Holly Webb's Top 5 Animal Tales
Monday, 30 November -0001
Posted On 2013-06-12 13:27:45 |  Last Update 2013-06-12 13:29:47 |  Read 3202 times | 0 Comments

To celebrate the publication of her 25th animal story, Holly Webb shares her top 5 animal tales with us!

About six years ago, Jane at Stripes suggested to me that I write a wintery, Christmassy book about a lost kitten – which became Lost in the Snow. Amazingly enough, the twenty-fifth of my animal stories has just been published!

Lots of the animal stories I write are based on things that really did happen. Not absolutely all of them – we would have owned some very unlucky dogs and cats if that was true! But most of the books link back to a true story. So here are my top five tales of things that really happened…

1 The Sandwich
This was my dad’s desperate attempt to stop our English Bull Terrier, Alice, jumping up at the table. She was a terrible thief. He made her a sandwich, filled with mustard, chilli sauce, pepper, curry powder, and everything else he could find in the kitchen cupboard that would taste disgusting, and then he left it temptingly on the edge of the table. Alice came in, checked that no one was looking (we were all hiding at the other end of the room to see what would happen) and grabbed the sandwich, taking it under the table to eat. We expected whining, pawing at her nose, that sort of thing. Instead, she wolfed it down, and jumped up again to see if there was another of these yummy sandwiches… My dad gave up.

2 The Jehovah’s Witnesses
Alice again. Aged about nine, I answered the door to two Jehovah’s Witnesses, and didn’t really know what to say to them. I was nodding politely, when Alice spotted next door’s cat on our garden fence. Alice was a lovely dog, but she was not intelligent (except for a certain low cunning where food was involved). She didn’t understand going round things, she usually just went through. She went through the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and knocked one of them over. Strangely, none of them came back for quite a while. Unsurprisingly, lots of stories about Alice went into the My Naughty Little Puppy books.

3 The Singing Dog
Our other dog, Max, a wire-haired dachshund, used to join in when my brother played the clarinet. He would sit next to the music stand and howl. This is where I got the idea for Sam’s trick, barking Row, row, row your boat, in Sam the Stolen Puppy.

4 The Mushrooms
My husband and I adopted two kittens from the Cats’ Protection League when we moved into our first house, Sammy (Sampson, named after the cat in the Church Mice books by Graham Oakley) and Marble (named after cake). Sammy was obsessed with mushrooms. He would steal them off the kitchen table – a paw would appear and whisk the mushroom away. Then he’d go mad chasing the mushroom round the kitchen, until he’d shredded it, and then leave a small pile of slimy mushroom bits for you to stand on. I’ve never met another cat who does this.

5 The Stag Beetle Hunter
Our new kitten, Milly, has decided it’s too boring (or too much hard work?) to hunt mice or birds. So far, her total is one frog (frogs make the scariest noise when being carried into the house by a determined kitten), and three stag beetles. Or two – or possibly just one really annoyed stag beetle three times. Anyway, I had to do three stag beetle rescues last night. But at least one of them fought back, and got her with its pincers, which I think she deserved…
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