METRO PLUS

Tales from the heart

STORY TELLER The children floored Margaret Donald with

STORY TELLER The children floored Margaret Donald with "the courtesy they show to each other"  

A t�te-�-t�te with Margaret Donald who was in town with her first offering of Scottish tales for children

While violent reading material is a commercially viable trend globally when it comes to children's storybooks, here is a writer who believes in spooling heart-warming tales that you could narrate to the little ones for bedtime stories.

These are stories based in the sylvan Scotland that writer Margaret Donald pens for her young readers, "the under eight year olds," as she explains.

"Some read well at three while even by eight years others still struggle," adds Margaret recently in town to release her book Over the Moon with Clootie and Dumpling, as she participated in the book reading sessions in the twin cities organised by Orient Longman that had tiny tots from schools here as an attentive audience.

"I am completely impressed by the way they listen and the courtesy they show to each other, the questions they ask and the exceptional discipline they show. I congratulate the parents and teachers here for instilling in these qualities that they are exhibiting," observes the writer at the book reading sessions at Akshara, Saptaparni and British Library.

And on a lighter note, " they were addressing me as `aunty' and I felt like a princess," she adds.

An educator, Margaret wears many hats, she is governor of Robert Gordon University and an entrepreneur who is at the helm of a production house that is into making television series for young children.

Margaret is the recipient of the Scottish Businesswoman of the Year (Most Enterprising Start-up), 1999, for her television creations.

"I was always a storyteller. I came from a large family. The best way to keep my brothers and sisters in my charge quiet was to invent stories. Then, as a teacher I wrote material for my students when required. When I began the start up, people said I had the audacity to start a business based on a sheep," she reflects on her award winning series based on a sheep called Ophelia! "The sheep belonged to a flock that was named after Shakespearean characters. The owner of the flock called me up after watching my programme based on my dog Schubert stating `my sheep is smarter than your dog!' It did make for an interesting story. Similarly the current story is an engrossing picture of the travails of the two real bulls left in the backyard of the house by the owner who sold the house to a friend and never returned to take them back," she reflects.

About the rest of the volumes in the series of 52 volumes that will be eventually made into animated programmes for the television, "soon," she says.

"We are also coming up with a one hour DVD film on Clootie and Dumpling that will be divided into three 20 minute films. We are also working on merchandise to go with the story. I am also working on another book to raise revenue for schools damaged by Tsunami," says Margaret, before she heads back home to send the rest of the material in the series.

Meanwhile, little ones in this part of the world can look forward to some more antics of the two Highland bulls and their friends in coming days.

SYEDA FARIDA

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