Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Books About Guinea Pigs by Ursula Dubosarsky

What animals do you love? Do you find yourself writing stories about them, even when you don’t mean to?

I love guinea pigs. And I love books about guinea pigs. I’ve got lots and lots of them at home. (Books, I mean, not guinea pigs.)

My love of guinea pigs started with two pets I had in Year 7. There was a white one called Popcorn, and a little brown and black roundish fluffy one called Bubbles. Mainly they liked eating. And squeaking. And running away. But I really loved them. They died a LONG TIME AGO and yet I seem to think about them almost every day. (I must be MAD.)

When I became a writer, the very first book I wrote was about a guinea pig – actually a GIANT guinea pig. Was it a horror story? No, a picture book for little children! (Maisie and the Pinny Gig” ) (Note – this is NOT from my book!)

The more I wrote, the more I seemed to write about guinea pigs. Sometimes the guinea pig was a big part of the book, but more often they just seemed to crawl into the story for no reason at all. I might be writing a story about a family or an adventure or a mystery or a journey, and suddenly – look, it’s a guinea pig! It may not stay for long, but it sniffs around a bit and then scurries away again, off the page into the bushes.

I’ve been writing books now for over 25 years, but I still can’t get enough guinea pigs. My most recent books are mystery stories, featuring a detective – you’ve guessed it – guinea pig! His name is Coco Carlomagno and he is Chief of Police in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America. (Did you know guinea pigs come from South America?)

The Missing Mongoose: The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno (and Alberta) Bk 3

I have even written a poem “Beware of the Guinea Pig”.

This is about a guinea pig we had a few years ago called King John. We got the name from my very favourite book of all about guinea pigs by Dick King-Smith called “I Love Guinea Pigs”. Look in your library or ask your librarian for help to track down a copy. It’s FANTASTIC. (Even if you don’t love guinea pigs you will love this book.)

Now, I wonder, what stories could you write about YOUR favourite animal?

About the Author

Ursula Dubosarsky was born and grew up in Sydney, and wanted to be a writer from the age of six. She is now the author of over 40 books for children and has won a series of national prizes, including the NSW, Victorian, South Australian and Queensland State literary awards.

Apart from fiction and picture books, such as “The Terrible Plop”, she has also written the non-fiction “Word Spy” books about the English language. Her latest books, illustrated by Terry Denton, are comical mysteries set in South America, about a pair of guinea pig detectives - 'The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno". She has three children and lives in Sydney.

Her favourite book when she was 12 was “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins, a mystery story first published in 1860. She still loves mysteries – at the moment she is reading “Lady Audley’s Secret” by Mary Braddon – a similarly SENSATIONAL story that was published back in 1862. These are both pretty old books, but if you like mysteries, you are sure to love them.


  1. Thank you for writing this for us, Ursula.

    I really enjoyed reading about how your fondness for guinea pigs has led to you writing about them in your books.

    When I was growing up (in a family of 9!), we had lots of dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, birds, goldfish, a mouse or two and a rabbit that, sadly, only lasted a day but never a guinea pig.

    Perhaps it is just as well. It sound like guinea pigs have big personalities and they would not have liked competing for attention in our noisy household.

    Anyone who wants to read more about guinea pigs should have a look at the page on guinea pigs on Ursula's website (she wasn't kidding when she said they've crept into her books)and,if you're not into books on guinea pigs, have a look at all the other books Ursula has written. It is likely that there's a title or two which will interest you.

  2. Adorable, bizarre, and slightly smelly! I loved reading about your fascination with guinea pigs, Ursula, and will be looking for the Coco Carlomango books this week (these sound like something my children and I MUST read).

    I love reptiles, but not sure how empathic a snake can be as a main character. Will think on it ...

  3. Well I'd definitely want to read a story that had a snake in the leading role!!

  4. I've never had a guinea pig, and I don't know any personally, but when something has a big part in your life, even if it's only inside your imagination, then it seems it just has to come out in your writing. My favourite animals are horses, and they have starred in LOTS of my books!

  5. I've never had a guinea pig either, but I've had lots of dogs over the years, and have a kelpie cross and a red heeler now. Like the guinea pigs Ursula writes about, dogs seem to creep into my stories as well.