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It’s National Storytelling Week

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If your highlight of 2016 was that New Year’s Eve bedtime story by Tom Hardy on CBeebies, then you’ll probably tick yes to one or more of the following statements:

Do you harbour dark and sinister desires that Peppa would jump in a shallow puddle head first? Wish that Bing would meet a grisly fate down a rabbit hole and hope that Iggle Piggle’s boat would capsize in a freak storm?

There may not be a support line number you can call (that I know of), but firstly you’re not alone; and second, I have the perfect little antidote for you.  Budge up Boj and co; a seriously cute couple have quietly rocked up in Tiny Town.  And the best bit?  They were created right here in Devon!

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Sophie and her faithful friend Goose, honk, are the stars of a series of sweet little tales for toddlers. Created from the super-talented hands of award-winning Teignmouth artist Laura Wall, Goose is Laura’s first foray from her more grown up artwork into children’s stories. It carries little minds along on the adventures of a girl, who is always comforted by having goose by her side.

The debut story of Goose, honk,  in 2012 was met with such stonking success that he and Sophie have taken themselves off on lots more little jollies; to the beach, the shops, the farm, school and even birthday parties. Don’t they have quite the social life? In fact there are now 11 books in the series. All of them are beautifully illustrated and simply told; not too long for wandering minds and, dare I say it, not too silly for long-suffering parents who will find themselves reading the words over and over and o-v-e-r again. As a little aside for the slightly OCD parents out there, I also like how neat and tidy they look in a bookshelf.

My three year-old has just got her sticky little paws on Goose and she can’t get enough of them at bedtime. But I don’t mind because it means we’re switching Cbeebies off and doing bedtime properly, at last. Top parenting points to me and Mr Muddy.

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Oh and if you like to be ahead of the curve, then snaffling a set of these stories would be shrewd, because Goose is now in development for an animation pilot and a license was recently signed to make it into a touring stage show. Bill Oddie, for crying out loud, has even narrated six of the stories for the audiobook version. Since Laura is now working with the branding team behind total legends Mr Men, It’s only a matter of time before soft toys and other cute merchandise land on store shelves and Goose, honk, becomes a household name.

Bon Voyage, Iggle Piggle.

£5.99 per story, all books come signed. www.laurawall.com 

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Devon