Debut children’s book deals with loss of pets

Chris Clark, with illustrations from his debut children's book. EMN-180921-162759001
Chris Clark, with illustrations from his debut children's book. EMN-180921-162759001

A Sleaford film maker and musician has published his debut children’s book, but it does not deal with wizards or unicorns.

Chris Clark is well known locally for his work producing independent thriller Shadows of a Stranger, fronting band Glass Onion and penning a Christmas song with William Alvey children, but he has now experimented with writing a short children’s story to deal with a tricky subject.

Old Shep is a tale about death - specifically the loss of an old family pet dog, aimed at four to six-year-olds.

Chris explained: “Ever since having my own kids, I found certain issues that you have to talk about are not raised in books or TV shows very often.”

He said: “I cast my mind back to when I was a child and our family pet died. It was a confusing time as no one really talked about it properly with me and I felt it would be a good way to get children and parents talking.

“A little girl has a dog and they have lots of fun as best friends, but he sadly dies, but by the end she realises it is OK to be sad and it is great to remember the good times. It is a positive way to deal with the issue.”

Having sketched out the rough draft a few years ago, Chris said: “As a song writer, writing in rhyme was very natural. A lot of the story came very quickly and I had to write it down straight away before I forgot it.”

He enlisted local artist Laura Yeats-Davies to illustrate the book, knowing her as a parent at William Alvey School where he ran a music club and she ran an art club.

“I am very pleased with what she has come up with from my rough biro sketches. I wanted a loose, sketchy style,” he said.

As a trial run, he has published the simple, 15 page rhyming story as an ebook on Amazon and has so far received favourable reviews, achieving around 100 downloads on the first day. It has been free to download for the first few days, £1.99 thereafter.

He hopes to write a longer book, but his next project is to get into script writing.