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Eddie Albert and the Amazing Animal Gang: The Amsterdam Adventure

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Dapo Adeola, Tracy Darnton, Joseph Coelho and Chitra Soundar are among the 19 authors and illustrators longlisted for the Inclusive Books for Child...

Ahhh, sweet! You’ve also met lots of animals through your work on the telly. What are some of your best experiences?Amazing! Eddie, the main character in your book, can talk to animals. What would you say to your pets if you could? Once I got to feed a baby vulture called PJ. If he felt threatened, I’d have to lie on him as his mother would and spread my arms out. He was a sweetheart. I met a baby elephant in India who would try and sit on my knee. He used to break my heart and break my leg at the same time! And I’ve bottle-fed baby cheetahs. To have 12 cheetahs on top of you fast asleep isn’t something that happens every day! They’re all special to me. However, I did have a Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu cross, called Boycie, from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. He was a gentle little soul who had severe epilepsy, and I was fiercely protective of him. He sadly passed last year but I had five good years with him. The only similarity is our love of animals! When I was little, I was always out playing things: like Doctor Who and Batman. I’d leave the house in the summer holidays at 8:30am and I’d come home at 5pm looking absolutely filthy!

Coffee house Caffè Nero has announced the 16-strong shortlist for the inaugural Nero Book Awards, recognising the outstanding books of the past 12... What Eddie can't do is fit in . . . until he is sent to stay with his eccentric aunt in Amsterdam. But then Eddie spots a captive orangutan being taken along the river. So begins a hilarious adventure as Eddie, his new friend Flo Aunt Burge and a whole gang of amazing animals take on the most dastardly villain Amsterdam has ever seen, in a desperate race to save one of their own . . .

By Author / Illustrator

TV presenter and author Paul O'Grady has signed a “major” multi-book deal with HarperCollins for his debut children’s novel and first in a planned series, Eddie Albert and the Amazing Animal Gang. The winners of the Diverse Book Awards 2023 have been announced, with one winner from each of the four categories announced: Picture book, Children... Author Anna Kemp introduces The Hollow Hills, the sequel to her dark magical tale, Into Goblyn Wood. Bestselling author Alexandra Christo, author of TikTok sensation To Kill a Kingdom, introduces her new book, The Night Hunt (Hot Key Books), a dark...

Yet there’s a touch of nostalgia for his drag days, the era in which he made his name in the ’80s. Lily – his alter ego – would be too old to make a return now, he reflects. However, as the story progressed, I found myself becoming quite passionate about these characters, both animal and human, and found that in the storytelling I hoped that I could get a subtle message across that—just like us—all animals have feelings and deserve love and respect, but unfortunately there are some humans who don’t see it that way. Eddie Albert is a smashing little lad, who, despite all the rotten hands that life has dealt him, comes up trumps in the end. I’ve become fiercely protective towards this brave little fella and I hope that readers will enjoy reading about his exciting, not to mention dangerous, holiday in Amsterdam.” So begins a breathless cosmopolitan comic crime adventure, as Eddie, Aunt Budge, his new friend Flo and a whole gang of amazing animals take on the most-dastardly villain Amsterdam has ever seen, in a desperate race against time to save one of their own. It did flash in my mind to do a tour – which I would not do in a million years as I haven’t toured for so long – of Lily for Prime Minister. Now he has written his first children’s book, Eddie Albert And The Amazing Animal Gang, centring on a shy 10-year-old boy who can talk to animals, rather like a miniature Doctor Dolittle, and embarks on an adventure in Amsterdam with his dog Butch.I was actually quite shy, but when I was about nine, I acted in a school play. They erected a tepee on stage. I stood up in it and the whole thing collapsed around me! I vividly remember the audience laughing and I realised then that it was easy to be funny! So instead of crawling out of the tent. I did the whole thing inside it, moving around the stage! People are always asking me, ‘Where’s Lily?’ like she exists and I say, ‘She’s working in the hospitality industry in Amsterdam. The house has closed down and she’s got 15 women to furlough’.” Paul O’Grady has come a long way since his drag queen days as foul-mouthed, acid-tongued blonde bombshell Lily Savage.

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