Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the publishing and baking powerhouse behind a series of children’s story cookbooks. A delight for all ages, it brings together traditional storytelling with activities to be enjoyed baking in the kitchen. As an introduction to their latest book, Silly Willy Goes to Capetown, Robbie is sharing the inspiration for two of the characters…
Who are Cautious Craig and Silly Willy?
Who would have thought that two chartered accountants could produce two such very different children? And two boys at that! My husband should have known when the doctor pronounced the words “it’s another boy” that his life was not going to follow the well-ordered pattern of many of his contemporaries. The absence of the expected pigeon pair was very telling in this regard. There would be no tempering of the masculine spirit in our house and the interests of its occupants would extend to tarantulas and chameleons rather than dolls and shoes.
My husband, Terence, comes from a very neat and tidy family of one girl followed by one boy. Terence was a quiet and reserved child and, as far as I am aware, never did anything unexpected to upset the flow of daily life.
I, on the other hand, come from a very raucous and rowdy family of four girls. Everyone in my childhood home had an opinion on every topic from politics to religion to the colour of the grass. Arguments in the Eaton household were very loud and almost violent with the general noise level rising as the subject of discussion became more heated. This hasn’t changed, and when we all get together with our spouses and children, I have noticed the men tend to disappear into another room when a hot topic for discussion comes up. I sometimes see my husband studying the four of us from afar, with a vaguely pained expression on his face. I think he sees us as some kind of new and interesting but completely incomprehensible scientific phenomenon.
So what has this got to do with my new book, Silly Willy goes to Cape Town? Well, my own two children are complete opposites and living in a house with two entirely different children with completely different outlooks on life has been a very unique experience. When you add two lots of chronic illness and my own childhood experiences, to this already exotic mix, you get lots of explosions and some great story ideas.
Cautious Craig is a caricature of my older son, Gregory. Gregory has always been very careful and cautious. Although he is very like me in a lot of ways, his cautious nature is very different from how I am. Swinging up as high as you can go into a light blue sky, trying to touch the fluffy white clouds with your toes, and jumping off at the very top of the upward curve, hooking your legs into the top of the merry go round and letting go as it spins around and diving head first down the highest slide, these are reckless joys that I experienced in my childhood but which Gregory did not. Gregory is a lover of reading and books as well as computer games, particularly, those that are based on mythology and require lots of strategy. Greg is also a very patient boy. Gregory’s bookish and careful nature has been exaggerated in Cautious Craig’s character in the book. Cautious Craig is the narrator of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town and finds his younger, very active and volatile younger brother, very mystifying and trying.
Silly Willy, on the other hand, is only partially modelled on my younger son, Michael, who really has done some very funny and naughty things in his short life, must of them entirely unintentionally. I have used a fair amount of poetic license with the development of Silly Willy’s character and included a lot of my own childhood experiences as well as those of my nephews and nieces and even stories that I have heard from friends and acquaintances in the story as it relates to Willy. Willy is a real handful in Silly Willy goes to Cape Town and nearly drives his mother insane with his exhausting and tempestuous behaviour.
I originally wrote Silly Willy for the amusement of my sons and nieces but when other people who read bits of it or heard me reading extracts of it, expressed interest in it as a book, I sent the manuscript to my publisher, TSL Books, for her opinion. Anne found the story most amusing and was happy to publish the book for me. So the decision to publish the first book in the Silly Willy series was made and that left me with the quandary of illustration of the book. As the creation of fondant art is a great interest of mine, and I can’t draw for toffee sticks, that left me with no real option but to illustrate Silly Willy using Michael and my fondant, cake and biscuit illustration concept that we are using for our Sir Chocolate series of books. With Silly Willy though, I have expanded on our original idea, and the book includes step by step instructions on how to make many of the fondant people and objects and also five ideas for party cakes. The party cake section includes some lovely simple cake recipes that work well for cakes decorated with fondant and step by step instructions for the creation of the cakes.
Two of the cakes included in the book are a fairy doll and a train station.
About Robbie Cheadle
Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.
Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.
Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books
Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle
One of the latest reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees
Who could not pick up Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s story-and-baking book, Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees Story and Cookbook (TSL Publications 2017) after reading this blurb:
“A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.”
This is a fun poetic story about the adventures of Sir Chocolate interspersed with wonderful recipes parents and kids create together–foods like Cheesy Bread and Butter Biscuits–accompanied by cute real-life pictures of the sugar dough creations, I have never seen a book that blended recipes and reading. How clever is that! Kids love cooking with parents, and now they can blend that with a favorite pastime: reading.
One more note: Robbie and Michael are mother-and-son. Not only will kids be inspired to cook with parents, but write and publish a book.
Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
Connect to Robbie and Michael at their blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
I hope that you will head over and check out Robbie and Michael’s books. thanks for dropping in.. Sally