Down The Rabbit Hole: jibber-jabbering about children’s books

radio show

You remember the final sequence in The King’s Speech, where an ashen-faced Colin Firth ekes out his address to the nation on the outbreak of war while Helena Bonham-Carter looks on anxiously and Beethoven thunders away in the background?

That was a lot like my Monday.

I was taking part in Down The Rabbit Hole – a pilot radio programme devised by Katherine Woodfine (Booktrust marvel by day, LBA author by early-to-late evening). Frustrated by how little space is given to discussion of children’s books, Katherine decided to put on a show right here which is why, to me at least, she will always be the Mickey Rooney of children’s books media coverage.


[Mickey Rooney: the one on the right.]

Given a clear spot on London-based arts station Resonance FM, Katherine gathered a truly dazzling panel to discuss a selection of new books – and what a panel they were: Alex T Smith, Laura Dockrill, Melissa Cox and Tanya Byrne. Frankly, I was giddy just being in the same (padded and locked) room as them but I think I held it together right until Alex handed out some commemorative Claude stickers. Then I lost it, on the inside.

For my own five minutes of radio fame, I gave a short talk about getting an agent’s attention – looking back now, I realise it was not a fever dream and I did actually address the nation as if they were Antonio Banderas. You can skip that part. Really, there’s nothing to hear there. In brief: I advised Antonio to do his research, prepare his submission in line with the agency policy, be patient, and act professionally. Then I adopted the voice of an animated feline. All agents have done this at some point in their careers.

The rest of the show, however, comes highly recommended. Please do have a listen via this link. The hope is that the pilot will turn into a series, so let us know your thoughts on what you’d like to hear in future episodes – it’s been lovely to follow all the chatter following the first broadcast, including these two very cheering reviews. Above all, please do check out everything the panellists have ever written and of course the books under discussion:

Meet The Parents by Peter Bently & Sara Ogilvie

Squishy McFluff by Pip Jones & Ella Okstad

Jane, The Fox And Me by Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy

The Savages by Matt Whyman

Much as you’d expect to find down a rabbit hole, they are wonderlands all of them.





  1. Down the Rabbit Hole | Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again? on February 21, 2014

    [...] ? It’s a radio show whose pilot debuted this week, and you can read a bit behind the scenes here. And it is ACE. Seriously, go and listen to it and wallow in it. My congratulations to all [...]

  2. On the radio | follow the yellow on February 23, 2014

    [...] show, including these lovely ones from author Susie Day, and blog Good for Your Soul. I also love this one from Louise about taking part, in which she describes me as ‘the Mickey Rooney of children’s books [...]