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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Carlisle mums launch children's book

Meet Cycle Sid. He lives in a town called Ridley Bottom and has his sights set on becoming a big star.

Cycle sid photo
Tracey Bigrigg, left, and Liz Sanderson

The children’s character has come to life as the first in a series of new books – created by two Carlisle mums – is launched.

He and his friends, who include BMX Becky and Skateboard Sam, are already proving a big hit among children in Cumbria. And they are about to become familiar faces further afield after their creators clinched a major distribution deal.

Liz Sanderson and Tracey Bigrigg are the characters’ creators and are excited to have them published.

In fact, they’re so enthused by its launch that they’re touring schools, dressed as two of their own creations – Lillipop Les and Sweetshop Sil.

Cycle Sid and the Green Pants Joke has just been released, but is already courting some important attention.

Gardeners, the UK’s biggest book wholesalers, has already asked for copies while the pair will be holding a special signing session at Waterstones in Carlisle this month.

Tracey said: “The reaction has been really good. It’s just amazing.”

The pair, who met eight years ago when Tracey bought a house from Liz, came up with Cycle Sid and his friends as part of their children’s clothing business Skiddies4kiddies.

He started to feature on their clothing and the development of “the silly town of Ridley Bottom” came from there.

But their push to become published authors was given a real drive following a chance meeting with a woman who had connections in the world of children’s television.

Tracey, 41, of Southview Terrace, in the St Nicholas Bridge area, said: “Liz started telling her about some of the characters we’d created in this town. She said it sounded like it would be great for CBeebies.

“She advised us to start writing a book, so we did our first one. We sent it off and she loved it.

“She told us to write a second, so we have.”

The first in the series follows Cycle Sid on his mission to find his favourite green pants, which he’s lost.

He goes off to find his best friend, BMX Becky, all the while wondering whether it is her who has been fooling around and hiding his pants.

Carlisle-based illustrator Catriona Messenger has helped the writers put their characters on the page, based on Liz’s original drawings.

“We had a real laugh pulling it all together,” said Liz, 31, of Eden Street, Stanwix. “It was never really part of our plans to write a children’s book.”

The writers got an enthusiastic response when they took Cycle Sid to Kirkbride School, one of 12 school visits they have booked in.

“We think it’s a great book and we’re really proud of it,” added Tracey.

Cycle Sid’s been sent off to television producers to see what interest there might be.

Meantime, Tracey and Liz are looking forward to meeting some of their new fans at Waterstones on Saturday, May 24 at midday.

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