Edinburgh Castle fox inspires children’s book

A sighting of a real-life fox on the Castle Esplanade inspired Alasdair Hutton to write the book

A sighting of a real-life fox on the Castle Esplanade inspired Alasdair Hutton to write the book

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The announcer at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is to make his debut at the Edinburgh International Book Festival after turning his hand to children’s literature.

Alasdair Hutton, 73 will premiere his first book for children, The Tattoo Fox, at this year’s Book Festival.

The story of a fox living at Edinburgh Castle, and his adventures around the Military Tattoo, is a world away from Alasdair’s first book, a military history of his former parachute battalion.

But early indications are that the book could be a hit with young readers, following in the footsteps of local children’s authors such as Debi Gliori and JK Rowling.

Set around the Castle, against the backdrop of the Festival and the Tattoo, the adventures of an Edinburgh fox were inspired by a real-life sighting on the Castle Esplanade.

Alasdair said: “I was inspired to write the story when the producer of the 
Tattoo saw a fox on the esplanade after rehearsals. I remember saying ‘that would make a wonderful children’s book’.

“I write stories quite a lot, but the only other book I’ve written was a history of my parachute battalion, which was more of a read for the lads in the battalion, not for outside consumption. So this has been quite a departure for me.

“I showed a young relation a few of the stories from the book and she was really excited by them, which is what kept me motivated to finish.”

Having completed the book, Alasdair will now embark on a series of readings for young audiences to help promote it – and he admitted his job as the Tattoo announcer was a considerable assistance in his preparations.

“Being the announcer for the Edinburgh Tattoo certainly helps at the readings,” he said.

As well as hoping it will be a hit with youngsters, Alasdair believes his book could also be a great gift for tourists and revealed it was dedicated to his granddaughter, who lives in America, as a way of keeping her in touch with her ancestral home.

“I hope that the setting and the places and the events all come together for children, along with the great illustrations,” he said. “Most of the events are Edinburgh-specific but children are very good at transposing those events into places they know.

“The book is dedicated to my granddaughter who lives in America, and I’m hoping that it keeps alive, at least for her but hopefully for others too, the spirit of Scotland, and the knowledge of Scotland.”

The book will be launched with a reading by the author at 2pm today, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Charlotte Square. And Alasdair is involved in another event, Meet the Voice of the Tattoo, at Riddle’s Court on Friday, August 23.