The Tales of Mrs Mancini

About The Tales of Mrs Mancini

The Tales of Mrs Mancini; ABC Books, November, 2016.

Written by Natalie Jane Prior, Illustrated by Cheryl Orsini

Mrs Mancini Cover

Mrs Mancini, part owner of the most gorgeous patisserie shop in town, is a cat with two missions: to spread the love of cake, and to help the lonely children who live on the square solve the problems in their lives. 

Gentle, heartwarming and funny, and illustrated throughout with Cheryl’s luminous and detailed illustrations,this collection of three stories is similar in style and format to our incredibly successful 2015 title, The Fairy Dancers. Suitable for reading aloud to younger children, or ideal for new readers transitioning out of picture books into chapter books (like The Fairy Dancers, it has more text than a picture book, but still has full colour illustrations). 

Purchase book here

Reviews of The Tales of Mrs Mancini

A thoughtful and smart book ...complex enough to engage those junior independent readers, but accessible enough for younger readers to have it read to them...Prior’s words are clear, funny and deft...Orsini’s illustrations are sweet without being saccharine…containing many funny or lovely little details for readers to discover.

Reading Time, January 2017

Writing the Stories

Maisie Ingram

The Tales of Mrs Mancini has been in the works for a while. The inspiration for the story originally came from my long-standing creative partnership with Cheryl Orsini. After working with Cheryl for over ten years, we have come to appreciate each other’s strengths, and when I write something, I generally have Cheryl in the back of my mind. Mrs Mancini came about because of my awareness of Cheryl’s unrivalled ability to draw food. Our very first book together, Minnie Pearl and the Undersea Bazaar (ABC Books) included an illustration of mermaids at a cafe, eating mermaid food, and people who’ve read The Fairy Dancers will also remember the picnic in the park, and the Flowerpot Cafe. A cakeshop seemed a natural extension of this, and Mrs Mancini, the lazy cat with the big heart and greedy tummy, slotted into the story very quickly and naturally. (Her name was chosen because it rhymes with Cheryl’s surname.) She’s based in part on the extremely beautiful Maisy Ingram (left), a cat owned by some friends of mine, whose Facebook photos always seemed to show her lounging, stretching or sleeping.

Originally, I wrote the story as a traditional picture book text, ending (in a nod to an Orsini family tradition) with the picnic at Birthday Cake Rock . However, after working with Cheryl and me on The Fairy Dancers, Chren Byng, our publisher at ABC Books, suggested that I rework the idea into a similar three story format; an inspired suggestion that really opened the story out and gave it room to breathe. It’s a book about kindness and friendship, with the inimitable Mrs Mancini constantly working the background like a feline fairy godmother to make sure that everything turns out right.


Junior Bookseller + Publisher Christmas Highlight

Cheryl and I are thrilled that The Tales of Mrs Mancini has been named a Christmas Highlight in the Junior Bookseller + Publisher

Younger readers

The Tales of Mrs Mancini by Natalie Jane Prior and Cheryl Orsini (ABC Books, November) is a gorgeous collection of three short stories from the team that brought us The Fairy Dancers. It stars the wonderful Mrs Mancini, a book-reading cat and her human friend Filippina, who look after the kids in their neighbourhood.

Illustration Gallery

Website © Natalie Jane Prior 2020 This website uses cookies, including third party cookies. By using this website, you consent to the use of these cookies.