School Visits

Forton Primary on 21st September 2010

Marilyn visits Forton Primary

Forton Primary was the very first school I visited, so I approached the school feeling as if I was going to jump in at the deep end, but in the event you were absolutely wonderful and really friendly. I was introduced to your school by Mary Wynberg from the Corner Bookshop in Garstang and your own special Linda Lambson made me hugely welcome.

I talked and read from White Chin, we had some questions and answers and then we did a writing exercise. After I got home you all wrote me wonderful letters, following reading White Chin in class and that was really special to me as the author. Here are some of the things I picked out from the letters:


Joe said he would like me back for the next book and that he especially liked the bits about badgers, so perhaps I will have a badger in the next book!

Jade was a bit worried by the amputated leg (I know, Jade, it worried me that bit, too) but otherwise she liked it.

Another Joe thanked me for my “wow” words, I love that description Joe, and am glad that the wow words were ok for you.

Thomas drew an especially spectacular White Chin and Grace wrote a long essay about all the animals.

In the next letter Georgia told me that they are really enjoying having White Chin read out in class, and she specially asked me to put a dog in the next book. Well Georgia, I have, but he is a golden retriever not a springer spaniel, sorry! But at least you have got some of your wish.

Robert especially likes the “groosom” stuff, and Robert I love love love that spelling, can I borrow it please?

James asked if he could use his Waterstone’s voucher to buy White Chin, sorry James for taking so long to get back to you, but yes is the answer. All branches of Waterstones will order the book in for you and if you are really lucky they may even have it in stock, you never know!

Emily announced that she was off to the Corner Bookshop to buy a copy and I know they are keeping stock of it, so that is good of you Emily and yes, it is really kind of you to ask me back to the school with the next book and I would love to come. It won’t be published until 2012 though, so it is a bit off yet! Great cat drawing by the way!

And it was really sweet of Oliver to say that he reckoned that my illustrator, France Bauduin, could draw the Eiffel Tower, and yes, Oliver, she sure could, not certain she would necessarily want to though as animals and cats are especially the thing she loves to draw! You did a great pic of White Chin, thank you.

Joe likes the kittens but didn’t like the leg, I reckon that goes for most of us Joe!

And Daniel, as I told Georgia above, because you both made such a strong plea there is going to be a dog in the new book, and he is gorgeous, but slightly daft. His name is Clueless. The book (and the main cat) is going to be called Magnificat.


Your writing exercises were really good and I am just listing some bullet point words or phrases that I might borrow:

  • cat listening to rustling of grass
  • cat using claws to hold and pierce the mouse
  • brilliant description of cat catching fish in a really bloody and fierce way and then walking into the house with his tail high looking really cute and the lady of the house making a massive fuss of him not knowing he had done any of those predatory things in the garden but commending him for being a good pussy.
  • a dog loving to swim, but hating the slimy taste of dog food out of a tin being a cat and being looked after is good, but then finding yourself locked out in the cold isn’t good and not knowing when or if you are going to be let in again gets very boring!
  • I am a cat and my favourite thing is scratching trees!
  • If I was a cat I would like to live with a nice family
  • I am a cat and I move very quietly, even slyly. I hate rain and people pulling my tail, but I love attention and lying in the sun and I can hear every sound, even tiny teeny weeny sounds.
  • I am a cat so I sit very patiently [and the same author then wrote] I am a dog so I wait for my tea to be given to me. I like that distinction, they are quite different in the way they respond to us and express their needs.
  • I am a guinea pig and the new grass, which I have a quick nibble at, is simply gorgeous, but my heart is pounding in fear
  • I am a mole and my vision is poor and not much help to me getting around, but my sense of smell is the best in the land. (Love that phrase) Hunting worms sometimes gets boring, but I have to spend a lot of time concentrating on avoiding mole traps or my life will come to an end.
  • Being a mole would be awkward cause of not seeing and having to eat worms would be really disgusting but being able to smell mown grass from half a mile away would be great!
  • Being a cat the good things for me are having feelings in my whiskers, my super-strong hearing and my powerful sense of smell. Bad things are having to eat tins of slimy horrible disgusting cat food, although hunting mice, rats, spiders and fish from the pond is interesting. It would be weird and difficult not to be able to just open a door to walk through and instead to have to scratch at the window for help and then to be shouted at. (This was really good imaginative stuff, thank you).
  • I woke this morning and stretched. And then I remembered I was supposed to have a bad back and left leg. “Surlock” groaned Kate, “I knew you hadn’t hurt your leg”. (I was gripped, this felt as if it was a novel in the making, keep going….)

So thank you Mrs. Wells and Mrs. Linda Lambson and Class Four of Forton Primary School for a brilliant and useful visit with some wonderful follow up.