Don’t touch that dial! You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love. Today might be one of the sweetest shows we’ve ever had, and I mean that literally. “Please give a warm welcome to my special guest, the fondant lion.”
“Thank you, Lisa, I am so happy to be here, I feel a roar coming on. RRRROOOOAAAARRRR!”
“I know you are famous for your thick mane. Is it thicker because you live in the zoo?”
“Yes, that is likely. I don’t live in just any zoo, I live in the Chocolate Land zoo and it is a special place. All the fondant animals that live here are very happy and we receive excellent care from Sir Chocolate and his helpers. One of our favourite meals is Sir Chocolate’s famous custard. He makes it for us in an enormous pot. I can assure you it does not last long once it is made.
“I have lots of friends in the zoo and they treat me with respect. I am the King of the Jungle in the wild and the animals here all recognize that and let me take the lead on decisions regarding the zoo. I am better off than my brother who lives in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. He doesn’t always get as well fed as I do and sometimes, he has to fight other animals to defend his pride of fifteen other lions. It can be a hard life living in the wild especially when there are wild fires or droughts that destroy the vegetation. Finding food and water can be difficult at those times.
“The one thing I don’t have that my brother does is a wife. I have friends but I am lonely for female companionship of my own kind. I would like to have a family too. Lots so cute little fondant lion cubs running around would be wonderful.”
“Aww, poor guy. Maybe Sir Chocolate can find a wife to live with you.”
“It’s a good life here in the zoo. I get to meet lots of people and children. Sometimes we get to visit a school and that is great fun. During our school visits we teach parents, teachers and children about the benefits of creative art. Sir Chocolate brings fondant along for the children to play with and they learn how to make all sorts of fun figurines and other things out of it. Fondant is fabulous stuff, it is like play dough, but you can eat it. It is stretchy and elastic, and you can mould it easily into shapes. One of the children made a fondant hippo and she came to live with us in the zoo after the fruit drop fairies gave her life with their magic sugar dust.
“Our school visits are not always to demonstrate fondant art, sometimes we teach the children about baking. Sir Chocolate says that baking is very beneficial for children. It helps them develop hand-eye co-ordination, bilateral co-ordination, strengthens their little hands and helps them improve their planning and maths skills. As the King of the Jungle, I am proud of being part of something so useful to children and their teachers and parents.
“All of our books include five fun recipes for children to do with their teachers, parents or grandparents. The children love making the recipes and it is a nice way for parents and grandparents to bond with their children and occupy them doing something beneficial and entertaining. It is hard to complete with television and computers, but baking does. The kids love it!
“I do have one complaint, Lisa. I don’t have a recipe in Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five. There are five recipes. Sir Chocolate, Lady Sweet, buffalo and rhino all got a recipe, and even cheetah, and he isn’t even a big five animal. I didn’t get one and I think I should have but never mind. Perhaps I will get my own recipe in another book or on Robbie and Michael’s baking blog, Bake and Write.”
“Fondant sounds amazing.”
“You know what isn’t amazing? Royal icing. That stuff is like concrete.”
“Interesting. I would think the King of the Jungle would demand nothing less than the royal variety.”
“Well, Lisa, royal icing does taste rather amazing and it is very useful stuff. Sir Chocolate uses it to glue his chocolate and gingerbread houses together and, boy, does it stick. My friends and I had a bad experience with it in our book. We were kidnapped by the Wedding Cake Elves and taken to the home of the Chocolate Giant. His daughter was getting married and the giant had asked the elves to make her a wedding cake with an African theme. She specifically wanted the big five animals. They are lazy little fellows, so they decided to kidnap my friends and I rather than make their own fondant animals for the cake. Fortunately, they only took the fondant five, that is Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and me. A few of our friends were left behind in the zoo.
“We were dragged out of cages one night and made to march towards the Chocolate Chip Hills which is where the giant lives. When we arrived, the elves set about making a delicious tiered wedding cake and then …. [gulp] … they attached us to the cake with royal icing. It was a terrible feeling, Lisa, to be attached to a cake by your paws so that we couldn’t move about. Just thinking about it gives me the chills. The only redeeming factor is that the elves were smart enough to put me on the top of the cake. That is right for the King of the Jungle.”
“Kidnapping is bad. What did you do?”
“We couldn’t do anything, Lisa, glued to the cake with that terrible icing. Sir Chocolate saved us, he is a kind and generous man and would do anything for his friends. He discovered from the fondant giraffe and monkey what had happened during the night and he came to find us. Along the way he met up with the wily fondant cat who also wanted to help so the four of them arrived at the castle to implement a rescue.
“From our position on the cake on the table we could see Sir Chocolate’s rescue plan unfold, Lisa. It was really ingenious how he used each animals’ talents and special features, like the giraffe’s long neck, to rescue us. If I had a hat, I would take it off to Sir Chocolate.
“We all got away and went back to our lovely and peaceful life at the zoo. It turned out that Sir Chocolate knows the giant and he told him about those naughty elves and they were suitably punished for their laziness.
“Chocolate Land is an amazing place. Everything is edible from the trees to the houses and there are lots of amazing creatures and people who live here. I hope you will come and visit us at the Chocolate Land zoo and share our latest adventure. You will like it so much here that you will want to find out about all of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s other adventures too.”
“You can learn all about the Fondant Lion and the rest of the Fondant Five in the book Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five, by Robbie Cheadle and Michael Cheadle. This is a children’s book, and you get a bunch of extra stuff out of it too. There are recipes for children and their parents to make together. We should have made a fondant Lisa Burton and had me visit Chocolate Land. That would be fun one day. Anyhooo, this is an amazing series for children and their parents or grandparents. Any of the books are enjoyable, but the one on display today is Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five.
“We’ve presented Chocolate Land on this show before. Robbie and Sir Chocolate would hit those sharing buttons for you, so won’t you please give them a bit of love today? For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”
Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.
Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
Robbie has also recently published a poetry collection, Open a new door, together with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.