Barbara Sleigh was born in 1906 in Warwickshire. She took an art teacher's training course, and later began to write stories for children for radio. She was a lecturer at Goldsmiths' Teacher Training College, then in 1933 joined the staff of BBC Children's Hour. Three yars later she married David Davis, who later became Head of Children's Hour. Her first children's book, Carbonel, which was to become the first of a trilogy, was published in 1955 and has remained a firm favourite with younger readers.
June 2014 Guest Editor Freya North on Carbonel... I read this as a child and lost myself in it utterly. It was one of the first occasions when I truly experienced how books can provide the reader with the pleasure of a parallel universe. I really did ‘live’ this book. Written in 1955 it's still a terrific read. A wonderful, exhilarating adventure story about a young girl who goes on an errand for her mother but comes home with a witch's broomstick and a fabulously aloof black cat. Carbonel is a royal cat bound by spell placed on him by a cranky retired witch. Rosemary and her chum spend the summer tracking down the hat, the cauldron and the book of spells to free Carbonel. I loved reading it to my spellbound children. This book is a big part of my family.
Rosemary and John are proud to be entrusted with Carbonel's royal kittens while he is away from his kingdom, but it is a task that leads them into all sorts of unexpected and exciting magical adventures. A classic, timeless sequel to Carbonel.
Carbonel is a magical fantasy story by Barbara Sleigh. This is the story of a cat, a broomstick and an ordinary schoolgirl called Rosemary. She bought them both in the market, quite cheaply. Of course, neither the cat nor the broomstick were just what they seemed, and they turned up just when Rosemary badly needed something nice to happen to her. A good cat is apt to be independent, so she did not have things all her own way, and as Carbonel proved to be a Royal cat in a very special sense, that was understandable. Between the cat and the broomstick, Rosemary picked up some useful spells and magic, and the adventures they brought about turned a dull-looking holiday into one long to be remembered for its unexpected excitements and rewards. Carbonel is reissued in the 'A Puffin Book' series of Puffin children's modern classics.