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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.)

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?


Tinkerisdead Sun 25-Aug-13 18:34:26

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

TeaMakesItAllPossible Sun 25-Aug-13 22:26:52

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!

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