If you, or
your children, have ever read any of my children’s books then I guess you will
have realised that I love animals. My newest venture is ‘To Be Young’ which
centres on farm animals, including Billy the Goat and Bassey’s pigs.

I guess a
lot of my inspiration for my children’s books comes from my own childhood. Growing
up, my family often visited small holding and petting farms and so I was always
encouraged to get up close and touch or feed animals. I remember vividly once,
when I was feeding a small goat through the fence of its enclosure, and it
grabbed the whole bag of dried food from my hand by its mouth, I was so
shocked! I’ve also discovered a breed of goat that, as a defence mechanism,
faint when they hear a loud noise
or are pursued by predators. How fantastic is
that?!

Animals
never fail to make me giggle. Often, when we’ve been on pony treks or horse
rides, one of the horses will out-of-the-blue sit down on the ground with one
of my confused siblings still straddled on it. Another funny memory is of a
small pony rebelliously ignoring one of my commands and continuing to circle a
tree in a field, I still feel dizzy now as I recollect!

Even today,
I hear hilarious stories from my friend who have a pet pig named Pedro. Now
Pedro is a very vivacious pig with mixed origins. My friend did at first think
he would never grow to full size, because of his name – miniature black Iberian/Vietnamese
pig. However he has now grown into quite a portly pig with very long teeth that
almost could be tusks. He has a straight tail and sprouts thick black hair in
the winter months. Recently, he has taken to destroying and uprooting the trees
in his enclosure, breaking them up and using them as bedding in his ‘kennel’. The
reason Pedro sleeps in a kennel is because he has flattened the four other
houses given to him – be it wooden, metal and plastic – so he is stuck with a
rather small shed-like structure that he squeezes himself into every night. He
is so keen to be comfy of a night time that he even stole my friend’s jumper
that was on a nearby fence, tearing it up with his enormous teeth and placing
it on the floor near his house and lying on it!

There are so many hilarious animals out there that all have a story to
tell. A favourite book of mine, which is still on my shelf, is Rolf Harris’ Favourite
Animal Stories’
and it’s great for animal lovers of all ages.

Maybe you could send me some of your funny animal stories so I could use them in my books, or just laugh out loud at how ridiculous some animals can be!