A 'tail' to tell: 14 year old Archie becomes main character of children's book

PUBLISHED: 06:55 01 May 2019

Jo Earlam with her new book based on her dog Archie. Ref shs 18 19TI 3476. Picture: Terry Ife

Jo Earlam with her new book based on her dog Archie. Ref shs 18 19TI 3476. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Sidmouth author is over the moon ahead of book launch.

Jo Earlam with her new book based on her dog Archie. Ref shs 18 19TI 3473. Picture: Terry IfeJo Earlam with her new book based on her dog Archie. Ref shs 18 19TI 3473. Picture: Terry Ife

A Sidmouth author has made her four legged friend the centre of her new book to mark 50 years since man landed on the moon.

Jo Earlam is ready to launch Archie, Space Dog! this weekend, basing the main character on her 14-year-old cairn-skye terrier.

The author worked with children from Newton Poppleford Primary School, where she is a volunteer, to bring the story to life.

During her research she found out that Laika, the first dog in space was sent aboard the Sputnik 2 on November 3 1957. By coincidence, Archie was born on the same day in 2004.

Jo Earlam with her new book based on her dog Archie. Ref shs 18 19TI 3478. Picture: Terry IfeJo Earlam with her new book based on her dog Archie. Ref shs 18 19TI 3478. Picture: Terry Ife

Jo said: “It was only when doing further research I realised that Archie had been born on the same day Laika was sent into orbit. Sadly, she died, but many of the other dogs did come back.

“Without the part played by these canine cosmonauts the moon landings would not have happened when they did.”

To mark the special occasion, the duo are preparing for lift off with a book launch on Saturday, May 4, to commemorate Star Wars Day. The launch will be held at Darts Farm between midday and 2pm to sign copies of the book.

The children's author said: “It's exciting to be so close to lift off. It seems incredible that it was only six months ago I finally wrote the story, which had been in my head for such a long time. I was only four at the time of the first moon landings, but I grew up knowing of the excitement that surrounded those early days of space travel.

Illustrations from Archie: Space Dog. Picture: Mark HannonIllustrations from Archie: Space Dog. Picture: Mark Hannon

“I wanted to capture the thrill of doing something amazing and out of this world. Archie's dream is a story anyone can relate to.

“I'm grateful to the many people who've helped me achieve this dream of my own.”

Jo has teamed up again with Plymouth based artist and graphic design Mark Hannon to illustrate the 800 word story.

Mark said: “It was great to get the opportunity to work together with Jo on another book. We seem to share appreciation of a child's world, and a common gentle sense of humour. I loved drawing a character out from Jo's charming, lyrical words, and creating illustrations for a book that flows dreamily through space and back again. It's a little book with a big heart. Hopefully, we've done Archie proud.”

Illustrations from Archie: Space Dog. Picture: Mark HannonIllustrations from Archie: Space Dog. Picture: Mark Hannon

Her first book Tuamor the Turtle was published in November 2015 to help youngsters understand the topic of marine plastic pollution.

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