Children and parents praise Fifer's new inclusive environmental illustrated verse book in Scots

Scots children and parents are praising the first illustrated verse book in Scots in a new inclusive environmental Scottish fable world for young children relevant to today’s culture created by a pair of creative Scots with Fife links.
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McShoogle And The Woogles – in - Save the Haggis!is the firstpart of Woogles World, created by Dunfermline-based Ian Hammond Brown, which aims to build confidence in, encourage, educate and entertain 4-to-8-year-olds while being inclusive and non-judgemental. It includes themes of environmental sustainability and non-judgemental inclusivity to reflect parents’ concerns and educate its young audience.

The commercial goal is to develop the world into a multi-platform franchise with musicals, animations, songs, character figures and become a brand children can grow with, parents trust and create stories to pass on to the next generation.

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It is being launched across Scotland on Burns Day with illustrated verse book McShoogle An’ The Woogles - Save the Haggis! illustrated by Edinburgh marketing creative Julie Diver going on sale then. In it, readers meet the Woogles – an ancient clan of creatures who protect the glens and their animals, live in family units accepting each other as they are.

Woogles creators Ian Hammond Brown and Julie Diver with first copies of the book at a reading (Pic: Ross Nixon Photography)Woogles creators Ian Hammond Brown and Julie Diver with first copies of the book at a reading (Pic: Ross Nixon Photography)
Woogles creators Ian Hammond Brown and Julie Diver with first copies of the book at a reading (Pic: Ross Nixon Photography)

They’re vegetarians and make their extensive, luxurious burrows deep under the heather, which they furnish with ingenious inventions made from things they’ve found. Woogles love singing, music, parties, dancing and helping their friends and nature. They communicate over long distances by singing in their language - a very sing-song version of Scots. At the end of each story, they sing a song.

The central character of the first book is McShoogle, the leader of a gang of young Pentland Woogles, who seeks hero status so sets out to save the haggis from Burns Night with an ingenious plan and help from his gang.

Ian and Julie did a local launch of the book at three events in Dunfermline in recent weeks, where it received a great welcome from children and adults alike. The first print run of 250 copies subsequently sold out. The book can be bought from its website, Waterstones, Amazon and any good bookshop.

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The book comes with resources for teachers to use alongside the book written by primary teacher Lauren Honey, of Deerpark School, Sauchie, and includes a QR code on the back which takes readers and teachers to the website for more information.

Ian was inspired to write the story when the memory of a wooden Highlander figurine gift given to him on holiday in Tomintoul when he was 10 came to him while searching for a new universal story to tell during the first Covid lockdown. He also submitted the idea for a musicals contest and the concept reached the final 10. Encouraged by this he and Julie were inspired to develop it as a multiplatform franchise. The book will also be available as an audio book with music on Audible.

Ian has been writing musicals for more than 20 years. Whisky Galore A Musical, co-written with Shona McKee McNeil, enjoyed critical and box office success at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2006 and was the first full-scale musical and bestselling show at Pitlochry Festival Theatre. It was also nominated for two Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland in 2010.

Ian went on to create the musical Carnegie - The Star-Spangled Scotchman, which won a development grant from Creative Scotland in 2013 and has since enjoyed a successful run at the 2016 Fringe, as well as performances at Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline and on video via the Fringe Player in 2021.

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Julie Diver is an Edinburgh designer and illustrator. In her youth, Julie was honoured in a competition to design the new logo for Fife Council. She later went on to set up creative agency 39steps in 2003 and heads its team. Julie is also part of Edinburgh-based charity Kids Love Clothes - which helps struggling families across the Lothians. Ian and Julie have appeared at events at Waterstones in Dunfermline this week and a second print run is now in stock.

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