Savernake Forest inspires new children’s bookLocal illustrator Chantal Bourgonje’s new book ‘The Fierce Grey Mouse’ is the first that she has also authored. The picture book is aimed at children aged three to five years old and the inspiration for the storyline and illustrations came from her many walks with her dog in the Savernake Forest.
Chantal told marlborough.news, “Savernake Forest has been my inspiration. There’s always so much going on there, lots of birdlife, rabbits, foxes.”
The forest also reminds Chantal, who grew up in a National Park in Holland, of her childhood and she has also used childhood memories of playing with her brother in the book.
“The book is really about being yourself. The little mouse decides he wants to be fierce for a day but when his friends find he’s fierce they don’t want to play with him anymore. The book tells you to be true to yourself – we love you as you are, you don’t need to be any different.”
It’s been a busy year for Chantal. As well as ‘The Fierce Little Mouse’ she illustrated ‘Marlborough at War with the King’ written by Sara Holden and Nick Baxter which was published ahead of the English Civil War Society’s re-enactment weekend.
In October, a new book illustrated by Chantal and written by her TV script writer husband, David Hoskins, will be published. The book, ‘Positive Thinking for Piglets’, follows on from “The Lucky Lucky Leaf” which was published last year.
All the books have animals as the main characters. “I love animals and animal stories allow you to draw a wide variety of characters and express a lot of different emotions without upsetting anybody.”
Chantal has been publishing books since 2011 when she completed a degree in Sequential Illustration and Narrative Storytelling. Before that she was Development Manager for the Logistics Department at Intel.
“But I did study fashion illustration in the eighties,” she admitted, “and reading and drawing have always been my passions. I’ve always been a picture book collector. I still have the ones from my childhood and I still buy them now.”
‘The Fierce Little Mouse’ is published by Hubble and Hattie Kids and costs £6.99.