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Song turned into picture book

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By Fiona Reid
Song turned into picture book

A FAVOURITE Scottish children’s song has been turned into a fun picture book by a Dumfries and Galloway publisher.

The Wee Kirkcudbright Centipede was written by Glasgow born singer songwriter Matt McGinn and has remained a popular singalong song in folk clubs for more than 50 years. It also featured in the repertoire of the children’s entertainers, The Singing Kettle

And now Foggie Toddle Books has released it as a book.

Shonagh McGinn, daughter of the late Matt McGinn, said: “The Wee Kirkcudbright Centipede is a favourite song with Scottish schoolchildren and it is sung in classrooms, acted out at school concerts, and the lyrics and the images it conjures up are used to decorate the walls of many Scottish schools.

“This much-loved song is also a family favourite so we are delighted to see that Foggie Toddle Books have published this lovely book which has been illustrated by Fran Raw, so children all over the world can be reminded to ‘never try an explanation of what comes naturally’.”

The song tells of a centipede who is a beautiful dancer, and she performs every morning to entertain her neighbours but one of them is jealous. Jenny Long Legs cannot work out how to do the dance and when she asks the Wee Kirkcudbright Centipede to explain, it all goes horribly wrong.

Publisher Jayne Baldwin said: “It’s such a privilege to have been given permission to turn this wonderful song into a book. The project started during the first lockdown when I managed to contact the family with the idea. But then I had the problem of finding the right illustrator as I wanted the centipede to be appealing to children, but I didn’t want the pictures to be in a cartoon style.

“I love the work of Fran Raw and went to talk to her about the problem I was having getting the style right. When she described how she thought the centipede should look I knew we were on the same page, and I commissioned her to do the illustrations.”

Fran added: “It was incredibly exciting to take on the challenge of my first children’s book, carving all those wee wiggly legs and deciding which little creatures would join the Kirkcudbright Centipede in this adventure.”

The Wee Kirkcudbright Centipede is available from independent bookshops and retailers or direct from the publisher.

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