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The Animals of Madame Malone's Music Hall

A theatrical tale with an animal twist.

It's always a treat to write Q&As for Barrington Stoke, but its especially exciting when the writer is one of your favourite authors!

Callie is looking forward to spending summer in Cornwall with her Gran. But her dreams of beach trips and ice creams are replaced with a run-down theatre and a squabbling cast. Even worse, Gran wants Callie to play the leading role in her performance of Cinderella, and Callie doesn't think she can do it. But when a trip backstage transports Callie to a very different theatre, she learns the importance of working together and never giving up.

With theatres across the UK facing difficult times at the moment, a book which celebrates saving them is a very timely release (although reading it may make you miss going out even more!)

1. What inspired this story?

My love of the theatre and the way I think theatres can be such important places for their communities.

2. Have you ever been on stage, like Callie?

Yes, I used to like being in plays when I was at school, but now I think I’d much rather be behind the scenes!

3. Who was your favourite member of the cast (animal or human!)?

I loved them all, but I think Gary the hedgehog was my favourite! He’s so cross and grumpy, but really he’s just scared of letting his friends down. He’s a prickly hedgehog with a heart of gold!

4. Which of Ellie Snowdon's illustrations is your favourite?

I love, love,

LOVE all of Ellie’s illustrations but my very favourite is near the end when Callie, Pansy and Gary are on stage in front of an animal audience – it’s magic!

5. What makes writing for Barrington Stoke so special?

I have always wanted to write for Barrington Stoke. I think their mission to make reading accessible for everyone is so inspiring and important. It feels special to be a small part of that, I hope that this book makes its readers half as happy as I have been while working on it with the Barrington Stoke team!

6. Which other Barrington Stoke stories would you recommend to readers who enjoyed The Animals of Madame Malone's Music Hall?

Oh, there are loads! But a couple that would be great would be Sequin and Stitch by Laura Dockrill and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, and The House of Clouds by Lisa Thompson and illustrated by Alice McKinley.

7. Theatres are facing difficult circumstances at the moment, and this story really celebrates their value. What do theatres mean to you?

I think theatres are

magical spaces that bring creative minds together – there are so many moving parts to a production, from the writing and performing to the costumes and design, to lighting and make up. Every part of what the audience sees is made thoughtfully with love and enthusiasm, and sharing in that is such a gift.

8. Would you rather spend a day as Cinderella or Stinky Malone?

Definitely Stinky! She has some good adventures and a really excellent group of friends.

Thank you so much, Laura for answering these questions, and Barrington Stoke for sending me a copy of this story for review.

The Animals of Madame Malone's Music Hall is written by Laura Wood and illustrated by Ellie Snowdon


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