Troubador Dancing Paws of Magic

Released: 28/05/2017

ISBN: 9781788036870

Format: Paperback

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Dancing Paws of Magic


Deep in the countryside near Plucker’s Bottom stands Pluckerslea Hall, an English stately home dating back to the thirteenth century. Visiting furless folk are unaware of the secret tunnels that run beneath, and the music rooms, dormitories, dance studios and theatre fitted out for occupants of a much smaller stature. The occupants are cats! Cats wearing tights, tutus, make-up and wigs, and cats performing in ballets like Coppelia and Swan Lake. But when a beautiful gypsy cat warns of impending doom and trouble comes from the ruthless Bruiser Bumfluff, his fiendish crows and the cut-throat Black Treacle Farm Gang, the cats stop dancing, leaving their ballet master, Erico Poochetti the Shih Tzu, in tears. The future looks bleak for the Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company as an evil being plots revenge, lurking in the shadows and watching their every move. Can the ghostly presence of a magical Irish Lepremogg restore the cats’ amazing dancing paws of magic? Inspired by the books of Pamela Brown, Noel Streatfield and Gladys Malvern, the second book in Maria McArdle’s Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company series tells of a friendship between animals that would otherwise be enemies and their fears and determination to preserve their magical way of life. Dancing Paws of Magic contains a number of Maria’s own beautiful illustrations and will be enjoyed by children aged 9-11 years with a love of dancing, theatre and cats, as well as fans of her first book, Introducing the Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company.

I shall be signing and chatting about my books at The Three Counties Society Cat Show on Sat 11th August 2018 at Places Leisure Centre, Eastleigh, Southampton.
Please do come along and say 'Hi!'

The dancing cats are delighted to announce that both my stories about them and their adventures, 'Introducing the Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company' and ''Dancing Paws of Magic' are now in the library at White Lodge, Richmond Park, the home of the Royal Ballet School. Wow and Merow! Now how great is that!!!

from January 2018, 'Dancing Paws of Magic' now available to buy at the Art Shop at the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole.

Thinking about gifts for those special friends and family members?
'Dancing Paws of Magic', as well as some real adventure and spooky magic, describes a quite unique performance of 'Sleeping Beauty'. Purrfect for animal loving ballet fans of all ages.
As well as copies of my books, I have some lovely mounted prints and cards of illustrations available. Contact me on my website -

Have you ever seen a lepremogg? Do you know what a lepremogg is? No?
Well I have an inkling and you'll find my thoughts on the subject on the Blog Page of my website.
On my Blog you will find two little stories with faded photos, of those real-life, brave old cats, who were the inspirations for my character of the magical lepremogg, Galway O'Toot.

Congratulations to all the Winners in the Goodreads Giveaway - finished midnight 22nd July. Your signed copies of 'Dancing Paws of Magic' are already winging their way to you via the Moggyinsky Super Deluxe Carrier Pigeon Service.

Dancing Cats go WORLDWIDE!
Great News! My book, 'Dancing Paws of Magic' is now available to order from local book stores overseas and through
Readers the world over can read all about The Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company, of love and loyalty against adversity, a magical Irish Lepremogg called Galway O'Toot and those amazing 'Dancing Paws of Magic'!

For my UK fans - FREE! Five signed copies of 'Dancing Paws of Magic' to win in new Goodreads Giveaway. Go to to enter before closing date of July 22nd. Best of Luck!

Wed.14th June, 6pm UK time, great interview with Hannah Murray on Talk Radio Europe.

Dancing Paws of Magic now available for readers everywhere.

26th May. A most enjoyable interview with Marilyn Barber, Editor of the Stour & Avon Magazine. My cat Gracie and I posed for photographs and we had a lovely long chat about my life and my books.

24th May. My interview with Hannah Murray of Talk Radio Europe went really well. She was so easy to chat to making the whole experience a pleasure. She will tweet me towards the end of June when her Book Show, including my interview, is to go on air.
The radio station is especially for ex-pats living in Spain but programs can be listened to via the Internet anywhere in the world. (I don't think I 'fluffed' my words!)

Have you visited my website yet? There are stories, photos, a regularly updated blog and even a collection of my illustrations in glorious colour. Go on! Taka a peek at and ENJOY!

March 2017
Great excitement! First delivery of 'Dancing Paws of Magic' has arrived from the printers. Beat the rush and get your copy to read and enjoy now!

On Wednesday 29th May, I was back at 'A Bundle of Books' children's bookshop in Herne Bay, Kent for a 'How to' workshop on the use of illustrating with watercolour pencils. Great fun was had by children, mums, grandmas and me and some really nice pictures were produced and several copies of Introducing the Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company were signed and passed on to their new young readers.

On Saturday 4th. May at
'A Bundle of Books' 6 Bank St Herne Bay Kent, I told children about my own youthful ballet experiences, the animals who have inspired the characters for my story, explained with the aid of original sketches and finished watercolours how the illustrations were developed,read extracts and was delighted to sign copies for those who purchased my book.

