A Whanganui tale to in­spire kids

Whanganui Chronicle - - 48 Hours/arts - Liz Wylie [email protected]­i­cle.co.nz

Whanganui writer Wendy Ward is about to launch her new chil­dren’s book Tiger and the Talk­ing Pond.

The story, she says, is in­spired by a tabby kit­ten she met while liv­ing on a King Coun­try lifestyle block.

“It is a story I told my grand­chil­dren and, since I have moved back to Whanganui and re­tired, I have been in­spired to pub­lish my work.”

Ward first saw Tiger as a stray kit­ten liv­ing with his mother and sib­lings un­der a Tau­marunui church.

With help from vol­un­teers, she fed and tamed the fe­lines and found homes for all but Tiger, who went home with her to be­come a “barn cat”.

“He be­came friends with the bot­tlefed lambs and would lick their faces for milk.

“The mother hens and ducks would peck him if he stalked their ba­bies so he learned to get along with them as well.”

An­other char­ac­ter in the book is Tilly, a black “house cat” who has moved back to Whanganui with Wendy, her hus­band Dick, Smokey the cat and re­tired work­ing dogs Nell and Chloe.

Tiger now has a new home, but Ward doesn’t want to say too much about that be­cause it will give the story end­ing away.

En­cour­aged by her Whanganui writ­ers’ group, Ward set about mak­ing the story into a book with help from de­signer and pub­lisher Jenn Fal­coner and Marion Rain­forth was re­cruited as the il­lus­tra­tor.

“I ap­plied to Cre­ative NZ for fund­ing but they get so many ap­pli­ca­tions and when that was un­suc­cess­ful, I de­cided to go ahead and pub­lish it my­self.” H & A Print of­fered a good price and Ward says she is de­lighted that the pub­li­ca­tion of her book has been an en­tirely Whanganui ef­fort.

With her work­ing life as a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist and SPCA in­spec­tor be­hind her, Ward says she would like to turn more of her sto­ries into chil­dren’s books.

“I didn’t set out to im­part life lessons in this story but it does in­clude sub­tle and hu­mor­ous mes­sages about sec­ond chances, show­ing kind­ness and the un­der­stand­ing that ev­ery­one makes mis­takes.”

Ward says the book is prob­a­bly best suited to chil­dren in the 7 to 10 age range, al­though she hopes younger chil­dren will en­joy hav­ing it read to them as well.

Tiger and the Talk­ing Pond will be launched at Spring­vale Play­cen­tre, 39 Fox Rd, Whanganui at 2pm on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 9. There will be re­fresh­ments and the chance to meet some SPCA kit­tens.

Photo / Stu­art Munro

Au­thor Wendy Ward with house cat Tilly and a copy of the new book to be launched on Sun­day.

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