Mantralingua Guest Post - Gill Aitchison (Mungo Makes New Friends)

Remember Mungo? He's been having a truly lovely summer, in his home in Bonnie Scotland. This blog post is gratefully received from Gill Aitchison (author of Mungo Makes New Friends). All appropriate permissions have been obtained to use the photographs - thank you very much to the schools concerned. 
Jill Newton (illustrator) and I (author) met for the first time in Scotland last week...or so we thought. In fact there was already a connection, we discovered that we had danced together at a mutual friends' Scottish wedding ceilidh a few years ago when Mungo was just a young horse.

Using my connections with schools, Jill and I delivered workshops in Flora Stevenson's, Leith Walk and Blackness Primary Schools and Madras College.

In the Primaries I read 'Mungo Makes New Friends' with lots of audience participation and demonstrated the Classroom PEN. In the Secondary, the pupils looked through the book themselves and using the Story Mountain identified the main parts of the story as well as spotting the thistles and the Scottish connection.

Then Jill demonstrated how to draw a horse using circles, everyone successfully drew their own basic horse. Jill then showed some of her paintings of different types of horses. By adding extra features to the basic horse and making connections with working horses, wild horses, war horses, kelpies and unicorns and other horses in life and literature, the children and young people began to create their own horse characters and friends for their horse. The stories and ideas began to flow.


The feedback from schools was very positive, "The children are still speaking enthusiastically about your visit". Jill and I hope we have made new connections and inspired our audiences to be creative.

Jill's work can be found at

How to draw a Horse is available to download from the Mantra Lingua website (PDF). There are lots of other links to support teachers at

(Note from blog admin - just in case anyone is wondering what a ceilidh is, it's come to mean a dance, often at a wedding or other celebration. Back in the old days, though, it was often a gathering when people got together to tell stories, sing songs, chant poems, and maybe have a dance or two as well. There might also have been a little food and drink involved.)