Kitty has had enough: the long hours slaving in the fields, the beastly boss, the pitiful pay! Oh, and her mother has recently died. She decides to make the long and dangerous journey to London, eager to discover its “streets paved with gold”.
But life has plenty more surprises in store for Kitty. She is robbed, twice, before she has even caught a glimpse of St Paul’s, then gratefully accepts a job as a kitchenhand in Mr Fitzwarren’s smart townhouse. Here, with the fearsome chef Mrs Tilbury and her scheming daughter, Sarah, ruling the roost, not to mention the rats and mice which plague her bedroom each night, Kitty will need every ounce of resourcefulness and a healthy dose of initiative if she is to come out on top.
This wonderful reinvention of Dick Whittington is perfect for 9-13 year olds, full of engaging characters, great songs and wonderful drama. The book provides the full script with staging ideas, piano music and lyrics, character profiles and curriculum resources. The accompanying CD features all of the songs, musical interludes and backing tracks.
Outside the village of Grindstone, Kitty Whittington and a swathe of other children who are slaving in the fields wonder whether life will always be so difficult (A BETTER WAY). After work, Kitty ventures into the village and overhears that the streets of London are paved with gold. She determines to travel there and see for herself (MAKE SOMETHING OF HERSELF).
On the way to London, she is robbed by a devious group of girls, helped by a friendly cart driver, but then robbed again upon arrival. Abandoned by the Thames, a forlorn Kitty dreams about a better life (WALK BY THE RIVER).
Luckily for her, she is given a job and a bedroom in Mr Fitzwarren’s smart townhouse. Unfortunately, the attic bedroom is infested with scurrying nocturnal visitors (RATS AND MICE).
Eager to find a solution to her rodent problem, Kitty and another kitchen hand, Mary, venture into London (LONDON’S THE PLACE TO BE). There they she finds Mr Bowbells, a remarkable cat with the ability to talk.
Mr Fitzwarren’s son, James, becomes friends with Kitty, not caring in the slightest about social status (BUILD A FRIENDSHIP). The fearsome cook, Mrs Tilbury, feels very differently about Kitty (MRS TILBURY).
One evening, Mr Fitzwarren gathers together the whole house and invites each of them to give him something to sell abroad. Kitty has nothing to give, but Mr Bowbells puts himself forward on Kitty’s behalf. Without Mr Bowbells, things take a turn for the worse. Kitty becomes increasingly picked upon both by Mrs Tilbury and her daughter, Sarah, and even some of the other servants are encouraged to turn against her. To make matters worse, the rats and mice return.
Meanwhile, in North Africa, the King and Queen of Barbary welcome some visiting merchants - including Mr Fitzwarren and Mr Bowbells - to their palace, though they are adamant that the only thing they need is something to rid the palace of the plague of rodents (FULL TO THE BRIM). Up steps Mr Bowbells, promising their immediate disappearance. The King and Queen are delighted and promise Mr Fitzwarren a small fortune in exchange, which he in turn pledges to Kitty.
Back in London, things have gone from bad to worse for Kitty. When Sarah and Cecily plant some stolen items in her bedroom, Kitty feels that enough is enough, and decides to leave London for good. However, upon reaching Highgate Hill, she hears the bells of Bow Church ringing, seemingly calling her to turn back and remain in London (TURN YOURSELF AROUND). Kitty does just that, only to be accosted by the gang of thieving girls. She confronts them, determined not to be pushed around any more. They back off and Kitty returns to Mr Fitzwarren’s house in time to hear his wonderful news – that she is now a very wealthy young lady with a fine future ahead of her (HAPPY ENDING).