Story behind the Story

The Banana Bunch BookThe original monkey stories were written in 2007 when Sheila, a family friend, suddenly became unwell.

Until the onset of her illness Sheila was the epitome of robust good health – ebullient, outgoing and generous with her time and talents on behalf of others. She also had a luminous smile, a wicked sense of humour and a highly infectious laugh.

It was a great shock to hear of Sheila’s illness. “Get Well Soon” cards were immediately sent by the Dawn Carroll and her family.  Very soon they learned that Sheila hated the hospital food. The fact that both Sheila and the author shared their homes with a number of furry, soft toy monkeys then provided the inspiration for a series of home-made “monkey” cards.

The original cards consisted of photographs, combined with the adventures of the monkeys as they tried to deliver bananas to the hospital. Sheila loved the cards and it was her wish that they should be published.

The stories in this book are not quite the same as those that were written for the original cards – which remain with Sheila’s family. The illustrations are also entirely new.

Dawn Carroll could not have created Sheila’s cards on her own and owes huge thanks to her family, friends and neighbours who, once they understood the nature of the project, came up with countless ideas for story lines and an amazing assortment of clothing and props for the original photos.

Thanks are also due to the strangers who gave of their time and enthusiasm when presented with apparently mad requests for the temporary loan of their fire engine, lorry and ladder so that photos of large, furry, monkeys could be taken for the original cards.

Dawn is also utterly indebted to Linden Hare who has given untold hours of her own time to produce illustrations that totally capture the spirit of the stories originally written for Sheila, and the good nature of the monkeys. This book could not have been produced without her help.

The kindness and generosity of all who have contributed to the creation of Sheila’s cards, and the book, have been exceptional.

Profits from the sale of the first edition of this book will be donated to Winston’s Wish and Tŷ Hafan.