Burlington Bear (Burly to his friends) and Grum the groblin are sitting at the entrance of Burly’s cave in the Great Forest waiting for Jennifer Wilson, aged 10. Jennifer is already an author having published a book of poems ‘Dogs Forever’ with her mother, Dawn Colclasure, and Burly and Grum are going to talk to her not just about her writing but also her drawing.
Burly is a little bit nervous and is eating a large slice of honey cake to calm himself. Grum is grumbling about the lack of mud in Burly’s cave. “I think you should have one of those things like the humans have, you know, a tub thing but with mud in it instead of water so I can sit in it all day.”
Burly ignores Grum and wipes cake crumbs from his snout with a large paw. “What if Jennifer doesn’t like cookies?” he asks worriedly, pointing to a huge basket stuffed full of different types of cookies that Max, his friend, has baked for this very special occasion.
“Mum’s packed me some spare crispy fried earwigs, she can have those.”
Burly raises his eyebrows, “She won’t want… oh! Look here she is!”
Jennifer appears. She’s a little out of breath having climbed up a narrow path that runs along the side of the mountain to get to Burly’s cave. Burly immediately drops what’s left of his cake and rushes to greet her. “Jennifer! How lovely to see you, I’m so glad you made it – do come and meet Grum.”
Jennifer has a big smile on her face: Hi, Burly. Hi, Grum! It’s good to be here!
Grum: “You’re a lot shorter than I thought you would be.”
Burly: “Grum, mind your manners, Jennifer, would you like a cookie before we begin?”
Jennifer: ….*stares at Grum, looks at Burly* Yes, please.
Burly and Grum and Jennifer sit down at the entrance to the cave. There are no comfy chairs or seats but the view overlooking the Great Forest is beautiful. The interview begins.
Burly: I’m so pleased you agreed to speak to us about your writing Jennifer and thank you so much for coming, I know the Great Forest is a little out of your way.
Jennifer: No problem! I love the wilderness!Burly: I’ve read ‘Dogs Forever’ and really loved your poems. You seem to know all about dogs. Have you got one of your own and what is his – or her - name?
Jennifer: We have a family dog! His name is Chewbacca, from Star Wars. “Chewie” for short.
Burly: How long have you been writing poems and do you write anything else? And do you need another cookie?
Jennifer: I sometimes write poems. Yes, I write short stories and comics. And of course I need another cookie.
Grum: Burly has read your poems to me and I really like the one where you say dogs poo in the house, it reminds me of home and made me laugh. What’s your favourite poem?
Jennifer: “Poems!” My faves are: “Dogs” on page 6, “You Are My Best Friend” on page 4, “Small Dog, Big Heart” on page 11, “Dog Sport” on page 18, “Dogs Dream Of. . . .” on page 20 and “I Love Dogs” on page 24! Those are my faves! J
Burly: What did you say when your mum asked you to write a book with her? Or was it you that suggested it? Were you very excited?
Jennifer: When Mom asked, I was happy, but not sure. But I decided to do it!
Grum: I really like your drawings of dogs, they look like very tasty snacks. Are they your dogs and can I meet them?
Jennifer: No. And, no. . . . . Dogs are not snacks, Grum! And thank you. J
Burly: What do you like doing best, drawing or writing?
Jennifer: Drawing. Writing is awesome, but I’m a drawing girl! J
Burly: Do have another cookie Jennifer. You are a very talented girl and I’ve heard you also write songs! Are you going to do an album as well?
Jennifer: Thank you! (eats cookie) My and Mom are thinking about making my own CD! :D And, yes! I do write songs and sing them, too! . . . . But I can’t reach high notes without screwing up.
Grum: My mum has read your poems and she likes them but wants to know if you’d write a poem about groblins because we don’t get mentioned much.
Jennifer: Sure! I’ll try my best! And I know you don’t . . . . !! Thank you, Grum. You gave me another idea for another poem book! :D
Burly: What do your friends say about the fact you have had your poems and drawings published?
Jennifer: They’re pretty impressed and I said that if Mom needs help drawing a certain . . . thing, that I would recommend them!
Burly: What are you going to do next Jennifer? Are you going to publish another book and, if so, what kind – a story book, a comic or a book of poems?
Jennifer: I’m working on my own book now! It’s called The Legendary Wolf! I like how it’s turning out! J
Burly: I love the sound of The Legendary Wolf – we have a few wolves in the Great Forest you know, they’re mostly friendly but sometimes they can be quite scary.
Grum: My mum isn’t scared of them, she whacked one on the nose with her rolling pin.
Burly: Do you know if you are the youngest author on Amazon, Jennifer?
Jennifer: I don’t know. Maybe?
Grum: Where did all your cookies go Burly? Have you eaten all of them Jennifer?
Jennifer: (makes a startled face) . . . Noooo . . . I’m innocent!
Burly: It’s been a real pleasure to talk to you Jennifer and I’m sure you have a wonderful future ahead of you whatever you decide to do and that you will be an inspiration to other children. Thank you so much for coming to see us.
Jennifer stands up and gives Burly a big hug and he gives her a big bear hug back. She walks over to Grum ready to give him a hug.
Grum holds his hand out: Yeah, bye Jennifer.
Burly (raised eyebrows): Grum?
Grum (big sigh and lets himself be hugged): Thank you for coming Jennifer, it’s been lovely having you.
Jennifer: It’s been lovely being here. J
Burly: Well, I really enjoyed meeting Jennifer didn’t you Grum? Do you think she’ll come and visit us again?
Grum: Yes, she was okay but d’you think she could bring her dogs with her next time – I really want to find out what a hot dog tastes like…
Note: Jennifer recently finished illustrating a children's bookthat her mother, Dawn Colclasure, wrote on upcycling. She is now not only going to illustrate another children's book written by her mother, this one is a story about a boy who wishes for a million doughnuts and one day his wish comes true, but is going to write a song for it as well! Here at Burly and Grum we all love Jennifer – what a brilliant girl and we are sure that she will inspire other children to write and draw and sing and do whatever makes them happy!