JENNY lives with her aunt and uncle, and her best friend Philip - a talking cat.

Jenny is a loveable but headstrong child; she knows her own mind and she’s pretty much the naughtiest girl in Yorkshire. What she aspires to be is the naughtiest girl in the whole world.

Written by Leeds author and journalist Dawn-Maria France, The Adventures of Jenny and Philip: The Naughtiest Girl in the World is a charming book combining fun, imagination and learning for four to seven-year-olds. It’s the first in a series following Jenny and her cat on a life-learning journey.

“I wanted to write an original children’s story that is engaging and fun to read, with a storyline that instils a sense of joy,” says Dawn-Maria. “I wanted to create the main character as a strong little girl, with faults like everyone, but with an ability to listen and learn.”

It’s an ideal book for adults to read to pre-school children, and for youngsters to read for themselves. Interwoven with humour and learning, it aims to guide younger children through issues of ethics and morality, understanding their place in the world.

“I have set it in Yorkshire because, as a northern woman, a sense of place and home is important to me, and I’d like children to recognise that books can be set in different places and different counties,” says Dawn-Maria, an award-winning journalist, travel writer and broadcaster. Before going into journalism, she was a youth worker in the region. In her new book, she challenges stereotypes in children’s books; featuring a strong-willed female character and an alternative to the ‘nuclear family’ stereotype, with Jenny adopted by her aunt and uncle. Through Jenny’s adventures, the book touches upon a number of issues affecting children.

Dawn-Maria describes it as “a modern fable about appreciating what we have and helping those less fortunate”.

“Jenny doesn’t appreciate her long-suffering aunt and uncle, and the safe, loving environment they provide for her,” she says. “Her best friend, a talking cat, takes Jenny on adventures in her imagination. Can Philip show Jenny how lucky she is? It’s a timely story which ties in to many difficult events happening in the world right now.”

* The Adventures of Jenny and Philip: The Naughtiest Girl in the World is available from