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51) David Chaudoir 
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Sunday, 31 August 2014 12:18 Write a comment

Hi David
If.... again.
I watched the film for the umpteenth time again last night. Aside from the revolutionary aspect it also has an enormous sense of fun. Was it fun to film it? Also was the pretend swordfight in Cheltenham filmed infront of passersby without them knowing what was going on? I hope you are not bored with questions about this film as I know it was over forty years ago now.



David Wood Tuesday, 30 September 2014 13:01
Thanks for your message, David. I never get bored with answering questions about IF.... Quite apart from the fact that it was a huge milestone in my acting career, it was a very memorable and extraordinary experience. I'm hoping to write down my IF.... memories before long, because people seem interested in recollections from everybody connected with the film.

We had a lot of fun filming it. Malcolm, Richard and I several times got into trouble on set for finding things TOO funny. Arthur Lowe was so funny as the House Master in the 'welcome back to school' speech that the three of us couldn't stop laughing. Lindsay Anderson dismissed us from the set while he was filming Arthur's close-ups! We also found it extremely hard not to laugh as Geoffrey Chater, as the Chaplain rose in a dignified manner from the drawer in the Headmaster's office. That scene was filmed in a palatial building in Knightsbridge. At lunchtime, Malcolm, Richard and I were allowed 'out' in our school uniforms. We escaped to WAY-IN, the trendy clothes department on the top floor of Harrods, where I think we probably behaved rather badly!

The pretend fight in Cheltenham was indeed filmed without them knowing what was going on. Having said that, as soon as the crew set up the camera on one side of the street, some people, realising something was happening, stood behind or alongside the camera. But, on the other side of the road, where we were instructed to walk and then suddenly have a tiff, followed by a mock confrontation, nobody was aware of the filming. The elderly lady who comes up to us at the end of the scene was, to be the best of my knowledge, an innocent member of the public! There were rumours that she was, in fact, an extra, employed without Malcolm and me knowing. I'm still not sure about that! What I can tell you is that during the filming of the scene, when Malcolm was on top of me on the pavement, there was a screech of brakes. A lorry stopped, blocking the view of the camera, an irate, public-spirited driver climbed down, wielding a hammer (really!) and approached us, shouting at Malcolm to stop assaulting me. For a moment or two, thinking this might be being filmed and that Lindsay would want us to continue acting, Malcolm started shouting at the man that I had insulted him and deserved the punishment he was giving me! But we both very soon realised that the man was in absolute earnest, and had to stop performing! An assistant ran up and told my 'rescuer' that we were filming, and he stomped off, rather cross and a little red-faced, as the crowd on the pavement opposite cheered and clapped ...
If you look very carefully at the scene, or if you play it in slow motion, you will see that as I fall to the pavement, I split my trousers from the top of the crotch down to the knee. A large expanse of thigh is visible for perhaps half a second! This happened on the very first take, and for all the subsequent takes, camera tape was used to seal the join until the trousers could be repaired by the wardrobe department!

Thanks for getting in touch.

All good wishes.

50) dot wooder 
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Wednesday, 13 August 2014 10:27 Write a comment

Hello David You probably don't remember me - 100 years ago - Unicorn Theatre. Hope you are well. Am looking for either a pantomime sub. or play to do for the children in my village. Is it possible to use one of your plays and how much would it cost. Probably it will vary - Anyway lovely to contact you even if it's not possible. Love Dot Wooder

David Wood Tuesday, 30 September 2014 12:20
Dear Dot,

Lovely to hear from you! Do hope you are well! Every time I pass the Arts Theatre I think back to the five productions of MEG AND MOG SHOW we did! Your publicity skills helped the show do really well over the years. I loved adapting it from the books by Helen Nicol and Jan Pienkowski, and directing it too. Happy days!

Hopefully you have looked at the list of plays on the website. Virtually all of them are available for amateur performance, via Samuel French Ltd., who not only publish the plays, but license performances too. The performing fees vary a little, but are very fair, I think!

