Meet the Winslow family behind a brand new children's book
Picture book was written by dad, illustrated by mum, and starring the two boys
A new children's book created during lockdown has been a family effort from a Winslow couple and their two boys.
Father of two Rob Davies, who is a welder by trade, wrote his rhyming adventure story, The Big Booey Dooey and the Croco-whale-roo, while he was furloughed for a month during the first lockdown last April.
Partner Steph Breen aged 41, then took on the task of illustrating the storybook, which is inspired by the antics of their two sons - Jack, aged 11, and Rory, nine
Rob, aged 47, who works in the motorsport industry, decided to turn his hand to children's fiction while trying to home educate Jack and Rory.
"We were trying to cajole and encourage the boys to pick up a pen," he said.
The Big Booey Dooey and the Croco-whale-roo is an adventure story written in comic rhyming verse - starring Jack and Rory as the protagonists. The book begins:
"I'd like you to meet two typical boys,
Whose best friends are mischief, trouble and noise.
The taller one's Jack and his brother is Rory,
And this is the start of a fantastic story!"
On their adventure, Jack and Rory meet a two-headed giant, the Booey Dooey:
“One head was scruffy and the other one neat.
And you wouldn’t believe the size of his feet!”
Rob said the idea for the character came to him years ago, when Jack, then aged four, playfully called his father a 'big Booey Dooey'.
"The character's been in the back of my mind for a couple of years," said Rob.
Having written the story, Rob needed an illustrator - and who better to take on the job than partner Steph - a self-employed graphic designer?
Steph had previously used her design and marketing expertise to help several other authors self-publish in recent years, including two other children's books - but had never actually illustrated before.
After working tirelessly on the initial sketches until she was happy that the illustrations really captured the characters, Steph began the daunting task of bringing the pages of Rob's text to life with her bold and colourful illustrations.
Steph said: "It was out of my comfort zone, but I think Rob was pleased with the final result!"
Rob hopes eventually to follow The Big Booey Dooey and the Croco-whale-roo with a small series of books. But for now, the family are having a rest.
"It's been really nice," said Rob. "It was lovely to do something like this with Steph and the boys."
And the family venture has also encouraged Jack and Rory to be creative, Rob said.
"It really inspired them in their work at school. It's really encouraged them to draw as well. They've got a doodle wall in their bedroom."
The Big Booey Dooey and the Croco-whale-roo is available from Waterstones or here