Kids’ book ex­pands

Manawatu Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - By MERANIA KARAURIA

David Clegg says The Ants, Mayor Grant, Sir Pa­trick and the old tar lay­ing ma­chine “poured out of him over 11 months”.

He wrote the chil­dren’s book for his grand­son El­liot, who lives in Colom­bia.

There’s a photo of El­liot on page two with a fore­word where David hopes that when he is old enough, the story will stim­u­late an in­ter­est in Palmer­ston North.

Once it was fin­ished, David was go­ing to post the book to El­liot.

How­ever, his wife Di sug­gested he “do some­thing with it be­cause it was good enough”.

The next chal­lenge was il­lus­tra­tions for the book.

The per­fect il­lus­tra­tor was Palmer­ston North-based French artist Em­i­lie Geant, whose whim­si­cal style lent it­self to the quirky story about ants that had set­tled through­out the city.

“The pic­tures are ex­cit­ing. She has done a won­der­ful job,” said David. Em­i­lie put 12 months work into six months to get the book fin­ished in time for the launch at the Globe last week.

The chap­ter head­ings are in te reo Ma¯ ori and English, and the rhyme and verse flows as it tells the story of how the Palmer­ston North com­mu­nity were in de­spair with “ants in their ta­pas and ant smell fills the air”.

Busi­nesses were in “to­tal dis­ar­ray” and Sergeant Tokari said he “must stress

. . . be­cause our sta­tion has be­come a huge un­ruly mess”.

Com­peti­tors and ri­vals had lit­tle choice but to work to­gether and speak with one voice, the book says.

Mrs Frances cried there were “ants in our bread, we have ants in our stew . . . then it fell to Mayor Grant, they all wanted to know what he was go­ing to do”.

The story in­tro­duces many lo­cal iden­ti­ties who came out to watch as the ants were led to­ward the Manawatu¯ Gorge by Sir Pa­trick Hig­gins.

Copies of the book are $25 each at Bruce McKen­zie Book­sell­ers and Pa­per Plus.

PHOTO / MERANIA KARAURIA

David Clegg with his chil­dren’s book The Ants, Mayor Grant, Sir Pa­trick and the old tar lay­ing ma­chine.

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