Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat by Ursula Moray Williams
Introduced by Anne Brichto of Addyman’s Books in Hay-on-Wye
This Bookseller’s Breakfast celebrates the puffin – both the bird and Kaye Webb’s Puffin Books. I think a large percentage of people who work with books had their young reading lives shaped by Kaye Webb’s choices. Her list, book for book, was as good as if not better than that of her Penguin parent.
So many of my favourite series were published by Puffin, Narnia, Little House in the Big Woods, Green’s Myths and Legends, the works of Eve Garnett, Doctor Doolittle and of course the Alice books.
The first book I chose for myself in a bookshop was Gobbolino The Witch’s Cat. I remember searching the shelves and the delight I had when I spotted it. Our nursery school teacher had been reading parts of it to us and I was determined to have my own copy. The book shop assistant wasn’t sure they had one but while she was talking to my mother I found it. I bet she ends up working in a bookshop the lady said. She was right. I love Puffins, both the sea-parrots that nest on islands off the coasts of Scotland and Wales and the best children’s book publisher of the 20th century.
I am eating a smoothie bowl made from Rachel’s Organic lemon and ginger yoghurt. It is served with fruit and granola and sunflower seeds. The not very accurate puffin is made from chia seeds and bits of berries. It was quite hard to do and involved a couple of stressful moments. The strawberry bit that didn’t work was sunk and then replaced.
Kaye Webb was editor of Puffin Books between 1961 and 1979, and in 1967 founded the Puffin Club, which she ran until 1981. As a journalist she worked on publications including Picture Post, Lilliput and the News Chronicle, and later edited the Young Elizabethan. She was editor of Puffin Post from 1967 to 1989.
Kaye Webb’s archive is at Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle: http://www.sevenstories.org.uk/collection/collection-highlights/kaye-webb
Which book was the first you chose for yourself in a bookshop? Comment below, or if you would like to introduce the book for A Book a Day in Hay, please email Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org