(For review and activity sheets, visit Ed on the Web)
Princesses come in all shapes and sizes - from pink and fluffy to ravishing and regal, and everything else besides.
I'm the ferrety sort. I've got loads more energy than sense and I just can't help sticking my nose into things. Or making a mess out of sheer enthusiasm.
But when two wicked princes arrived looking for a kingdom to take over I needed all my ferrety talents to see them off - not to mention the help of my very own ferrets!
The two noblemen sat bolt upright in the bed. As their eyes snapped open they saw, to their horror, strange shapes racing about the room, lit by an unearthly redness. The shapes chittered and squeaked like wingless bats out of hell - and then disappeared! In their place, larger creatures appeared, with oddly shaped bodies wearing tunics and breeches and shoes that juddered and twitched, then slithered about on the floor in different directions. In the doorway, something wearing a dress danced and swayed wildly. Everywhere there were headless apparitiions falling apart in front of their eyes and making horrible muffled gargling sounds...
"It's the demons!" shrieked the Duke. "They've come to get me!" And he tried to leap into the Count's arms.
Then, amidst the demonic chuckling and chattering and writhing, we heard something else - another sound, one that was growing in volume all the time. It was a hissing, followed by a bump, bump.
The Count's eyes swivelled in his head, trying to locate this new horror. From the edge of the tapestry we did the same, because a hissing ferret is not a happy one. And then we spotted her.
It was Emily. She was the youngest of the busyness, barely more than a kit, and in spite of having a heart full of courage, she was not very big and not very strong.
She'd managed to get herself completely tangled in an old pair of breeches, and she had run them and herself into a corner, and no matter how hard she thrashed and squirmed, she couldn't get at the treat and she couldn't get out. She just kept banging into the wall, getting more and more frustrated.
Then the Count did something we hadn't expected. He stood up - and he was holding his sword!
... that Leonardo da Vinci's "Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani" is where I got the idea for The Ferret Princess? It's sometimes called "Lady with an Ermine" but it's not an ermine at all. It's a ferret.
... that in the first cover for The Ferret Princess the background is pink and the Princess' shoes are blue? (See if you notice what's odd about her shoes in the final version.)
... that my sister's next door neighbour has a ferret called Toby? It turned out Toby was a girl, but I think it's a great name anyway.
"Packed full of attitude, humour... and ferrets.."
"The intriguing cover image of a princess wearing one red shoe and one green sets the scene for this playful story of a feisty young heroine outmanoeuvring her suitors. ... A fairytale of sorts, this is a high-spirited and humorous story, made all the more enjoyable by energetic and expressive black and white illustrations."
Books for Keeps
The artist for Tales from the Turrets is