks

TheHandbagOfGlory Wed 28-Aug-13 21:22:48

Thank you for replying.

It's lovely to be able to say thank you to you for your characters and stories, in "real life" I wouldn't get a chance to do that smile

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:24:22

glenthebattleostrich

Hi Julia,

We love your books in this house, you are easily our favourite author in the world smile

Will there be another Christmas cartoon made of one of your books this year? We have all 3 on DVD, as well as the books and love watching them, then reading the stories.

I'm glad you enjoyed the animations. My own favourite was ROOM ON THE BROOM. Sadly there won't be a new one next Christmas, as the producers are concentrating on promoting the books and films in America. (Do help if you can, everyone!) But there might be a new one in 2014 - fingers crossed.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:27:00

gemscott3383

I would love to know where Julia gets her inspiration from, since so many of her characters are the underdogs and not "the usual" characters for children, like Superworm (which is our favourite) and the Highway Rat, not to mention the Gruffalo, what inspires her when creating a new main character?

In creating a new character I sometimes just scratch my head and ask myself "Who haven't I done yet?" But occasionally a picture inspires me. (This was the case in THE PAPER DOLLS.) And for THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT it was a request from a publisher for a sequel.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:27:57

kh137

Hello,

I've just started writing a few stories to share with my three year old son. Any tips for turning these into a book and getting published? Thanks

It's a good idea to get THE CHILDREN'S WRITERS' AND ARTISTS' YEAR BOOK which is full of tips and contact details.

tinyangel Wed 28-Aug-13 21:28:12

We love 'jack and the flum flum tree', i particularly love reading it as it has a lovely rhthym. Were you on a train writing this??!!

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:29:07

MixedClassBaby

Just another thank you here. My DDs always pick up a stick to carry when we go out walking - and then return it 'to the family tree' when we come home.

My own children used to love playing with sticks, which is probably what inspired STICK MAN. And lots of children tell me they've seen Stick Man in the woods. (I think he's a bit easier to find than the Gruffalo.)

tinyangel Wed 28-Aug-13 21:29:20

rhythm :-)

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:30:55

tinyangel

We love 'jack and the flum flum tree', i particularly love reading it as it has a lovely rhthym. Were you on a train writing this??!!

I like this question! Actually I often do bits of writing on trains, but the bath is the main place where I get inspiration and solve problems. Have you heard the JACK AND THE FLUMFLUM TREE song yet? It's quite a catchy calypso but was very hard to memorise!

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:32:50

AllSWornOut

In the same vein as the feminist questions, but not a question as I've already asked mine (!), I was very sad when I realised that in the publicity for a Christmas showing of the Gruffalo's Child here in France, they clearly called the Child a "he". Such unthinking sexism sad

I've not read the book in French (and didn't in the end see the film) so I don't know if the translation is correct.

I have read "A Squash and a Squeeze" in German (actually the first one of your books that I read) and the translation is excellent - I prefer it to the English version!

I agree that the German translations are good. Malcolm and I have done 4 tours of Germany, along with Axel, and can recite many of the stories in German. We're now practising ROOM ON THE BROOM in Italian for a performance in a Milan bookshop.

LentilAsAnything Wed 28-Aug-13 21:33:12

Thanks so much for the reply! smile

A cheeky follow-up question if you run out of first-timer questions:

"Usually once a text by a new author has been accepted by the publishers they (the publishers) will suggest an illustator or maybe give a little bit of choice. They often like to pair up someone established with someone less well known."
Would I have much say in the illustrations?

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:35:02

AllSWornOut

Dear Julia, another thank you from our household too. Tabby McTat is our favourite and i would like to know if he has a Scottish accent, and a stealthy second question, did you have a tune in mind for their favourite song? I have of course made up a tune but i always wonder what the original was.

Yes, there is a tune for the TABBY MCTAT song (though you're welcome to make up your own!) You can hear my tune on the audio version of the book, sung by Imelda Staunton.

tinyangel Wed 28-Aug-13 21:35:15

There's a song for it too?! My ds will be over the moon! Thank you! The illustrations are perfect for the book too.

wheretoyougonow Wed 28-Aug-13 21:36:15

Hi Julia
Thanks for coming on mumsnet. Sorry of this question has already been asked ( my phone is playing up) - will there be a third gruffalo book? My 6 year old is a big fan and we would love another adventure.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:36:47

enormouse

How much input did you have on the gruffalo and gruffalos child films?
We love them in our house as well as your books and our DS watched them so much the DVD wore out.

