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Through the Eyes of a Mouse: From the Author with Richard Littledale

Through the Eyes of a Mouse: From the Author with Richard Littledale

Like all the best stories, this one starts with something small. In this particular case that something is as small as a mouse’s tail. The church I was in at the time was running a monthly Sunday afternoon event for families with children under ten – ‘Teatime Special’. Each time the children would come, enjoy a range of craft activities with their parents, and then sit down for a story before enjoying their tea together. On each occasion, I would write a new Bible story– starting with my beloved Littlest Star, an enchanting Christmas tale about the star that shone down on the baby Jesus.

In February 2016, Albert the Mouse scuttled into my imagination as the perfect storyteller to recount the tale of Noah’s ark. The children loved him, as did others in a ‘story tent’ at a local primary school. In 2017, his story went off to Lion Hudson, together with a collection of others which had been road-tested with the children at the Teatime Special event. After much discussion, a series of six was agreed – the first of which was to be Albert’s story of Noah’s Ark, Albert and the Big Boat.

It seems, though, that Albert was a small creature with a large personality. Once illustrator Heather Heyworth had brought him to life with such charm and wit, he went off to the London Book Fair to meet book buyers and international publishers. It wasn’t long before he developed something of a fan club. The publishers who met him asked if maybe the other five stories in the series could also be narrated by the mouse with the glasses and the bent whisker? This resulted in one of my more bizarre weeks at my desk – rewriting five Bible stories, from the Old and New Testaments, from a mouse’s point of view! As is often the case, I had my dog Ginny by my side in the role of subeditor. She doesn’t say much, but she is a past master of the raised and disapproving eyebrow.

Thinking about it, maybe my week was not so bizarre after all. Other books which I have written for adults on preaching, storytelling and communication all encourage a twofold use of the imagination. The first use is to understand your story, and the second is to understand your reader or your listener. The skills I employed in ‘converting’ those stories are the same ones I use in the pulpit on a Sunday or in front of a microphone at BBC Radio 4. Stories appeal to adults and children, old and young – you just have to pick the right ones and find the right voice. 

The first two books in the Albert series were published in January, Albert and the Big Boat  and Albert and the Slingshot , the story of David and Goliath.

About the author

Richard Littledale is the Minster of Newbury Baptist Church, and writes books for adults and children. Richard is a regular contributor to Daily Service, Prayer for the Day and Sunday Worship on BBC Radio 4

About the illustrator

Heather Heyworth graduated from Goldsmiths University, London with a diploma in art and design. Since leaving college she has worked professionally as a designer/ illustrator. In the last 10 years, she has returned to her first love, children’s books, using a combination of conventional hand drawing and digital artwork

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Products mentioned in or related to this blog post
Albert and the Big Boat (Hard Cover)
Littledale, Richard; Heyworth,
Retail price: £9.99
Your price: £9.99

Albert and the Slingshot (Hard Cover)
Littledale, Richard; Heyworth,
Retail price: £9.99
Your price: £9.99

The Littlest Star (Paperback)
Retail price: £6.99
Your price: £6.99

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