Guest Post by Leisa Stewart Sharpe – The Inspo behind The Beastly Bunch

Only the wonderfully talented Leisa Stewart Sharpe can make you laugh out loud and cry into your cuppa in the very same sentence, with her signature style of fuzzy feelings and hearty humour. Her guest post about the inspiration behind her new picture book THE BEASTLY BUNCH, illustrated by uber-arty Pippa Curnick, made me do just that. Read on to find out what made Flo a bit of an animal – a party animal!




My newest book has just flapped onto the shelves, THE BEASTLY BUNCH. I wrote this one a few years back on a colouring-in sheet, in a lay-by off the M40. I was on the way to Stratford Upon Avon to meet some kids running a hedgehog hospital in their garden. (You can read about them in one of my other books WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD). At the time, my 6-year-old was having a tough time, as the other kids at school wouldn’t let her join in at playtime. It took me back to being 6 and being left out so often, that my poor pregnant Mum used to have to come up to school and eat her lunch with me so I wouldn’t be on my own. And so, I wanted to write a book that gently reminds us ALL about kindness and inclusivity.

I created Flo, the most FABULOUS Flamingo, who is throwing a pool party. But Flo’s a bit judgey and has decided her spitty, bitey and smelly neighbours, The Beastly Bunch, are NOT invited. Surely they wouldn’t be to Flo’s tastes. But when Flo’s guests abandon her perfect party to rock out with the beasts next-door, she begins to understand that REALLY getting to know your friends is the most fabulous fun. Because it’s not about how you look or sound, it’s who we are inside.

When you write a book, you never really know how it will go – you just hope it will strike a chord and make it into lots of little hands. So when you then see your book popping up in bookshop windows, on supermarket shelves (and my hairdresser even thinks she saw it on a poster in the Tube!), it makes it all worthwhile. So long as The Beastly Bunch makes little (and big) people laugh and helps us all to consider how our actions might make someone else feel, then I’ve done my beastly best.

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