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Penny Dolan is well known for a host of books for younger readers. A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E, published by Bloomsbury in October 2010, is her first novel for older readers.
Penny grew up in North London, where her favourite things included a Pollock’s Toy Theatre, a ragged makeup bag full of used greasepaint, a small stuffed alligator and a wooden box of old paints. School taught her she was too tall to act, too awkward to be a dancer, to dim to learn the Reform Laws and not quite good enough an artist. Penny loved writing, having been saved from expulsion by school writing competition prizes, but she was losing confidence fast.
So she became a primary school teacher, where the things she most enjoyed teaching were drama, art, history and English. Luckily, she attended a writing course for teachers where, encouraged by authors Dennis Hamley and Jan Mark, she rediscovered her own writing. Eventually Penny gave up her enormous school painting table and left teaching to follow her “author” dream.
Penny now works happily as children’s writer and storyteller, dreaming up all sorts of characters in her head, acting them out within the words of her writing, as well as sharing stories with children and young people on her many school visits. Her writing includes picture book texts, early readers and novels for older children. She enjoys djembe drumming, books, map-reading and art.
Penny lives in North Yorkshire and has one cat, two grown up children and three untidy desks.
Author photo © Michael James Dolan 2010
An evocative and thrilling tale, set in a richly colourful Dickensian world, featuring a small boy, Mouse, whose parents are lost at sea, and whose life is threatened by the claims of his money-grabbing and debt-ridden Uncle and he is sent by him to a school that lives by fear and terror. All the characters are truly memorable, some for good and some for evil but most though are warm-hearted and generous characters who see the plight of Mouse and each in their own way help him towards finding his family. But will they be able to help? It's a real jewel of classic storytelling in the making that will pull at the heartstrings. The author is well known for her younger fiction and this longer novel for an older age range is a thrilling departure.
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