The book is written with both children and adults in mind. Probably the youngest age it would appeal to would be seven.
I grew up as a teenager behind Kings Cross Station in a tenement building and when we blew our noses black dirt would come out! I felt this was wrong and disgusting but it was so everyday and just how life was; living in filthy air. The inner-city kids who I worked with later all sniffed and coughed and didn’t know that carrots grew underground, that cherries grew on trees, or that they could have any say in how their world turned. This again broke my heart.
So my story about Rosa, and The Firrest kind of wrote itself as it wove my broken heart and all my longings for a different kind of world together years and years later.
I wanted to inspire children to think about nature and how greed and destruction is ruining our planet. I hoped that looking at a picture book with rhythmic verse, peaceful and curious was the way to help them think more about the world and their part in it. The magical beings that visit the girl in my story are a kind of metaphor for her tuning-in to a non-rational, intuitive and deeper part of her self that is connected to nature and all life, that is often ridiculed in our science based Western world.
Here are a few photos of behind the scenes. The paper and card puppet next to my Rosa was given to me by a litte girl about 28yrs ago. She was in a puppet making after-school group. Her little puppet was the inspiration for the making of my Rosa. The photos of the two women firgures show you how they are made. They are jointed, so that their arms and legs could be moved for different scenes. The wolf was made from pieces of wood and had stones for teeth; the picture here is before she had her eyes fully painted. The faeries are made from a plant called Moonwort Honesty and wool for their hair. The bosses are made from a metal object I found at a recycling centre and cut up a little to make the men.