A Piggy Tale of True Love

screenImage courtesy of Helen J. Aitken
Meet Bertie and Jenny, two of my favourite squeakers who inspired a new collection of guinea pig stories for young children, now available as read-along eBooks!

When my little girl was a baby, she loved looking at pictures of guinea pigs and would gurgle with delight when I brought ours out of their pen for cuddles. I was very frustrated about the lack of guinea pig picture books for toddlers on the market here in the UK, so I started to tell her stories about my own guinea pigs – of which there have been many – but there was one particular furry friend who made her smile the most, and now she plays with him every day, on my mobile phone!

Bertie came in to our lives quite by accident. Our friend was having some building work done on her house and Bertie needed somewhere to stay. Well, it didn’t take Bertie long to feel at home, as soon as he realised we had a girl guinea pig in the house he was bouncing about and purring like mad! Our friend always commented that he didn’t squeak much, but he certainly found his voice when in the company of our Jenny. He adored her and although we weren’t able to put them in together (Jenny was too old to risk babies sadly), he used to visit her everyday and chat through the bars of her hutch, rubbing noses. Bertie really perked Jenny up – she had only recently lost her sister and was quieter than ever – she really did have no squeak, just like in the story! Bertie got her pop-corning again.

Bertie and JennyImage courtesy of Helen J. Aitken

Bertie and Jenny

Jenny and Bertie became very close and when it was time for Bertie to leave we knew it would be hard for all of us. The moment he left the house, Jenny literally went downhill. She wouldn’t eat and fluffed herself up and put her head down… We rang our friend and she told us Bertie had ‘drooped’ too – they obviously didn’t want to be apart. So she made a mercy dash back to our house and the two were reunited! Bertie joined our growing guinea pig family and never looked back, but always gave our friend a jolly squeak when she came to visit!

Bertie and Jenny were real soul mates and it was wonderful to be able to bring them back to life for my daughter through my books. My illustrator Liz has done a fantastic job re-creating them on screen and because the stories are narrated by myself, I’ve even managed to include my present day piggies squeaking, munching and rustling!

Of course in fiction anything is possible, so in the stories Bertie and Jenny get up to all sorts of wonderful adventures, she even finds her squeak! But there are plenty of real life antics in there too, from all my beautiful, amazing, guinea pigs.

The Stories of Bertie the Guinea Pig app is available to download from the Apple app store. The first tale, Bertie and the Big Squeak is absolutely free! For more information visit the developer’s website http://www.thestorymouse.com

If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Helen J Aitken

Helen J Aitken is a mother and freelance broadcaster who’s had a life-long passion for guinea pigs! Helen started writing
her collection of tales about Bertie & his pals to entertain her daughter who was born in 2008 and the stories soon became
bedtime favourites. Inspired by the antics of Helen’s pets from her own childhood (Bertie and his pal Jenny really were the best of friends and Jenny really did have no squeak!), the stories are narrated by
Helen too and they feature the sound of her present day guinea pigs, munching, crunching, rustling and squeaking!

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November 2011
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