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This is a whimsical and sweet story about a troupe of ballet dancing cats who lose the desire to dance. They have been given their talent and ambition through magic and the magic is wearing off. Thankfully the ghost of a lepremog (the feline version of a leprechaun) intervenes and recharges the magical batteries in time for a very important performance.
The cats act like normal moggies until after dark when an entire other word reveals itself. This feline version of the Russian ballet is a world worth visiting. It would be an enjoyable book for young and old. All it requires is a little magic.
I give this four purrs and two paws up.

by NetGalley Review

Magical! I loved this story! I'm a cat lover, so I may be prejudiced....! But I loved the mystery and magic and suspense of this story- and I'm a grown up- kids will love this tale.

by Catherine Hankins (NetGalley)

Magical! I loved this story! I'm a cat lover, so I may be prejudiced....! But I loved the mystery and magic and suspense of this story- and I'm a grown up- kids will love this tale.

by NetGalley Reviewer

What a delightful story! So many twists and turns and as for the characters, they are all very endearing. The ballet aspect was clearly well researched and would be of great help to any budding ballet dancers. The story was made even more interesting by the exquisite illustrations.
Although this is a book written for children, as an older reader, I found it absolutely fascinating.

by Eliza

This book is for kids who love cats and ballet. Because of the vocabulary level, I would recommend it for a good reader in grades 3-5. It would also be a great read-out-loud. There are many unusual names in Dancing Paws of Magic so a child with dyslexia may find it frustrating. This book has many chapters, but read aloud to children who love animals and funny situations, it would be delightful.

I received this book through Net Galley

by NetGalley Reviewer

An excellent book that I hope to share with my class.

by By A NetGalley Reviewer

A lovely book that children will enjoy. The story of magic and mystery based around the cat characters is a delight.

by Sarah Luxton

Maria McArdle

As a child I had three ambitions: to be a champion dressage rider, to dance the roll of the Sugar Plum Fairy at the Royal Opera House in London and to write and illustrate my own children's stories. Though I had some talent in each of these very different fields, LIFE, as it does, got in the way.

I was born in Ramsgate, Kent and in 1952 at the age of four, became a £10 Pom, emigrating with my parents and older sisters, Rosemarie and Christine, to Australia. We settled in the island state of Tasmania on the banks of the beautiful River Tamar. There I enjoyed an idyllic childhood - apart from school - A free spirit, I was never one to be confined. Our home quickly filled with stray cats, dogs, wildlife of many kinds, ponies in the garden and Willamena, a wallaby, living in the fireplace.

At eight years old I began ballet lessons and soon boasted a first prize at the Launceston Competitions.

Back in those days, there was no television service in Tasmania and families lucky enough to have a decent working radio were few. Apart from twice weekly showings at the tiny local cinema, entertainment was what you made it; rustic and homespun. My Father, with old time musical halls running in his veins, began an amateur drama group. Assisted by my Mother, an accomplished pianist, he wrote, produced and stage managed some very funny slapstick reviews, and musical shows and his genius for Heath Robinson special effects knew no bounds. Travelling along rough bush tracks to isolated schools and church halls and billed as 'The Baby of the Show', I sang and danced my way to stardom!

Great change came when we moved to the bright city lights of Sydney. Rolly my beloved springer spaniel moved with us and before long, our home was filled once again with stray cats, injured birds and a pink and grey galah(parrot) named Cocky.

With Rosemarie studying drama at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Christine and I enrolled with The First Australian Ballet Company under the stern but kindly direction of elderly Russian maestro, Mischa Burlakov who, in his youth, had danced with the great Anna Pavlova and who shared our affinity with stray cats. With the Company, Christine and I danced in The Rite of Spring, Giselle, Coppélia and Swan Lake. In a concert of excerpts from several ballets, I performed the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Sadly our days Down Under were not to last. My Mother was desperately homesick for England. We returned to Whitstable in Kent, to a winter, where it seemed to me, the sun never shone, the sea froze over and stray cats and dogs appeared in droves.

Now a professional actress, Rosemarie began touring with various repertory companies and my parents took up the challenge of more amateur theatre. There followed a succession of music halls, reviews and pantomimes in which Rosemarie, when she was 'resting', Christine and I produced, choreographed and performed.

On leaving school I was employed at our local library. There I read and amassed a huge collection of discarded books and met Peter, a talented musician, cat lover and my future husband. A week after our first date to see Brigadoon at the old Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, he proposed marriage in the romantic setting of Canterbury Cathedral, on the very flagstones (I think) where Thomas á Becket was murdered!

We were married barely a year when the first member of our family arrived, a part Exmoor pony named Peter Pan. He was quickly followed by the usual stray cats and dogs and later by two rescued Shetland ponies, Wendy and Tinkerbelle.

I had always had a love of drawing and painting and despite my lack of formal training, began taking commissions for animal portraits in oils. These prooved so successful, I left the library service to concentrate on my art.

Together with two work colleagues, Peter set up a charity - The St. Anthony od Padua Foundation - to enhance the independence of people with physical disabilities. I became a trustee and when we opened a printing and office services workshop in Margate, offering training and employment, I was responsible for the artwork of the printing and publicity.

For many years, together with the rest of the family, we worked on the restoration and then endless maintenance of Gothic House, a large, semi-derelict Victorian house by the sea. The property was always buzzing with children and animals and many happy events; dinner parties, children's parties, charity fund-raising garden parties and musical evenings. We even opened our home to holiday makers, many becoming real friends and returning year after year.

So now, after all this time,and ably assisted by my two beautiful cats, Gracie, an independent puss of the Russian Blue variety,and her friend Bambino Perfect Print, a very lovely spotted Bengal Leopard Cat, I am concentrating on my childhood dream; to write and illustrate my own children's stories. With storyline and characters inspired by my own experiences and the wonderful real-life animals and people I have been fortunate to know, my first illustrated children's book is called


March 2017 update:

My second book about the members of the Pusska Moggyinsky Ballet Company is now complete. In contrast to my first, which gives a pen picture and coloured illustration of each of the main characters, it is in illustrated novel form and is a tale filled with mystery, mayhem and not a little magic.

The title of my second book in this series produced by Matador is


This is me with Gracie, a most independent young puss and inspiration for Dame Pusska.

Sleeping Beauty Programme Cover.
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