"Bonfire night is a magical night for all children though it can also be a very scary night for our pets. The one person however, for whom it is the most unpleasant of all is Guy Fawkes, whose sole purpose is to be burnt alive on top of the bonfire!
Many years ago, a few years before she died, my good friend, the late Dame Catherine Cookson and her husband Tom wanted to do something special to celebrate their wedding anniversary. She'd heard about a Christmas story I had written about an independent girl and after persuading me to pen twelve short stories about my heroine, Annie, she asked to be sent an audio tape of the stories as she was going blind. I sent her the twelve stories which had been recorded by Brigit Forsyth (Thelma of 'The Likely Lads' of television fame) for radio transmission. Hearing the stories, she loved them, particularly as they were seasonal and took the child reader through a full year of fun activities.
Dame Catherine was enthralled with the idea of an independent female character in a children's book doing all of those things she had done as a child, but which were fast dying out for today's children; things like making pancakes, finding the Easter Bunny, flying a kite, going on a seaside holiday and making sand castles and making one's own Guy Fawkes etc.etc. She was particularly taken by the idea of the female character being repeatedly stumped by some problem and yet, being determined and clever enough to work things out in her own little head. Despite her years, Dame Catherine still retained a great deal of the child in her and gave much of her wealth to child causes of an educational nature.
After completing the twelve seasonal stories which were written for the 5-9 year old child, Dame Catherine and Tom paid for five hundred copies of 'Action Annie' to be published; with the money from their sales going to a children's charity. I promised them that the future profits from the sales of any further publication of this book would go to charity in perpetuity, as do all my other publications (over £200,000 to charity so far since 1990). The Chief Inspector of Schools for OFSTED at the time was the late Chris Woodhead, who kindly agreed to be the person to launch the book and read it publically to the children of Littletown School, Liversedge. The book was a great success and Chris Woodhead described it to the press as being 'High quality literature.' The book's character was also highly favoured my my good friend, the late Sir Norman Wisdom, who kindly gave hundreds of children along with the television cameras, the opportunity of seeing him read it at Mirfield library.
From all twelve stories in the 'Action Annie Omnibus,' Dame Catherine's favourites was shared between 'Annie's Bonfire' and 'Annie's Christmas Surprise.' All the 'Action Annie' stories are available in e-book format from www.smashwords.com for the price of $1.80 US per story or the full Omnibus of twelve stories can be purchased in hard copy from amazon and www.lulu.com for £5.99. Let your child read about Annie's Guy Fawkes who becomes too close a friend of hers to burn on the bonfire. They'll love it. If you want to sample the stories in audio, you can hear four of them for free, read by Brigit Forsyth on my website by following the link, http://www.fordefables.co.uk/action-annie.html " William Forde: November 5th, 2015.
To purchase the book in either e-book format or hard copy follow the link http://www.lulu.com/…/actio…/paperback/product-21858182.html