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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Spotty Socked Lops book bounces onto shelves

Can you imagine what the pandemic might look like to a pair of rabbits?

An emerging children’s author in Newcastle has published a book that explores just that.

Former University of Newcastle student Meg Blackburn put together the story in a bid to inform children about the pandemic in a way they could understand.  

“I was inspired by the lockdown and my rabbits, Bessie and Bean,” Blackburn said.

“I’m not really up to date with what happens, so I’m normally asking the question: ‘What on earth is going on?’

“Especially during COVID, and I was thinking children are probably thinking the same thing, along with other vulnerable people.

“So, I wanted to create a book which was to inform rather than alarm and make it fun and visually appealing, rather than the big scary things all over the news.”

Titled The Spotty Socked Lops, the book begins as Bes and Bean realise the world has come to a stop, so they set out on a mission to uncover why.

The bunnies visit different landmarks in Newcastle, including the foreshore and Newcastle Beach.

Only these popular spots seem a little unusual – they no longer house large crowds, with not even a single soul to be found.

By the end of the book, the ‘splendid team’ realise it would have been safer to stay at home and they call on readers to help make a positive impact during a year that has been a “wrecking ball of fear”.

Blackburn said she was very proud of the book.

“All up it took about seven weeks to write the book and illustrate it,” she said.

“It was for my end of year assignment, and [at the time] writing a book, especially a rhyming book, seemed impossible to me but it just all came [together] when I was in the kitchen.”

She added that there were more stories to come.

“The next one I am working on is Bessie and Bean meet the Queen – I’m from England originally and my family would like to be included in a book,” she said.

Apart from children’s books, Blackburn has also been working hard to create The Spotty Socked Lops merchandise, including socks, kids pyjamas and t-shirts that feature the one-line illustration of Newcastle that appears on the cover of the book.

She is hopeful people will follow along and join their splendid team.

For more information, or to buy the book, go to the Spotty Socked Lops website.