Foxy tale is best-seller

The Tattoo Fox book cover
The Tattoo Fox book cover
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The first venture into story writing for children by former council convener Alasdair Hutton, has proved a best seller at a major book festival.

The ex-South of Scotland MEP now better known as ‘the voice’ of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo saw his debut novel for youngsters, The Tattoo Fox, launched at last month’s Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The book tells the tale of a fox which lives on Edinburgh Castle rock and loves the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which Alasdair has written and narrated for the last 22 years.

The book recounts how the young fox is intrigued by everything she hears about the Tattoo and she endeavours to find out more.

Her quest takes her to some of Edinburgh’s most famous landmarks as she befriends the local animals and sees the local sights.

At the Edinburgh International Book Festival, among children’s books, The Tattoo Fox was only outsold by the highly popular and well-established 2011-2013 Children’s Laureate and Gruffalo author, Julia Donaldson.

Overall, The Tattoo Fox turned out to be the seventh best-selling book of the year in the festival bookshop, where it was competing with new launches by Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Andrew Marr and Rupert Everett, not to mention Ruby Wax, Sandi Toksvig, Carol Ann Duffy, Kate Mosse and AC Grayling.

“I am amazed and slightly embarrassed to find my little effort is in such exalted company,” Alasdair confessed to The Southern this week.

“It was not written as a serious literary work but just a collection of little stories which I hoped that children might enjoy and which I trust are well enough written to let them see and hear good English.”

The book came about after the Tattoo producer, Brigadier David Allfrey, bumped into a fox in the Tattoo stands late one night after a rehearsal and thought it would make a good story for children.

Asked if he is considering a sequel, Alasdair says he will be happy to pen something else if publishers, Edinburgh-based Luath Press, thinks it would be successful.

“I am astonished that The Tattoo Fox has done so well – I can’t believe it to be honest. They usually work out the total sales in October or November and I will be talking to the publishers then.

“I’ve been so busy recently, in fact I’m just back from doing a show in Germany.

“But if the publishers felt I should do another book, that would be great. I’d happily rattle something off.

“However, perhaps not the collected speeches of a former convener of Scottish Borders Council – I’m not sure that would sell so well!”