The film-makers were very considerate and did consult me and Axel a lot along the way, though they also came up with lots of ideas of their own.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:38:25

Carriepreston

Hi Julia, when it comes to the illustrations of your books do you work directly with the illustrators to describe how you picture the characters or do they work off the descriptions already within the books ?

Usually we work quite separately. I write a text and send it to the publisher who then shows it to the illustrator. I do get to see the roughs and to comment, but I try not to be too dictatorial.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:39:38

wheretoyougonow

Hi Julia
Thanks for coming on mumsnet. Sorry of this question has already been asked ( my phone is playing up) - will there be a third gruffalo book? My 6 year old is a big fan and we would love another adventure.

Sorry, I'm not planning a 3rd Gruffalo book, though I do occasionally wonder about the Gruffalo's Granny!

WhatALark Wed 28-Aug-13 21:39:45

Hi Julia, I wish to join in the chorus of parents thanking you for creating such fabulous, entertaining, and well-written books. My son and I greatly enjoy your stories, especially The Snail and the Whale - it's such a beautiful tale!

My question is, other than the magnificent Edward Lear, which authors did you enjoy as a child?

Julia!! Hi!! <<waves manically>>

No - you don't know me; I am simply unreasonably excited to have found this webchat and am rather star-struck.

I saw you and your husband perform The Stickman at the Goethe Institute in Glasgow several years ago. You were both marvellous and I had to hide the book afterwards because come July I was weary of reading a story with a Christmas (kinda) theme...

So, here's my question: what possessed you and your lovely DH to perform in a foreign language?! So brave, and so fun and a memory I treasure.

Hope you are both very well indeed x.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:42:37

WoodstockDaddy

My 4yo daughter loves JD's books - as does her 8yo brother (still: he loved them when he was younger, but still enjoys them and reads them to his sister).

One of my favourite holiday memories is of Norfolk in 2008 when we had the CDs of Gruffalo, Snail and the Whale and the rest playing in the car the whole time. Soundtrack to the summer!

Looking forward to reading the new Owl and the Pussycat book.

So glad you enjoyed the audios. I'm quite excited that for THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT they are going to let me (and my husband Malcolm) do the audio version.

VivClicquot Wed 28-Aug-13 21:43:40

Hello Julia,

More fans of all your stories here. My 2 year old can recite the whole of the Gruffalo, Gruffalo's Child but her absolute favourite is the Paper Dolls. I wish you could see her running around the house singing "They were Ticky and Tacky and Jackie..." smile

Anyway, my question is that some of your stories have quite dark passages in - I'm thinking specifically of the Paper Dolls where the little boy cuts the dolls into thousands of tiny pieces. Is it hard to strike the balance between having an 'edge' to your stories and the traditional 'happy ever after' ending of most children's stories?

AllSWornOut Wed 28-Aug-13 21:43:43

Thank you for answering my question - I didn't know there were audio book versions available, almost-3 year old DS will be over the moon smile

If you run out of first questions may I ask which foreign languages have translated the best and worst?

As mentioned below, "A squash and a squeeze" is fantastic in German, whereas I personally think that the German version of the Gruffalo is missing something compared to the English version. However my PIL get immense pleasure reading the foreign versions so the general story and rhythms seem to translate well.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:43:58

PacificDogwood

Julia!! Hi!! <<waves manically>>

No - you don't know me; I am simply unreasonably excited to have found this webchat and am rather star-struck.

I saw you and your husband perform The Stickman at the Goethe Institute in Glasgow several years ago. You were both marvellous and I had to hide the book afterwards because come July I was weary of reading a story with a Christmas (kinda) theme...

So, here's my question: what possessed you and your lovely DH to perform in a foreign language?! So brave, and so fun and a memory I treasure.

Hope you are both very well indeed x.

