‘The Beast of Whixall Moss’ is an allegory in which Jack, an unhappy boy who thinks he’s no good at anything, discovers a fabulous six-headed beast.  No one believes  him at first, certainly not his mother…. But, as all the family meet the beast, it touches their lives and changes them.  A powerful and unusual story.’  WENDY COOLING

‘Perceptive readers should recognise this as an unusual, short allegory…. A very imaginative book, which will take some thinking about.’ BOOKS FOR KEEPS

‘In the foreground is an awkward eleven year old boy struggling with loneliness, failure, his mother’s unspoken disapproval and a family fraught with tension and hardship.  In the background is the vague and immense presence of all things invisible and intangible for which humanity yearns - hope, beauty, unity, harmony - depicted through the existence of a gentle six-headed beast.  Adults will enjoy this book as well as children.’ THE IRISH TIMES 

 

 

'THE BEAST OF WHIXALL MOSS' - Walker Books & Faber Finds

Jack is resigned to the world.  So what if he can never match up to his mother’s desire for perfection, and his brother can?   So what if it’s lonely out on Whixall Moss, with nobody living nearby and nothing to do?  He doesn’t care, or so he likes to tell himself.  Then one day Jack finds a boat hidden on the creek - and in the boat is a fabulous beast.  At once he is filled with a wild longing;  he must own it.  But the mysterious inhabitants of the boat have other ideas, and in the struggles that follow, Jack’s world is changed for ever…

Author's Note

What really interests me about this book is the idea of having vision - seeing beyond the ordinary things of life.  That’s certainly what set me off.  I was on a train journey between  schools' author events and caught sight of a boy in a field walking what looked at first like a six-headed beast.  As the train whizzed past, I realised that I was looking at a collection of greyhounds held together on short leads.  But that dazzling image remained, and I started writing immediately, a story unfolding in longhand over a series of train journeys, based around vast and lonely Whixall Moss in Shropshire, where anything can happen - even six-headed beasts.