A colourful tale: Herne Hill mums create kids book about animals in Brockwell Park

Owen Sheppard (20 July, 2017) Environment Culture

"Our hide-and-seek books are about searching for animals that wouldn’t usually live in the city, whilst stopping to notice nature in local nooks and crannies,” author said

18116Jenna Herman and Lucy Reynolds

Two Herne Hill mums have published their first children’s book, which tells little ones all about the curious creatures and wildlife to be found Brockwell Park.

Lucy Reynolds (writer) and Jenna Herman (illustrator) have released Parrots Don’t Live in the City under their newly-created publishing company, Doodles and Scribbles.

Lucy, 38, said it was inspired by the number of parrots you see all over London, and her surprise at the first time she ever saw one in Brockwell Park.

“Brockwell is full of surprises,” she said. “My husband wouldn’t even look into the trees when I told him I had seen one. He didn’t believe me.”

Lucy then started a theme of writing about animals that are invasive species, which you wouldn’t expect to find in London. “I started to think, even in the really dirty parts of the city you find all sorts of really beautiful animals.

“We want to encourage children to appreciate this too. So our hide-and-seek books are about searching for animals that wouldn’t usually live in the city, whilst stopping to notice nature in local nooks and crannies.”

She said Parrots Don’t Live in the City is written in rhyming couples, which are ideal for the linguistic development of children aged about six.

For the next three seasons, from autumn to spring, Lucy and Jenna plan on publishing three more rhyming books: one on hedgehogs; foxes; and another invasive species, the Mitten Crab, which are found in the Thames, despite being native to China.

“Jenna and I have been friends for 20 years and have always had this pipe dream,” Lucy added. “But when you’re self-publishing you’ve got to do everything: the paper, the printing, the promotion. It’s been a bit of a learning curve.”

Parrots Don’t Live in the City is available from local bookshops, including Kennington Waterstones, Herne Hill Books, Clapham Books, Village Books and Dulwich Books.

The two pals are also accepting manuscripts, and are looking at publishing other authors’ work. Visit www.doodlesandscribbles.co.uk to find out more.

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