THE idea grew from the school allotment.
Greystones Primary teacher Carol Wilkie decided to write a children’s book that combines the fictional adventures of a group of youngsters with educational information based on the plot in Bingham Park.
She said: “It is a modern Famous Five where present-day kids have wholesome adventures in the safe setting of an allotment, plus some sibling rivalry and lots of camaraderie between friends.”
Her pupils helped to inspire Allotment Kids, which sees the characters searching for bugs, going on a snail hunt, playing hide and seek and having a barbecue where a magpie steals the food.
Educational elements include an allotment map, a year planner for planting and harvesting vegetables, recipes, a wordseach and website details.
“I have always been writing and trying it on the kids at school,” said Carol, who has taught at Greystones for more than 20 years.
“We have got a school allotment in Bingham Park and we’ve been going there for two to three years. It’s a really nice and safe learning environment, and it just inspired me. We grow our own vegetables. We grow rhubarb and make rhubarb crumble – the recipe is in the book.
“I started writing and tried it on the class and tweaked it. Then they started acting it out in class and it went really well. They were so enthusiastic. Because I teach them, I know the language they use and the antics they get up to.”
Carol has already written one book, based on her adventures around the world as a solo traveller, Cos I Can Travel, which stemmed from her rather late ‘gap year’ in 2006.
Characters in Allotment Kids became her “new family”, she said. “It has got aspects of all children I have taught.”
The book is self-published. It has an ISBN and will be listed on sites such as Amazon.
One of the characters, a juggler, introduces another local flavour, based on weekly visits to Greystones by a member of Greentop Circus, which is based at Brightside.
With its “incidental learning opportunities”, Carol believes she has found a gap in the market and is already looking to repeat it.
“It is a unique project because my class have been involved in suggesting what goes on the website, www.allotmentkids.com, and they are giving me all the ideas for the follow-up book, so my school is taking education into a real-life situation.
“There is going to be a series of books but I do need a literary agent or publisher.”
The book costs £4 and is available by contacting Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 266 3413.