Hello Tesco Books Blog readers,
The two loves of my life are small, grey and white, and furry. They are my two cats, Jacob and Lily. They look very beautiful and distinguished but they’re not aristocratic pedigree cats. I found them both when they were rescued kittens at the wonderful Battersea Dog and Cat Home.
I was very impressed by Battersea and the love and care they give to abandoned animals, in many cases nursing them back to health and then making every effort to rehome them with the right family. I leapt at the chance of becoming involved with this splendid organisation, and now I’m proud to say I’m one of their Ambassadors (along with Paul O’Grady, David Gandy and Amanda Holden).
I took great delight in compiling a special anthology of cat and dog tales, with part of the proceeds going to Battersea. I’ve called it Paws and Whiskers and hopefully it will appeal to any animal-loving child from seven to fourteen. I’ve written a brand new story myself about a girl called Leonie who’s desperate to have a cat of her own, especially when it will help her join the ‘Pet Girls’ club at her new school. There’s also a children’s author in this story called Jenna Williams who bears more than a slight resemblance to me!
I had great fun writing this story – but I particularly enjoyed choosing all my favourite animal stories from a host of different authors. I’ve tried to find something to please everyone. I’ve included favourite classics like Kipling’s cat that walked by himself and Orlando the magnificent marmalade cat and those delightful hundred and one dalmatians. I’ve chosen popular much-loved authors like Michael Morpurgo and Jean Ure and Anne Fine. I’ve selected extracts from very modern authors like Patrick Ness and S.F. Said. I’ve included surprising adult authors like Anne Tyler and Ian McEwan. I haven’t done a head and leg count, but I’ve tried to include as many whiskers and paws as possible!
I also have a Pet’s Corner section in the middle of the book where I’ve asked all my children’s author friends to write me a little piece about their pets. I think this is probably my favourite section. If you want to find out about Philip Pullman’s gloriously untrainable pugs, or the day Malorie Blackman’s German shepherd was terrorised by a Yorkshire terrier than you’ll have to read it! I couldn’t resist writing many little anecdotes about my Jacob and Lily throughout the book.
My friend Nick Sharratt has had a wonderful time splendidly illustrating all these cats and dogs. He’s even drawn a portrait of me holding Jacob and Lily. I love the way Nick draws cats – but I love his dogs too. I think it’s about time I went back to Battersea and looked for a little dog …
Pick up your copy of Paws and Whiskers by Jacqueline Wilson in store now!