We really enjoyed performing at the Goethe institute. The inspiration for learning the books in German was Axel Scheffler, who hails from Hamburg though he lives in London.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:45:46

VivClicquot

Hello Julia,

More fans of all your stories here. My 2 year old can recite the whole of the Gruffalo, Gruffalo's Child but her absolute favourite is the Paper Dolls. I wish you could see her running around the house singing "They were Ticky and Tacky and Jackie..." smile

Anyway, my question is that some of your stories have quite dark passages in - I'm thinking specifically of the Paper Dolls where the little boy cuts the dolls into thousands of tiny pieces. Is it hard to strike the balance between having an 'edge' to your stories and the traditional 'happy ever after' ending of most children's stories?

THE PAPER DOLLS is probably the most poignant of all my books, as it has a theme of bereavement and memory. But I like to think that the resolution is a hopeful one. The book also celebrates play and the imagination. I am so thrilled with Rebecca Cobb's illustrations. She really "got" the story.

Joycey29 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:46:33

Love your books - as do my kids!
So pleased that rhyming books are still being seen to be great, despite concerns they don't translate!

tryasimight Wed 28-Aug-13 21:47:06

hi julia, my 5 yr old daughter has been listening to your books for years now.

for her 5th birthday this summer I bought her a copy of the singing mermaid.

she was enthralled by it and when we read it for the first time she was horrified by the mermaid being trapped in the fish tank.

the story was handled so beautifully and always ends well, which I know as a parent makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

I have always wondered how you feel as an author introducing themes like being fearful or abandoned to such a young audience?

Oh, thanks for that - I had no idea Axel was German (although the name is a bit of a giveaway I suppose blush)

Reading your books gives me serious creativity-envy and I dread the day when my kids are too old to be valid excuses to keep buying your books.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:47:59

WhatALark

Hi Julia, I wish to join in the chorus of parents thanking you for creating such fabulous, entertaining, and well-written books. My son and I greatly enjoy your stories, especially The Snail and the Whale - it's such a beautiful tale!

My question is, other than the magnificent Edward Lear, which authors did you enjoy as a child?

I liked so many different authors! Among my favourites were E. Nesbit, Richmal Crompton (who wrote the William books), Mary Norton (The Borrowers), and some books about a schoolgirl called Penny, written by A. Steven (or Stephen?) Tring. Oh, and some terrific school stories by Nancy Breary, but you don't hear about her these days.

Sconset Wed 28-Aug-13 21:49:08

Thank you Julia, I hadn't realised when I posted originally that you'd done a sequel to the Owl and the Pussy Cat, rather than re-written it! blush

I am sure it will be as loved in this house as your other books are!

When my eldest was tiny, I misguidedly sang the Smartest Giant in Town refrain to my DD... who then insisted every time the same, and now it's a standard in our house. Please don't ever write a song for that one... or I'll be scuppered when I'm found out wink

As amazing as I think Axel Scheffler is as an illustrator (and I do adore his style), I have a real soft spot for The Troll, and its illustrations- it just has a wonderful atmosphere (the Troll himself has a sort of wc London accent I've found...)

GoldenHares Wed 28-Aug-13 21:49:39

Thank you Julia, your books have brought so much shared enjoyment at bedtimes for my daughters and I.

Thank you.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:49:42

tryasimight

hi julia, my 5 yr old daughter has been listening to your books for years now.

for her 5th birthday this summer I bought her a copy of the singing mermaid.

she was enthralled by it and when we read it for the first time she was horrified by the mermaid being trapped in the fish tank.

the story was handled so beautifully and always ends well, which I know as a parent makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

I have always wondered how you feel as an author introducing themes like being fearful or abandoned to such a young audience?

I'm glad you like THE SINGING MERMAID, which is one of the most enjoyable ones to act out. (We have a life-size puppet, and my husband acts wicked Sam Sly.) I actually think that children can cope with quite serious plights and themes as long as there is a happy or at least hopeful ending.

TheOldestCat Wed 28-Aug-13 21:51:08

Hi Julia. We're massive fans in this house - we saw you and the gang at Hay (and we especially liked Malcolm in The Gruffalo!)

Paper Dolls made me cry (my DC's have lost their kind granny). It's beautiful - thank you.

My question - if you've time - which current children's authors do you admire?

cheers.