You will see that I wrote several pantomime substitutes, with the familiar titles. I think my favourite is MOTHER GOOSE'S GOLDEN CHRISTMAS, which actually doesn't feature the tradition MOTHER GOOSE story at all! Something that already has a number of children in the cast is BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG. Also FANTASTIC MR FOX. Another one that schools or drama groups often perform is THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE....

Do feel free to get in touch for a chat and more suggestions, if you want them!

All good wishes.

49) George Mahoney 
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Thursday, 31 July 2014 03:33 Write a comment

Hi David,

Glad to see you are doing so well. I have long been a fan and in my opinion one of your best acting performances was as Thompson in Aces High. The film is a personal favourite of mine and aside from being a source of great enjoyment for those of us who are aviation enthusiasts, it really captures the tragedy and sacrifice that faced pilots in the First World War. Particularly poignant being the centenary year of the conflict.

David Wood Tuesday, 30 September 2014 12:56
Thanks, George, for your kind message. So pleased that you are a fan of ACES HIGH. We had a lot of fun filming it, mainly at Booker Airfield, near High Wycombe. It was a pleasure to be reunited with Malcolm McDowell, with whom I had acted in IF.... seven years earlier. Jack Gold, the director, is a very friendly, encouraging and astute director, for whom we all wanted to do our very best! I had worked for him before in an excellent BBC play called MAD JACK, all about Siegfried Sassoon. It went out in the Wednesday play slot, I think. Michael Jayston was brilliant as Sassoon. I played my usual role, the best friend! Quite a lot of ACES HIGH was filmed on location in and around Weymouth. That was where I nearly came to grief. The horse I was riding took off, galloping hard with me hanging on the mane, until a tree stopped its progress, allowing me to slip off the back, over the tail, somewhat shaken! I was immediately asked to go back on the horse and do the scene again! It was all my own fault. At the audition, when asked if I could ride, I confidently replied 'yes'. Totally untrue. But I got the part ... In the two or three weeks before filming started, I had a few riding lessons, but was pretty hopeless ... when we started shooting the scene, it became patently obvious that I couldn't ride, but bless him, Jack Gold never got angry. He was patience itself. But I did feel guilty when, a couple of weeks after filming stopped, I was suddenly summoned to Weymouth to do the scene yet again. The whole crew had been re-assembled specially. I dreaded meeting the horse again - he was called Paddy Punch, and was a real horse, not a film-trained horse. His owner told me with great pride that he didn't get taken out from the stables too much these days, and really enjoyed taking off at speed ... - Anyway, I arrived on the location with Michael Jayston, ready to film the brief conversation he and I had to have before riding off in opposite directions. Michael, I hasten to say, was a skilful horseman. To my surprise - and relief - no horses greeted us. Instead, I was hoisted up onto Jack Gold's shoulders. Michael sat on somebody else's shoulders. They jogged around. The camera got what it wanted, and we all went home!

No horse riding in ACES HIGH. Only flying aeroplanes! At the royal premiere of the film, the Queen asked me if we had actually flown the planes. I had to point out that insurance wouldn't allow that! We did get to climb in and out of the cockpit quite a lot. And in the close ups during the battle scenes, I nearly lost an eyebrow, when a flame thrower was pointed at the slightly wrong angle!

Thank you, George, for bringing back some happy memories!

Best wishes.

48) Sarah 
Aldershot, Hants
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Thursday, 10 July 2014 22:12 Write a comment

At 40 years of age, I have just been discussing with my 10 year old the amazing impact watching the Selfish Shellfish in Farnham ,when I was her age, had on me. I truly believe it made me environmentally aware and prompted an enthusiasm for nature and wildlife which has continued to this day and which I share with my daughter. We spend much time out and about enjoying nature and she is crazy about all kinds of wildlife, the environment and very cross about pollution. I just wanted to share with you how this amazing play I saw when I was 10 is still having a roll on effect to the next generation.

