Ailsapress News

Scottish Field – 1 Feb 217
Young children will be captivated by Little Terry’s adventures with his brothers Snitch and Snatch as they go on a camp[ing trip and have a wild river ride eat cake and dress ump for Halloween. Jessica Excell’s colourful illustrations of the antics of these naughty mice will engage toddlers.

Joan Porter On Homecare
An article appeared on the website Home Care about Joan Porter. Read more on

Bbc Video With Joan Porter
Meet Joan Porter, a children’s author who published her first book at the age of 85. She is now appearing at book festivals and events as she deals with Alzheimer’s disease.

Scottish Field 4-Star Review (January 2017)
For those who love a dram, this book by Islay-based, French food and drink journalist, Martine Nouet, is not only a wonderful collection of whisky-based recipes, but a fascinating insight into the spirit’s history. She matches the perfect dram to all of her easy-to-follow recipes. Starters include Scottish Sushi with mains such as duck breast in marmalade and whisky sauce or monkfish laced in whisky. The chocolate and whisky crème bruleé with pan-fried Morello cherries is just one of many tempting sweets. As a world expert on whisky gastronomy, Martine generously shares her 25 years’ research in this lovely book which features [John Paul’s] excellent photographs. You will want to keep one for yourself and buy several to give to friends.

Young Mum’s Delight In Terry Tiddlemouse!
We’ve received an email from Lucy Jay. She says: “Just a quick email to say how much Ruby and Isla are enjoying the two Little Terry Tiddlemouse books that you kindly left for them at Kingsborough Gardens. They are beautiful books which I also enjoy reading to them. Being great fans of dressing up, the girls are particularly fond of the Halloween story. Mollie Mole dressed as a troll is hilarious!”

Huffington Post
The Huffington Post picked up the story about Joan Porter and her two children books. Here’s a wee quote of what they wrote: “Porter said she was stunned when a publisher, Ailsapress, came back to say they loved the stories and they brought onboard Jessica Excell to illustrate the tales. “The best way to describe how I felt is flabbergasted,” said Porter when asked her reaction to becoming a published author. “I wrote them so long ago, it’s hard for me to comprehend they have actually been made into books. I am just pleased that children everywhere can listen to them now at bedtime.” The entire article is available via

Esme Woolwich-Burt loved reading our book in hospital
Esme Woolwich-Burt was in hospital recently – she is now back home and recovering well. She was given a copy of The Tail of Ailsa in hospital. This is what she says: “I came out of hospital last week after an operation in my kidney and was still feeling a little bit sore. Memorising the Tail of Ailsa helped me forget about all the pain and discomfort as I was instantly transported into Ailsa’s world of adventure.“

At Eighty-Five Years, Joan Porter Will See Her Verses Published!
Joan Porter never imagined for a moment that the verses she made up for her children would ever make it to the published page. If she had an ambition it was the same as any mother’s, that each of her four daughters would find happiness. Joan is now eighty-five and lives in sheltered accommodation in Bearsden. All four daughters live nearby and on one thing they have determined – to see their mother’s verse published.
Born at Kilberry, settled in Tarbert.
Joan was born in the wee village of Kilberry on the west coast of Mid-Argyll. In her early twenties she trained as a children’s nurse in Dumbarton where she met Bill Porter, a policeman. They fell in love and Joan brought Bill back to live in Argyll. They made their new home in East Loch Tarbert where they raised their daughters born between 1954 and 1975.

Countryside friends.
The verses started life as stories about the countryside creatures whom Joan knew from her childhood. They include a host of characters such as Little Terry Tiddlemouse with brothers Snitch and Snatch, Fergus Frog, Hector Hog or Sir Cyril Squirrel. Often at bedtime, Joan would invent a new character or make up a new rhyme based on one of her stories. Later, when Joan became a supervisor for the Tarbert Playgroup, she began putting her rhymes and verses on to paper. Bill always said, “You should get these published!” but nothing ever got done about it.
Publisher found.
Bill passed away in 2000 but would approve of the new turn of events. Earlier this year, Joan’s youngest daughter got in touch with Creative Scotland who advised her of a possible publisher on Islay called Ailsapress, founded and run by Cathy Wilson. Cathy was captivated by Joan’s verse as was illustrator Jessica Excell who exclaimed on receiving the manuscript: “I have just sat down and read it properly and I love it!! It’s so sweet!!”

Tarbert Book Festival.
That seems to be the general response to Joan’s verse. Two books by Joan Porter and illustrated by Jessica Excell will feature in this year’s Tarbert Book Festival which runs from October 28-30. The titles are: Little Terry Tiddlemouse, and His Countryside Friends & Little Terry Tiddlemouse Time for Tea and Dressing Up. Publication date is October, RRP £6.99. Distribution: BookSource

Riding The Dragon’s Back

Last year Sophie Hamilton, a dance drama educational worker on Islay, asked Cathy Wilson, “What about doing a project with Primary Schools about the Sky Dragon Adventure. I love the story and I know it will work really well in a dance drama workshop, and you could link in and do an art workshop as well!”   Cathy (the author) agreed without hesitation. Enough funding was obtained from Islay and Jura Fourteen “Sparks” programme to enable the project to go ahead.  Everyone on the project was working as a volunteer but funding was needed for materials to make costumes and stage props, and for coloured paper and glue for the artwork.

The P1s and 2s from Bowmore Primary School were invited to work with Sophie and Cathy. First, they read the story with their Class Teacher. On March 3rd 2016, World Book Day, Sophie ran her dance drama workshop. The children enacted various scenes from the book and used drumming to create rhythm and atmosphere. They were accompanied by Stella Block improvising on her violin.  The children just loved it and you could hear a pin drop as they stood watching the shooting star fall across the black back-drop, for the last scene.

A week later, Cathy worked with them using the same paper cut-out collage technique as is used in the book illustrations. They knew the story well by now and could choose any part of the book they liked for their collage. Many of them chose the scene where the two ponies, Bramble and Coultoon, get a ride round the world on the Sky Dragon’s back. Now those pictures are up on the walls of the school, and they are going to write their own story of how the Sky Dragon came back to visit Bramble and Coultoon!

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