Jacqueline Wilson introduces The Butterfly Club
There's no need to introduce Jacqueline Wilson but we're going to anyway. She's one of the most popular children's authors in the country, continually amongst the most-borrowed authors from UK libraries and it's a fair to say that most of our booksellers have grown up reading her books. Below she introduces her new novel, The Butterfly Club.
The Butterfly Club is my 101st book! Opal Plumstead was the 100th book, a long serious story set in Edwardian times. I thought I'd change tack a little for the next book. I decided to write a very contemporary story for slightly younger children, aiming at that all important six to ten age group. I'm an only child, so I'm fascinated by sibling relationships. I always longed for a twin sister which was one of the reasons I wrote about identical twins Ruby and Garnet in my 'golden oldie' book Double Act. I decided to go one better in The Butterfly Club and write about triplets - and as a bonus, at the end of the book my readers will find out what's happened to Ruby and Garnet now they are adults.
Tina and Phil and Maddie should have been identical - but Tina was born much smaller than her sisters, with a heart defect. Her health is still delicate now the triplets are seven - and consequently the whole family cossets and protects her. Tina knows exactly how to exploit this situation at home and at school. But everything changes when the triplets go into Year Three in the Juniors and have scary old-fashioned Miss Lovejoy teaching them. She insists that Tina sits next to Selma Johnson, the fiercest child in the class. Tina has to learn to stand on her own two feet - and by the end of the book she and Selma have actually become best friends.
The story is about friendship and confidence. It's also got a Green theme, because Tina becomes fascinated by butterflies and Miss Lovejoy helps the girls start their own butterfly garden in the playground. Hopefully children will learn all about butterflies along with Tina, and there are all sorts of suggestions on how to make your own butterfly garden. But this is meant to be a book to read for fun, first and foremost. It's certainly been great fun for me to write.
Tina is a triplet, but she's always been the odd one out. Her sisters Phil and Maddie are bigger and stronger and better at just about everything. Luckily, they look after teeny-tiny Tina wherever they go - but when the girls start in scary, super-strict Miss Lovejoy's class, they're split up, and Tina has to fend for herself for the first time.