Thursday, 15 October 2015

Molly's Marvellous Moustache - a fabulous guest post by Andrea Heaton to tickle your top lip!

We're very fortunate to be joined today by author Andrea Heaton, here to tell you about a rib-tickling (and nose tickling) new book, Molly's Marvellous Moustache. Over to you, Andrea!

Are you a grown up? A real grown up? Sleeping in a grown up bed, wearing big girl/boy pants, starting big school. You're getting so grown up!
As adults growing up can be a big topic of conversation with our children. Sometimes it's used to say no- motorbikes (I'm sure you'll agree) are just for grown ups! Sometimes it's a motivation- you got dressed all by yourself, what a grown up girl! Pre-school is a time of big changes for little ones. The transition from toddler to school child can have it's bumps. It is often the time that siblings arrive. The ultimate status change from baby to big sister/brother.
In my picture book Molly's Marvellous Moustache I wanted to capture what being a grown up might be in the imagination of a four year old.

'I want a moustache, said Molly. Like the grown ups'

With her moustache Molly imagines she will be just like the grown ups. Imagine all the fantastic things she could do. She could explore a jungle. She could fly an aeroplane. She could even go to the park by herself! Wearing a moustache people might think she is IS a grown up, a REAL grown up. But then...

Grown ups have lots of stuff. Keys, computers, but what do they do with them? What do they talk about on their telephones? And why do they have to go to work? We have a joke in our family about 'grown up tastes' and I knew food should be part of Molly's imagined grown up world. Molly's Marvellous Moustache is a story about fast forwarding into grown-up-dom. The possibilities and the pitfalls, and ultimately the realisation that being just Molly can be just marvellous.

Molly's Marvellous Moustache was inspired by own brilliantly bonkers girl who arrived home from nursery one afternoon demanding a moustache. The idea began working it's way around my head. I wondered if wanting a moustache should be about being a man. A moustache is very gendered and a little girl wearing one is quite striking (not to mention hilarious). So should the story be about gender? As I played around with idea some more I realised it was about being a grown up, an idea that we suggest to our children with some regularity. Children wear a cape and they are a super hero, some welly boots and they are an explorer. A moustache can be the dress up version of being a grown up.

Collaborating with fabulous illustrator Talya Baldwin the story began to grow outside of itself.  We knew we wanted the Mummy character present in the illustration. Then we hit on the idea that Mummy should be pregnant giving the reader the suggestion that change is afoot in Molly's world. Talya offered some glorious interpretations of Molly's internal thoughts. My favourite moment is Molly, eyes closed, imagining herself as a real grown up conducting an orchestra in a fantastical concert hall. At the end I wanted to see Molly as a brilliant four year old. Thanks to a snap taken when visiting a friend the final image of the book became Molly, pleased as punch with her new terribly grown up job, as a big sister.

I am currently working with Fidget Theatre to turn the story of Molly's Marvellous Moustache into a theatre show for 3-7 year olds. Working with a director and two actors I've been exploring who Molly meets as she discovers jungles and invents inventions, and what being a real grown up at work might be like. We've told the story to some children and asked them 'what would you do if you were a grown up?' with some excellent responses. As a theatre show the story is able to ask the same question of the adults.

Do you feel like a grown up? A REAL grown-up? Or it sometimes a bit like dressing up?

Molly's Marvellous Moustache is now available to buy at

To find out more about Andrea you can visit her here or tweet her at

You can see more of Talya Baldwin's beautiful work for children and grown ups at

Fidget Theatre will be touring Molly's Marvellous Moustache in Autumn 2016. You can find out more here