Please find below a guest post from the author of Larry at Number 10
As a budding children’s book author, I was always told to stay away from writing about cats and dogs. “It’s been done to death,” cried many a literary agent and book publisher.
But being a cat mum to a very naughty ragdoll kitten called Boots – I believed I had a cunning idea. And anyway, this was no ordinary cat and dog.
I have always been fascinated by Larry the Cat – he seemed to radiate star quality and purr-sonality. Every picture, every photobomb, pigeongate and mousegate – the press and the great British public lapped up Larry’s mischievous antics like cats with a big bowl of cream.
There are of course other famous Whitehall cats – there is Gladstone at the Treasury and Palmerston at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office who are both in my book.
My conundrum was I still did not have a full picture book story.That was until Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie got a Welsh rescue puppy called Dilyn.
Purr-fect, I thought to myself, I now have a great idea for a book. A Meow-vellous cat and dog tail that goes a little like this:
Pawsome Larry is Top Cat at 10 Downing Street – that was until his Boss the Prime Minister got a puppy called Dilyn. Larry is chief mouser, head of pawtrolling and champion window ledge sitter (obviously this is for surveillance purr-poses and NOT catnapping. He is also the hero of the mouse catching scoreboard – quite frankly Gladstone and Palmerston’s mousing attempts are paw-thetic! Larry is im-purr-tant – I mean what paw-sible job can rat-iculous Dilyn do – Chief Sausage Catcher – Purr-lease! Larry has his whiskers put out of joint and plans to put Dilyn in the doghouse but then CATASTROPHE a cat-burglar breaks in and catnapps Larry. Can dozy Dilyn who spends his days guzzling sausage strings, chasing his tail and pooping in plant pots save the day? And if he does will Larry give him his apaw-logies.
I had a lot of fun writing this book and collaborating with the wonderful illustrator Dave Hill. Dave brought all the characters in my book to life marvellously.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home where Larry the Cat was a rescue were very supportive and helpful in my writing journey as were Friends of Animals Wales who rescued Dilyn.
I knew that Larry was a popular cat when I first embarked on my quest to write about him, but I had no idea until the book was published just how far Larry’s stardom reached. Our Larry is a UK National Treasure, but I also started receiving messages about my book from all over the world! It was also a very special year to release my book as 2021 marked Larry’s 10th year in office.
It is unusual for characters in a children s picture book to be real and I through this was quite a unique concept. When a child is being read my book, I would imagine it is rather captivating to them that these characters exist in the same world as they do. I sent a copy of my book to Boris and Carrie for Wilfred as I thought it would be lovely as a child to have a picture book read to you where your dad cat and dog are all characters in it. I had a lovely response from the Number 10 press office. They did confide in me that actually Larry and Dilyn do not have such a strained relationship. Although I wonder if this is the case now as the press recently reported that Dilyn has been sneaking to Larry’s food bowl in the night and eating his food! Whiskers at Dawn!
I would love to write a follow up to Larry at Number 10 as he is such a fantastic character to write about. I have lots of ideas in my head so watch this space.
Larry at Number 10 is available from amazon and all good bookshops.