David Wood Tuesday, 30 September 2014 13:22
Dear Sarah,

Thanks so much for your message. I was delighted to be reminded about THE SELFISH SHELLFISH, which was the first of several 'environmentally aware' plays I wrote. You saw the very first production at the Redgrave Theatre, Farnham, whose Artistic Director, Stephen Barry, had kindly commissioned it.

It really is rewarding to hear that the play had such an effect on you. And it is great to hear that your daughter loves wildlife too and cares so much about the planet.

After the Farnham production, I directed the play myself for Whirligig Theatre, my touring children's theatre company, and we took the play all over the UK and to London, to Sadler's Wells Theatre. I still think it is one of the best productions we did. I think the character of the Great Slick, the villainous oil slick, gave nightmares to lots of children! I'm quite proud of that, to be honest! I think it did indeed disturb children a bit, which made them think about the plight of the rockpool creatures!

The main song in the play was called WHEN WILL WE LEARN? It was a song asking when we human beings would learn that we were spoiling our home by not caring enough about the creatures that live alongside us. FRIENDS OF THE EARTH found the song and ended up using it as their anthem for a few years. And still I hear of schools singing the song at festivals, which is very pleasing.

I have to admit that the main impetus for the play didn't come from my own passionate evangelism for the environment! One day I though how theatrically effective it would be to have a character walk on stage wearing a cloak, which was so big it covered the entire stage! I thought about what this character might be. I imagined the undulating folds of material stretching out across the stage and imagined an oil slick riding on the waves of the ocean ... this image led to the play, rather than an overt environmental message I wanted to promote! But the more I researched the effect an oil slick has on creatures and landscape, the more annoyed I felt about the transport of oil in tankers across the sea - a human folly that led to so much pollution and destruction.

Thank you so much for writing.

All good wishes.

47) Simon Leadbeater 
Harpenden, UK
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Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:01 Write a comment

Dear David,

Last Sunday, at the Civic Service, Crabtree Junior School performed 'When will we learn.' I just loved it, and as a councillor on the environment committee so relevant, and I would love to know the lyrics. But I cannot find them anywhere.

Would you mind please letting me have a copy of the lyrics - just for my personal use. Thank you.

David Wood Monday, 14 July 2014 14:31
Dear Simon,

Thanks for your message. Apologies for the delay.

So pleased that you like the song WHEN WILL WE LEARN? It comes from my play THE SELFISH SHELLFISH which is all about creatures living in a rock pool, threatened by the advance of an oil slick.

I will send you the words as requested!

All good wishes.

46) Jack Finlay 
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Sunday, 1 June 2014 17:21 Write a comment

Hello! I was just wondering if you could answer this question for a Children's Theatre portfolio I am writing:

''When you put on a show, what is it you personally strive to achieve?''

I understand this is a very broad question and I can imagine you would have many answers, but if you happen to find a little time to answer, I would be exceptionally grateful,
many thanks, Jack

David Wood Monday, 14 July 2014 15:38
Dear Jack,

Thanks for your message. Apologies for delay.

My aim, when writing a play for children, directing it or producing it, is to engage and entertain the audience, many of whom may never have been to the theatre before. I want them to come again, so I want to make them laugh, maybe make them cry, make them think, trigger their imaginations and give them an exciting experience, by telling a ripping story in an unpatronising, theatrical way.

All good wishes.

45) Larae 
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Thursday, 22 May 2014 19:45 Write a comment

I love this site - its so usefull and helpfull.

David Wood Monday, 14 July 2014 15:43
Thanks, Larae, for your message. Apologies for the delay.

So pleased that you have found my website helpful.

Best wishes.

44) Keith Jamison 
Belfast, U.K.
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Monday, 12 May 2014 00:34 Write a comment

David, I remember you fondly from my childhood. You always immersed yourself in a story and brought all aspects of it to life by firing my imagination. I'm 48 now, but I credit my own imagination to the wonderful television presenters such as yourself, who really engaged with their audience.

