From my observations, kids delight in fairytales that contain fear-provoking characters such as monsters, aliens and witches. In the mid-1970s my five- year-old son, Leigh, insisted on watching Dr Who on the telly. Each time an alien appeared or a Dalek let rip its strange-sounding commands, Leigh ran and hid behind the sofa. And usually that evening he would be woken by a nightmare. However, the fear didn’t dissuade him from continuing to watch every episode. Gradually it taught him the difference between make-believe and fact. And I feel sure he utilizes those early scary images when creating his illustrations for my kids' books.
I have a copy of an English translation of Heinrich Hoffmann’s STRUWWELPETER (Pretty Stories and Funny Pictures) it contains children’s illustrated poetry from the mid 19th century. Believe me, these short tales are truly scary and obviously written to keep children from straying onto a path of naughtiness.
The fifth book in my series of Witty Gritty Rhyming Tales was unfortunately released at the worst possible time. The Witch At Stitch Cottage, was ready for launching in mid-March 2020. So too was the Coronavirus and the consequent lockdown. All my well-planned talks and book signings were cancelled, so too all my summer venues and festivals. This tale is, in my view, a more 'traditional' fairytale. As you can see from its title it contains a witch — a very wicked witch indeed. Its other main feature is a magic thimble. And the story reveals how these two main elements drastically alter the lives of a creative and loving family. And remember, the reader has the opportunity to write their own additional ending verse. Which means you can reveal just how scary your mind is.