‘They were flying their kite, loop-the-loop up high,

When something emerald flickered by…’

Parrots Don’t Live in the City! is the first in a series of children’s storybooks from local writer and illustrator duo, Lucy Reynolds and Jenna Herman. Perfect for two to six year olds, it leads little readers into a world of hidden birds and mini-beasts in search of one very special creature…

The book was inspired by the bolshy, brilliant parakeets that are now spotted across the country, and who provide a regular flash of emerald in the skies above Brockwell Park. As Lucy, of Herne Hill, reflects, ‘These vivid green birds always fascinate little children – where did they come from? How did they get here? Why did they stay? The first time I spotted one in Brockwell Park I was amazed, but my husband wouldn’t believe me. Then a few days later I found an incredible green feather hiding amongst the leaves, and the seed for the story was sown’.

As well as inspiring parrot spotters, the book’s lovely hide-and-seek design encourages little readers to stop and notice nature all around them – in local nooks and crannies, in the park, on the pavement, in back gardens. And to appreciate how much nature surrounds us, even if we live in the depths of a big city.

Lucy’s poems have been illustrated by her good friend, Jenna, who also lived in Herne Hill until recently. With a background in fine art, this is Jenna’s first foray into picture book illustration, and has provided an exciting opportunity for the pair to develop their styles together. As Jenna reflects, ‘We’re both new mums and are always enthralled by how inquisitive our sons become when we’re out and about in the natural environment. To them every outing is an adventure, a discovery, pure joy – and that’s what we wanted to capture in Parrots Don’t Live in the City!. We’re very excited to have a finished book in our hands after two years of hard work, and hope it’s the perfect story for little nature lovers and intrepid explorers alike’.

To publish the book, the duo set up their own companyDoodles & Scribbles.  Since their launch in July this year, they have been bowled over by the reception they’ve received.  The book has been flying off the shelves, through their online shop and with repeat orders coming in from some of the best independent bookshops and toyshops around, including Tales on Moon Lane, Village Books, Herne Hill Books, Just Williams and Kinder Lala. And now Doodles & Scribbles have a distributor they’re getting into more and more bookstores each week.  The pair have a very busy few months ahead with workshops at lots of family-friendly locations, a charity event with Barnardos, working on a second book, and developing a line of beautiful prints and bespoke gifts for Christmas.

As Lucy comments, ‘It’s been quite an incredible few weeks! We’re running to keep up – literally running to the post office a few times a day, as well as fielding a constant flow of order enquiries, trade enquiries and press and media leads. With two tiny boys to look after, we’re doing most of this work around their nap times or on the night shift. It’s been really exciting and we’re both feeling very relieved and proud. This is our first book, so having taught ourselves everything from scratch, we’re over the moon that the book is selling well and getting a big thumbs up from little readers’.

To accompany the book, Jenna and Lucy have also teamed up with fellow Herne Hillian, Kimberly Mears of Bumble Box to create a beautiful family activity box that’s packed full of fun ways for families to get to know their birdy neighbours – parroty and otherwise. The book and the activity box are both available online at doodlesandscribbles.co.uk.

Jenna, Lucy and Kimberly will be celebrating the launch of Parrots Don’t Live in the City! at Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses on Wednesday 30th August. They are running two ‘reading and activity’ sessions, one at 10.30am and one at 2pm. After an interactive book reading and signing, we’ll be gathering wild flower seeds, creating parrot collages, and searching for birds in the trees. To find out more and register your place click here or here and we’ll look forward to creating some perfectly parroty memories together!