I'm so glad to see that you are still firing the imaginations of new generations of children.

Long may you continue!

Best wishes,


David Wood Monday, 14 July 2014 15:50
Thanks, Keith, for your kind message. Apologies for the delay.

My television presenting days were a life time ago! But I remember them with great affection. And I am still in touch with many of my co-presenters.

Although I loved performing on television, my real home has always been the theatre, where I am thankful and privileged to still keep myself extremely busy!

All good wishes.

43) Palma 
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Friday, 9 May 2014 08:59 Write a comment

Thanks a bunch! It a astonishing webpage!

David Wood Tuesday, 15 July 2014 11:40
Thanks, Palma for your message. Apologies for the delay.

So pleased that you like this website.

Best wishes.

42) kenechi 
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Wednesday, 30 April 2014 16:27 Write a comment

HI David,

I am a writer with great interest in writing children's stories. I am currently writing a children's story, with an African setting. This story has got lots of songs and as such I hope to turn it into a musical to the delight of every child.

But my question is, 'How can I create an interesting story of this manner and turn it into an unforgettable experience for every child on the stage?

David Wood Monday, 14 July 2014 15:58
Thanks, Kenechi. Apologies for the delay.

Your idea sounds interesting. I hope that you do indeed turn your story into a musical play.

I think you need to see lots of plays and read lots of plays for children, in order to get a feel for the technique.

Also, can I recommend you to my book THEATRE FOR CHILDREN: GUIDE TO WRITING, ADAPTING, DIRECTING AND ACTING? It is published by Faber. You can buy copies on Amazon or, if you look in the MY BOOKS section of this website, you can find out how to buy it from me!

The book hopefully gives you a lot of ideas and advice.

Lots of luck with your project!

All good wishes.

41) Darren Rutter 
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Sunday, 27 April 2014 00:40 Write a comment

Dear David, I do hope you can help me. I grew up in Wandsworth, London and attended Allfarthing Primary School between 1974-1980. I've recently been reminiscing about my time at the school and a recent visit to Abbey Road studios jogged my memory of going to the studios to do some recordings. By chance I came across your website and noticed a post where you helped a member of the choir by supplying her with a recording made at Abbey Road. I was wondering if you still had a copy and any other information you would be willing to share? I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards, Darren Rutter

David Wood Monday, 14 July 2014 16:03
Thanks, Darren, for your message. Apologies for the delay.

Delighted to hear from one of the choir directed by the wonderful Mrs Pat Quarmby! We had an exciting time at Abbey Road producing THE DAVID WOOD SONGBOOK.

I will send you an e-mail to help you find a copy of the recording!

Best wishes.

40) emma 
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Monday, 14 April 2014 12:28 Write a comment

Dear David

I would like to know how do you adapt stories for the theatre. For example, stories like Matilda or Madeline, how will you adapt them and make it into a children's theatre show. Also, I would like to know why adapting stories, from a book into film or theatre, is important.



David Wood Tuesday, 15 July 2014 10:23
Thanks, Emma, for your message. Apologies for the delay.

It seems to me that a good story can be told effectively in many different ways. It can then reach many people. Some people don't read books. Some people don't go to the theatre. Some people don't go to the cinema. But most people do at least one of these activities! Or listen to the radio.

It is inevitable, therefore, that stories are adapted from one medium to others. Most of my work is concerned with adapting books into theatre plays, but I have done film screenplays as well.

The methods I use to write a play for children, and to adapt a story into a play, are described in my book THEATRE FOR CHILDREN: GUIDE TO WRITING, ADAPTING, DIRECTING AND ACTING. It is published by Faber and available via Amazon or from this website. Look in the MY BOOKS section.

All good wishes.

