Celebrating Storytime, With Vicky Cowie

When World Book Day comes around, it always gets us thinking about our favourite childhood books and what makes storytime so special. Children’s Author Vicky Cowie joined the Friends of Joules fold with her five delightful rhyming storybooks, and we instantly fell in love with these magical tales that make the ordinary extraordinary, and bring the extraordinary right into our world!

We spoke with Vicky about how she became a Children’s Author, her inspiration behind these enchanting stories and why World Book Day is an excellent way to get our little ones reading.

Q: What made you want to become a children’s writer, and how did you make it happen?

“I had always had a keen and playful interest in writing, when I took a good look at some of the stories I had read to my own children over the years, it made me wonder wether I couldn’t just produce something better than some of the books that sat on the playroom bookshelf.  So, when the youngest of my 3 girls started school, I did just that.

I have no idea what made me take that pen and pad to a quiet place in our hectic house, but that’s how it all started.  Putting pen to paper it turned out, was just the first tiny step in the marathon in which I was unwittingly embarking!”

Q: What made you choose to write in rhyme?

“Not writing in rhyme was never an option for me.  I love the challenge in making things rhyme, my children’s preferred books were in rhyme, and the books I preferred to read to my children were in rhyme.

Perhaps a deep seated memory of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes being a big hit with me as a dyslexic child struggling with a complete disinterest in independent reading was also a resounding factor.

Interestingly I have had similar feedback from parents with children that don’t find reading so easy.  The rhythm and rhyme allow the child’s brain to start guessing the words before the children get there, which in turn gives them confidence.”

Q: How did you come across the legend of the Kelpie featured in your book Kevin The Kelpie?

“Kevin the Kelpie was the first book I wrote on that day when I just decided to write.  I was googling British mythology when I stumbled across the Scottish myth of the Kelpie.

As with most myths the story is gruesome, with a most disturbing ending!! The Kelpie is in the form of a black horse, it encourages children onto its back, they stick to its hair then it jumps into a loch and drowns them all before eating them! Hideous! It does however, leave their livers for good measure!  My version luckily has a much lighter note than that of the Scottish myth, and is totally appropriate before bedtime!”

Q:  How much do your children and pets inspire you to write?

“My children, family, friends and surroundings ARE the inspiration behind my books.  Some are based on real incidents and all contain either truth or fact, which allows both the children and adults to believe (even if just a little) in the stories.

One book in particular, Melvin The Mole, started out in quite a different form to the fury lawn-wrecker he became!

Once I get the slightest sniff of a story, my mind keeps wondering back there until I just have to put it down on paper.”

Q: What is it like working with sculptor and Book of the Year winner Charlie Mackesy to bring your stories to life?

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with Charlie, we have a lot in common.  Before we arranged to meet I did some research and was immediately blown away with his art work and his use of light and depth he managed to capture.

This of course, was all before the creation of his book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse.  We sat on that first day for 2 hours while he sketched as I read him my stories.  We were on the same wave length.  I think in that time on our first day together, both of our paths and goals altered.”

Q: Do you think events like World Book Day are important for encouraging young people to read?

“I see world book day from 3 different angles:

The Mother – For heaven sake, I have 3 more costumes to conjure up! Does little Tilly really HAVE to be a zombie eating space alien? What book is that from anyway?

The Child – Yay! no uniform, dressing up is fun! Child 1. Great! I get to read and tell everyone about my favourite book.  Child 2. Please don’t make me read out loud in front of the class.

The Author – Reading and understanding the English language is an essential part of life. A skill everyone has to use in day to day life no matter what.  If my books can encourage children to enjoy reading and let them escape to a different world just for the short time my book is in their hands, then my job is done. A day when we can all encourage children to get involved and pick up a book even though they may not be inclined to, might just change a few children’s minds and who knows what path that might lead them down.”

Q: What made you want to become one of our Friends of Joules?

“As a mother of 3 with number 4 on the way, Joules has been trusted and regularly used by us as a family over the past 8 years. It is a brand that as a parent I have confidence in, and I have felt I have had value for money.

When given the opportunity to become a part of Friends of Joules, and knowing that my product would fit in well with the consumer base, I jumped at the chance!”

Friends of Joules is our online marketplace for a contemporary country lifestyle. We have partnered with 100s of creative people and businesses like Vicky Cowie to bring you 1000s of perfect products for you and your family in just one place.

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