An interview with the author
As a children's writer and an ex-primary school teacher, I think Serial Mash is a great resource. I wish I'd had it at my disposal when I was teaching. I love Jonny Zucker's wacky and hilarious stories, and I am really proud to be the first 'non-Jonny-Zucker' contributor to Serial Mash!
I've always enjoyed writing for the upper KS2 age range. I love the way that children of that age appreciate the thrill of a fast-paced adventure whilst being eager to read about and discuss substantial issues. I think Serial Mash is a great platform for that, with its emphasis on shared reading, and the activities which encourage children to think about and discuss the story's content. It's fantastic to have my latest novel, Buster's Blitz, included in Serial Mash this term – I hope you will love it. I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you a bit about the story.
When World War 2 began, the government was predicting air raids and food shortages. Whereas children could be evacuated away from the cities, many families wondered what on earth to do with their beloved pets. The government advice was to have pets put down. In Buster's Blitz, Joe is trying to save his dog, a spaniel named Buster, from that fate. Harrowing subject matter for a story, you might think, but Buster's Blitz is, essentially, an action adventure. It does draw children's attention to some of the awful things that happened during the war, but you don't need to delve too deeply into them if you'd rather not.
The story also brings in plenty of other food for thought. There is an old, blind, ex-soldier named William, who lost his sight to mustard gas in the first world war. William has a guide dog named Major, and in the historical notes at the end of the story you can find out about the history of guide dogs and rescue dogs, which also feature.
In my experience, children love to read about characters who are not as black and white as they may at first seem. The school teacher, Mr Leeming, initially comes across as a loud and brutal bully, and he supports the government's advice to have pets destroyed. However, you find out more about him as the story unfolds, and you begin to understand his thinking. I hope this will provide a great opportunity for classroom debates. Over all, Buster's Blitz, like my other children's novels, is an emotive and thought provoking adventure which will keep readers eagerly turning the pages. I'm always keen to hear from children and adults who have read my books, so if you would like to get in touch, please do so! I will do my best to reply to you promptly. You can find my contact details, and read extracts from my other books, on my website: www.antonywootten.co.uk.
Other children's books by Antony Wootten:
A Tiger Too Many
Jill is a young girl desperate to save a sickly tiger in London Zoo at the beginning of World War 2.
Grown-ups Can't Be Friends With Dragons
Brian is a very unhappy child who struggles to make friends and is often in trouble at school and at home. He sometimes hides away from the world in a cave by the sea, but in the back of the cave there lurks a strange creature...
There Was An Old Fellow From Skye
This is a collection of hilarious limericks for children and adults alike!