39) Samantha du Plooy 
South Africa
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Thursday, 10 April 2014 14:10 Write a comment

Dear David. I am a teacher at a preparatory school called Oatlands. The Grade 1's, 2"s and 3's do a concert at the end of each year and we would love to use your "Fantastic Mr. Fox" script. How much will it cost us?
Regards Samantha

David Wood Tuesday, 15 July 2014 11:24
Thanks, Samantha, for your message. Apologies for delay.

Most of my plays, including FANTASTIC MR FOX are published and licensed by Samuel French Ltd. They have agents in South Africa. They can tell you the cost of a licence to perform the play.

I will ask Samuel French to contact you direct.

I do hope you do the play!

All good wishes.

38) Nix Barnaville 
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Friday, 7 March 2014 10:17 Write a comment

Hi David,
I just wanted to thank you for a wonderfully inspiring workshop at Worcester University last Weds. I had become a bit bogged down with the academic on the MA and it was great to be up and exploring the magic of children's theatre.
I have a company called Hinged Theatre and we devised a play called "Vasalisa and The Peacock" which is an adaptation of the Russian fairy tale "Vasalisa the wise" and features Baba Yaga the witch.
We recieved funding to devise the show , but we are having problems getting it out there and touring .The show needs more development I feel but in order to do that we need a commission or interested bookers.Can you offer any advice ?
Our website is where you can watch our promo video from the outdoor show ,the promo for the indoor version is
We are circus performers so have the unique angle of using aerial artistry and acrobatics in our production , I would love to know your thoughts.
Hope you had a safe journey back,
Best wishes
37) Zoe 
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Thursday, 30 January 2014 13:41 Write a comment

Hello, I would just like to know what as the first children's play you ever wrote as I am researching your work for my college work. Thank you.

David Wood Tuesday, 15 July 2014 11:56
Thanks, Zoe, for your message. Apologies for the delay.

The very first plays for children I wrote were for my puppet theatre when I was ten years old! These plays featured puppets that I had been given. There was a Sooty, a policeman, a cowboy, a Minnie Mouse, and others! These plays are now looked after by Seven Stories in Newcastle, who have my archive!

The more sensible answer to your question is that the very first children's play I wrote professionally, for production in a theatre, was an adaptation of THE TINDER BOX, the story by Hans Christian Andersen. This was in 1967. I wrote it for the Worcester Repertory Company based at the Swan Theatre, Worcester, at the request of the Theatre Director, John Hole, whose idea it was to do this particular story.

To be honest, I don't think it was a very good play. It has never been published! But it was good enough for John to ask me to write the Christmas play the following year. This turned out to be THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE..., which ended up being performed all over the UK and, indeed, all over the world! Lucky me!

All good wishes.

36) Bridget 
Cape Town, South Africa
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Wednesday, 29 January 2014 14:07 Write a comment

Dear David,

I am a grade 3 (year 2) teacher working in Cape Town and this year I will be directing and producing the school's play. The play will use a main cast of between 6 - 10 main characters. The "extras" will be the classes in the school (who would not have speaking roles but would do a dance etc.) We have roughly 645 children in the school and each child will be involved.

I have been looking for a suitable script to adapt to the needs and size of my school and I have been inspired by the work you have shown on your website. Your plays and books sound amazing!

I was wondering if I would be able to purchase a script to use but I wasn't able to find one online. I was hoping that you could maybe assist me in this regard. If you are unable to help then don't worry I will keep trawling the internet.

Kind regards

David Wood Tuesday, 15 July 2014 13:06
Thanks, Bridget, for your message. Apologies for the delay. I do hope you have managed to find a suitable play.

Plays of mine that might work include DINOSAURS AND ALL THAT RUBBISH, which is a musical. Then there is THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE... THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER'S LUNCH is another possibility.

However, none of these plays have been written for such a large cast!

If you found a script on my website that you liked the look of, I would be able to tell you how to get hold of a copy. Look in the MY PLAYS section of the website for more information.

All good wishes.

