Shropshire Farmer Peter Russell Peake has created a series of children's books based on the capers and calamities of his 40-year career running the family farm at Halfway House.
When you've spent 40 years farming the land in Shropshire, you're bound to have some tales to tell!
Peter Russell Peake has turned his memories of a whole cast of animals and farm vehicles into a series of brightly illustrated children's stories - including the 'Farmer James' series and 'Robbie the Farm Ranger' series, aimed at children up to aged eight. He has also created storybooks and alphabet and counting books for younger children, plus three Christmas stories.
Peter's 'Marche Tales' are currently on sale at The Raven Bookshop in Shrewsbury's Market Hall - and the tractor books are proving a popular buy for Christmas, especially with little boys who love tractors, but aren't such big fans of reading!
You'll also find Peter as the Shropshire Festive Gift Market at St Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury, on December 10 and 11.
His books are designed to be fun, easy to read and to help spark a love of turning the pages. Peter farmed for 40 years, including 30 years running the family farm at Halfway House, near Shrewsbury, where he still lives - once the UK's largest free-range egg producer, delivering to major cities and even to Harrods!
He's also farmed pigs and grown crops - so he has plenty of stories about the capers and calamities down on the farm.
Look out for characters inspired by Peter's favourite animals, such as Wellington the pig and Defa the sheepdog. And then there's 'Fergie', which is based on Peter’s 1958 red Massey Ferguson tractor that he still drives today. The stories are brought to life with beautiful, colourful illustrations by children's book illustrators Jeremy Pyke and Kirsteen Harris-Jones, also based in Shropshire.
Having struggled with dyslexia at school, Peter is amazed to find himself the author of a whole series of books! In his day, he says, dyslexia wasn't recognised or treated but since finding a love of writing later in life, he hasn't stopped: "Because of my own childhood experience I wanted to write books that would help children discover their love of reading. Boys love tractors and one way of engaging them has been through creating characters based on tractors and other larger than life farm vehicles,” he said.
The books have been published by Marche Tales and are available from the website marchetales.co.uk or from shops and Christmas fairs in Shropshire and Mid Wales.
Other current stockists include Pengwern Books, Number 61, The Raven Bookshop (Shrewsbury Market Hall), Battlefield 1403 Farm Shop and Churncote Farm Shop, all in Shrewsbury; Connexions, Pontesbury; Halfway House Stores, Halfway House; Derwen Garden Centre, Welshpool, and Charlie’s Country Store, Coed-y-Dinas, Welshpool.