5-4-3-2-1: Karen McCombie and Becka Moor

Thrilled to have a double 5-4-3-2-1 here today! One of my favourite authors, Karen McCombie, and favourite illustrators, Becka Moor, have teamed up for a new series from Stripes, kicking off with St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Goats and Random Boys. This is part of the awesome #SchoolWars blog tour which sees them face off against Barry Hutchison, author of Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip. CLEARLY we are #TeamGrizzles here!

Karen McCombie

5 songs that sum up St Grizzle’s perfectly Okay, so I can’t think of anything specific that says ‘bonkers boarding school featuring a goat’, but if you listen to this lot, it should get you in the right (ie quirkily daft) frame of mind to read it! (Note: all below are favourite shout-along songs in the car for me and my daughter Milly.) • Golden Retriever by Super Furry Animals: A bouncy song about a dog? How fab is that? Main character Dani Dexter could sing it to her beloved pooch Downboy, even though he’s a poo-box (ie poodle-boxer mash-up). • Chicken Payback by The Bees: Pure, joyous silliness – should be sung LOUDLY at every assembly at St Grizzle’s. • Happy by Pharrell Williams: One for the whole school, preferably while conga-ing on the back lawn, led by the fragrant Miss Amethyst, the science/drama teacher. • FloriDada by Animal Collective: Hyper-speed nonsense pop song that Lulu the headteacher should blast through the PA in the mornings to wake everyone up. • The Battle Song of St Trinian’s by Malcolm Arnold: The original theme tune of the old-skool, black-and-white St Trinian’s films. Should be played loudly when the feral pupils of Newts class are anywhere in the vicinity.

4 actors who’d have roles in a film about your childhood (and who they’d play) My older brothers Stanley and Fred were a huge influence on me – they were both incredibly funny and passionate about music. So I’ll opt for a pair of TV brothers, Jake and Ben from ‘Outnumbered’, aka actors Tyger Drew-Honey and Daniel Roche. My most inspirational teacher was Mr Constable, whose name was perfect, since he taught art. He was long and lanky, with mad hair and a goatee beard. He had an old record-player in his room and would let us take in music to play. When the disapproving headteacher paid us an unexpected visit once, Mr C had to style it out and say the music inspired us to do better work. Don’t think the head was convinced. Comic actor Jack Whitehall would be brilliant for Mr C, I reckon. As for me? My tummy curdled with shyness for most of my childhood, and ‘Stranger Things’ actress Millie Bobby Brown does a mean line in worried expressions, so can I pick her, pretty please?

3 authors you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island Laura Ingalls Wilder, Caitlin Moran and Louise Millar. Laura Ingalls Wilder, because she wrote ‘The Little House on the Prairie’ series of books, about her own childhood in pioneering times, which blew my mind as a kid; Caitlin Moran, author of ‘How To Be A Girl’, because she is ridiculously funny and smart, and Louise Millar, author of grown-up crime thrillers, because she is my best friend. Of course, Laura might not be able to come, since she’s been dead since 1957, and if Louise can make it, she can’t talk about her books as I find crime a bit scary.

2 books you’d save from a burning bookcase

My old, battered childhood favourites… Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder and brilliantly funny history-mystery The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris by Leon Garfield, which no-one knows about but should.

1 piece of advice you’d give yourself if you could travel back in time to before you became a published author. Don’t spend the three months before your first ever author event wanting to throw up, you were so nervous. It’ll be great. The kids will laugh at the funny bits, and ask you excellent questions, like “Do you live in a mansion?” and “What’s your favourite flavour of crisps?”

Becka Moor

5 Songs that sum up St Grizzles perfectly

Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root Thriller – Michael Jackson Things Can Only Get Better – D:Ream Perfect Day – Hoku School’s Out – Alice Cooper

4 Actors who’d have roles in a film about your childhood (and who they’d play) Julie Walters would play the part of my Mum because she is HILARIOUS and can be very silly at times. In fact, I’m not entirely sure she isn’t Julie Walters in disguise.

Maggie Smith would play the part of our slightly sinister neighbour who would peek through her blinds trying to catch us doing something we shouldn’t be doing. In our defense, we only catapulted smarties into her garden twice.

Rowan Atkinson would play the part of my old headteacher who was very energetic and always making everyone laugh with his daft jokes and pranks.

Dame Judi Dench would play the part of my Mum’s friend who always popped in for a natter and a cuppa (and still does!) and who is one of the kindest people I know but also has a quirky side and the knack of making any problem seem not a problem at all.

3 Authors you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island,

J.K Rowling, Roald Dahl, J. R. R. Tolkien

2 Books you’d save from a burning bookcase, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – J.K Rowling Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

1 Piece of advice you’d give yourself if you could travel back in time to before you became a published author Always trust in your gut.

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