35) Rachel 
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Saturday, 4 January 2014 01:34 Write a comment

Dear David,

I am looking to stage a production of your excellent 'The Owl and the Pussycat Went to See...' with a big cast of children. As the venue is large, we are looking to have a band, rather than just a piano, accompanying them. Do you know if there are any band parts or orchestration available for this show? I can only find the piano and vocal score online.

Thanks vey much for your help,


David Wood Tuesday, 15 July 2014 13:19
Thanks, Rachel, for your message. Apologies for the delay.

I'm afraid there is no published orchestration of THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE... The piano/vocal score is the only one available.

There have been productions with more musicians, but the orchestrations are not commercially available.

I remember that Neil Rhoden was the musical director of a production at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School some years ago. He made a recording of the songs, using several musicians, I think. But he retired some years ago!

Sorry I cannot be more helpful.

All good wishes.

34) Analiese Hamm 
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Saturday, 28 December 2013 14:46 Write a comment

I thoroughly enjoyed your adaptation of The Witches and I am very much inspired to cut it into a humorous interpretation piece for one of my students to use as a competition piece. I of course want to do this in the most legal way. What permissions or royalties would I need to address?

David Wood Tuesday, 15 July 2014 14:35
Thanks, Alaliese, for your message. Apologies for the delay.

To get permission to use an excerpt from my adaptation of THE WITCHES, you would have to approach Samuel French. This is the company that publishes and licenses my plays.

I think you are writing from the United States, in which case you should contact Samuel French Inc. in New York. If you google them, you will find their contact details.

I am sure they will be helpful. If not, feel free to come back to me!

I hope your student does well.

All good wishes.

33) Kirsty Robinson 
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Wednesday, 25 December 2013 12:53 Write a comment

Hi David,

My mum emailed you a while back with a story about how our mole took a trip down the back of the sofa for a number of years before we rediscovered him. I'd just like to thank you and Richard for giving me lots of wonderful memories and a great story to tell in my life writing class at university! I was delighted to receive a new copy of Mole's Bedtime Story this Christmas, and am so pleased that it is continued to be published. Mole thought he would never find his bed again!

Thank you for making this Christmas magical - Mole is all snuggled up in bed where he belongs; he is very tired after all those years in the sofa!

Merry Christmas!

David Wood Tuesday, 15 July 2014 14:40
Thanks, Kirsty, for your message. Apologies for the delay.

Delighted to hear that you were pleased to receive a new copy of MOLE'S BEDTIME STORY. Richard and I were delighted to hear how much you loved the book, and how your adventurous mole decided to hide in the furniture!

You may have noticed that Richard's illustrations for the book were different from the original ones! When the book was republished, he decided to give it a new look!

All good wishes.

32) Jennifer 
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Saturday, 12 October 2013 01:53 Write a comment

Hi David.
I have most of your pop through the slot books and as a childminder i use them everyday but i am having difficulty locating the im a silly spider. I thought i had one the other day but they have just emailed me to say it was damaged. I dont know if you can help. I have tried amazon etc but the cost was extortionate. The one i found was reasonable at £20+ but it has been cancelled.Do you know of anywhere that may have it in stock as the children love your books and my first one was funny bunny over 25 years ago and you sent me another one the other day as my original has been well loved and i had to replace it. Many ghanks

David Wood Tuesday, 15 July 2014 14:58
Thanks, Jennifer, for your message. Apologies for the long delay. We have had severe website problems!

I'm delighted to hear that you use my books, and that they are popular!

The good news is that SILLY SPIDER has just been republished, so it is available again! You should be able to find it on Amazon. It is now a paperback, not a hardback.

If you have any problems, let me know.

You can also buy it direct from me. If you look in the MY BOOKS of the website, it will put you through to me!

Also, have you seen SCARY MARY? This is the new title that Richard Fowler and I published last year. It is another pop-in-the-slot book. It is about a rather naughty hippo!

All good wishes.

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