VivClicquot Wed 28-Aug-13 21:51:33

Thank you so much for the reply. As an aside and at the risk of outing myself, my nickname for most of my life (due to my surname) has been Broom, so I can't help but giggle whenever I hear anyone ask whether there is room on the broom... smile

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:51:41

Sconset

Thank you Julia, I hadn't realised when I posted originally that you'd done a sequel to the Owl and the Pussy Cat, rather than re-written it! blush

I am sure it will be as loved in this house as your other books are!

When my eldest was tiny, I misguidedly sang the Smartest Giant in Town refrain to my DD... who then insisted every time the same, and now it's a standard in our house. Please don't ever write a song for that one... or I'll be scuppered when I'm found out wink

As amazing as I think Axel Scheffler is as an illustrator (and I do adore his style), I have a real soft spot for The Troll, and its illustrations- it just has a wonderful atmosphere (the Troll himself has a sort of wc London accent I've found...)

Sorry - there IS a song for THE SMARTEST GIANT! (I know you don't want to hear it, but if anyone does, it's included in our song book ROOM ON THE BROOM AND OTHER SONGS.) But loads of parents have made up their own tunes, which I think is fantastic. Maybe there should be a new audio with all the different versions on it, sung by the mums and dads!

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:53:13

TheOldestCat

Hi Julia. We're massive fans in this house - we saw you and the gang at Hay (and we especially liked Malcolm in The Gruffalo!)

Paper Dolls made me cry (my DC's have lost their kind granny). It's beautiful - thank you.

My question - if you've time - which current children's authors do you admire?

cheers.

I admire Meg Rosoff, Michael Rosen, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Malorie Blackman, among many others.

SPBisResisting Wed 28-Aug-13 21:55:19

This thread has been really interesting reading smile I know I'm not supposed to do this but I'd be really grateful if you have time, to answer my question.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 21:58:37

SPBisResisting

This thread has been really interesting reading smile I know I'm not supposed to do this but I'd be really grateful if you have time, to answer my question.

Hi! I did actually answer your question about the feminist aspect of ZOG, but maybe something went wrong. Anyway, I suppose I am a feminist, even though initially Princess Pearl was going to be a boy (a trainee knight). My husband, who's a doctor, is maybe the reason why I made Pearl aspire to that career.

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 28-Aug-13 21:58:39

Hey everyone,

Alas, the hour is over - thanks so much for your fantastic questions, and huge thanks to Julia, for answering so many of them so brilliantly.

JuliaDonaldson Wed 28-Aug-13 22:00:01

Goodby everyone and thanks for some really interesting questions. My apologies if I unwittingly left anyone out. Now I'm off for an early night so that I'll be in good form tomorrow for the launch party of THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT.

SPBisResisting Wed 28-Aug-13 22:00:15

Ah! Sorry if I missed your response, have been refreshing madly! Thank you

SPBisResisting Wed 28-Aug-13 22:01:19

How did I miss that? I have been sitting here reading and also slightly sulky grin

edam Wed 28-Aug-13 22:06:15

Ooh, I missed the webchat but she answered my question! And gave me some book ideas for ds. smile Am now settling down to read the thread.

Sconset Wed 28-Aug-13 22:06:49

Aw- thank you so much! thanks

Thank you so much and good luck for the launch tomorrow smile

TheOldestCat Wed 28-Aug-13 22:37:28

Thanks, Julia. Good luck with the new book.

WafflyVersatile Wed 28-Aug-13 22:53:16

Thanks for solving that mystery for me, Julia. smile

I knew I'd miss being online at the right time tonight.

I wanted to ask what she said on BBC breakfast this morning. It sounded like I don't give a 'swearyword', I don't give a fig. But that seems unlikely.

Carriepreston Thu 29-Aug-13 10:33:33

Thank you for answering my question smile

AmandinePoulain Thu 29-Aug-13 14:01:56

I am a little sad that there won't be an adaptation this Christmas - I loved Room on the Broom smile and I was hoping for Stickman this year grin.

The stage adaptation of Tiddler and Room on the Broom are fantastic too smile

Roseanna05 Thu 29-Aug-13 19:23:57

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

I feel I've missed out - I have not seen any of the animations nor theatre productions shock I did not know that there had been Christmas animations

Lulumouse Mon 09-Sep-13 12:32:48

x

JessicaWakefield1 Mon 09-Sep-13 15:47:34

x

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