Children's book wins big

Jennifer Somervell (left), her sister Margery Fern (right) and Margery's daughter Ezra Andre. Photo: Supplied
Jennifer Somervell (left), her sister Margery Fern (right) and Margery's daughter Ezra Andre. Photo: Supplied
A children's book by a North Canterbury author has been a winner far beyond its target audience.

The quirky farm tale, Uncle Allan's Stinky Leg, has taken two first places in the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards for excellence in children's literature.

It is the fifth title written by Jennifer Somervell, of Oxford, co-authored with her sister Margery Fern and designed by Margery's daughter Ezra Andre, to have won first place at the awards.

It took the top prize in the humour section and for interior design.

It also received honourable mentions in the best illustrations, best cover design and historical fiction categories.

The story follows the mis-adventures of a loveable uncle who brought his plaster-clad leg to the family farm in the 1970s.

Ms Somervell said she was delighted to score a first place for humour because she saw the humour working with primary school children on a recent author excursion north.

''Uncle Allan is a character. Think Wal Footrot! The children suss him out really quickly.

''They predict he's going to do something stupid with his plaster cast. They start laughing even before I turn the page. And then he does - it cracks them up!''

Teachers were also impressed with the information in the back of the book on bones, fractures and plaster casts, she said.

All the stories were based on the sisters' stranger-than-fiction adventures on the family dairy farm in the 1970s.

Their other titles are The Day Dad Blew Up The Cowshed, The New Old Truck, The Eel Hunt and A Very Greedy Tale.

The trio are now working on their sixth book, about the further adventures of the family's 1921 Republic truck.

Their books are available at bookstores and online at talesfromthefarm.co.nz.

-By Robyn Bristow

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