Children’s book aims to help youngsters explore history of Sheffield through use of real life trail through the city

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A children’s book which aims to teach youngsters about the history of Sheffield through the use of a real life trail in and around Endcliffe Park has been launched.

The book, which is the first in a series of tales, begins in Endcliffe Park and follows the adventures of the ‘Little Urban Fox’, inviting children to go on a journey with him as he leaves his brothers on a quest to find his mother who has not returned from a night-time hunt.

Isla Hill (6) listens as Helen Stokes (left) and Kathryn Herold read The Little Urban Fox at Waterthorpe Nursery Infant School

Isla Hill (6) listens as Helen Stokes (left) and Kathryn Herold read The Little Urban Fox at Waterthorpe Nursery Infant School

Along his journey Little Fox meets a number of different animal friends, who teach him about key parts of Sheffield history with everything from Queen Victoria's visit for her diamond jubilee to the Mi Amigo crash and the city’s industrial past. 

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In a bid to get more children outside exploring, it encourages youngsters to follow his adventures and features a map to help them engage with their environment, learn more about the place they live whilst teaching them morals such as crossing the road.

‘The Little Urban Fox explores Endcliffe Park’ is the brainchild of Helen Stokes, headteacher of Waterthorpe Nursery Infant School, and her sister Kathryn Herold, an interior designer, who joined forces after gaining inspiration from their surroundings.

Isla Hill (6) listens as Helen Stokes reads The Little Urban Fox at Waterthorpe Nursery Infant School. Picture Scott Merrylees

Isla Hill (6) listens as Helen Stokes reads The Little Urban Fox at Waterthorpe Nursery Infant School. Picture Scott Merrylees

“The story is inspired by three little fox cubs who regularly play in my garden and the foxes seen on the walls around Sheffield," Helen said.

“We both grew up near Endcliffe Park and feel very privileged to have lived in Sheffield. Sheffield is such an amazing city and today, more than ever, there are so many opportunities for children to have hours of fun without travelling far from home.

“Our vision is for all children to have a love of books and stories. For all children to spend hours outside, exploring their surroundings, developing their general knowledge and growing up to be fit and healthy.”

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Helen explained the pair started the book last August, and visited the numerous places mentioned to take pictures as inspiration for the illustrations which were then created by Kathryn. 

Kathryn, who also sells cards and prints that feature animals, said: “It is a great way for children to learn it is like a treasure hunt and there are hidden animals inside the book they can find.”

Helen added: “Being a headteacher I know children love being outside and it is a great way to get the whole family doing things together.”

‘The Little Urban Fox explores Endcliffe Park’, which has been published by Arc Publishing and Print, has been shared with a number of children through a range of assemblies, who have all given it a positive review.

And the sister duo already have plans for next book in the series which they hope to finish by the Summer.

The next book will follow the story of ‘Stumpy’, based on another of the three fox cubs that visits Helen's garden who received his nickname as he has no tail. 

As such, they have launched a competition for Sheffield schoolchildren which calls on them to think of an idea of how he came to lose his tail. 

The best story will then feature in the book alongside an illustration of the winner.

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Competition entries can be made via the website with all entries needed by May 10. 

‘The Little Urban Fox explores Endcliffe Park’ can be purchased from shops such as Gifted, Ecclesall Road South and Rhyme and Reason, Ecclesall Road.

For more information or to purchase the book online visit www.littleurbanfoxandfriends.co.uk