Jack and Friends

'An Illustrated Children's Storybook'

Jack is a trolley jack - nothing unusual about that. Every garage has one or more trolley jacks. They're used to lift vehicles when a mechanic needs to work underneath them, or change a wheel.

But Jack is a trolley jack with attitude. He works at Bill Green's Garage Services, and apart from assisting Bill with all the lifting jobs, he's also a well liked member of the local community - a gregarious and helpful individual who frequently steals the show with his heroic feats. It's all about Jack's ability to lift heavy loads.

Working at the garage also is Stocky, another trolley jack. But Stocky lives up to his name - a real bruiser who can lift extremely large, heavy lorries. Then there's Phil, a petrol pump, and Amy, another pump who dispenses diesel fuel.

Jack and Friends is a simple, back-to-basics illustrated storybook with narrative pitched for both parental delivery to the younger audience, and unaided reading by the more accomplished child. Storylines are highly innovative and take the reader on an entertaining journey through Jack's day-to-day escapades.

Importantly, Jack is portrayed as a  good role model, and this is reinforced with positive lifestyle messages embedded in the storylines: 'Reading can be fun - Fire can kill - Take care when skate-boarding - Cycle safely on main roads'. And the reader is encouraged to think: How will Jack come to the rescue? - How will Jack tackle this problem?

Full colour pen and ink artwork was chosen for the illustrations, as although computer graphics can render bright colourful detail, pictures produced by hand inherit the soul and feeling of the artist, and capture delicate nuances. My chosen artist was the Talented Shirley Chiang, whose stylistics adapted well to my requirements, and who was quick to synch with Jack's mentality and bring to life my pencil sketches. If you'd like to find out more about Shirley and her work, please click this link: Shirley's Illustrations.

Jack and Friends is aimed broadly at five to nine year olds. Book 2 of this series is already on the stocks, and there are plans to add further books.

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