A New Children’s Book by a North East Family Brings the Alphabet To Life | Living North

A New Children’s Book by a North East Family Brings the Alphabet To Life

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Here Come The Dooblies
Here Come The Dooblies is an illustrated story perfect for little ones. Author Chris Lines tells us how his whole family played a part in creating it

Here Come The Dooblies started life as a random comment made by a toddler, and has now grown into a successful children’s book, introducing kids to the A–Z world of the Alphazooblies, inviting them into the land of Cupboard and an adventure featuring the Dooblies... let us explain.

The book has been written by the five members of the Lines family, from Sedgefield, and they’re hoping that it will encourage other young children to learn more about letters and words.

The idea for Here Come The Dooblies was formed in early in 2010 when, with no context, three-year-old Charlie Lines said: ‘The Dooblies are playing with the blueberries.’ His dad, Chris, developed that odd phrase into a story and Charlie’s brother Ciaran drew scenes to accompany it. Mum Catherine suggested tweaks to the story and came up with some of the Alphazoobly names and characteristics, while Samuel, who was born two years after the story was, was the perfect age to test the book.

‘We tested bits and bobs on him and he came up with ideas,’ Chris says. ‘It really engaged him in the project and it did get him even more interested in words and letters – we thought “actually, this works”. He played a very important role as a tester and I’ve actually still got the original drawings somewhere,’ Chris says. 

All of their hard work sat in a drawer for nearly nine years, until the family met local artist Kev Stevens, of The Art Room North East, at a book fair in Sedgefield. An experienced illustrator of children’s books, Kev took Ciaran’s original artwork and developed it for publication.

Here Come the Dooblies is set in Cupboard – a world that is populated by characters called Alphazooblies, based on the letters of the alphabet. The story introduces readers to the Dooblies, along with the ‘horrible’ Hooblies and various other Alphazooblies, who star in an illustrated adventure in rhyme. Alliteration helps both entertain and educate children aged from around four to learn more about (and enjoy) letters and words. 

‘We’ve printed a quantity and, while we’ve tested it on Sam, we’ve also sent a proof to nieces and nephews and close friends and they loved it,’ Chris continues. ‘That’s the most rewarding thing: when young people give us that feedback. All of these people have been friends or relatives so we’re really keen to get feedback from other young people. We love the story and people seem to love it – so that’s the most rewarding thing.

‘I think the proof of the pudding is in when people read it. When we have the chance, what we’d love to do, as you do with a lot of children’s books, is to present workshops – giving children the challenge to come up with their own way to describe a character and have fun. Of course we can’t do that at the moment but, in time, we hope to be able to do that in libraries and schools to give young people the opportunity to develop their own stories about the characters.

‘We’ve already got ideas in development for future Alphazoobly books and of course there’s plenty of scope with 26 core characters in Cupboard. On the website, each of the Alphazooblies have a little biography and it’s possible to put a story around each character from that for stories galore. We don’t want to run before we can walk, so at the moment the challenge is to get the word out about this book so that we can publish another in the future – but we’re excited about the response so far.’

As keen supporters of libraries, the Lines family marked the publication of the book by visiting Sedgefield Library and donating some copies to be lent to readers in the local community.

Here Come the Dooblies is available to buy for £4.99 online or by emailing info@thedooblies.com
You can follow the adventures of the Dooblies and fellow Alphazooblies on social media by finding @TheDooblies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Published in: October 2020

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