AN Islandmagee couple have just launched a new children's book series and website about an unlikely medical emergency superhero and friends, collectively known as Team Fergus. And they're keen to point to the
inspiration for the title of the first book.
The Secret Stone of Stepminder introduces Fergus, a talented first-aider who just happens to be a goose, along with his madcap support team – an epileptic ex-doctor, a diabetic secret agent, and a one-eared dog who’s not quite as innocent as he seems.
Paramedic Brendan Magill and his wife Ann, a community nurse, have been developing the characters for almost a year.
Brendan explained: “Readers will recognise the team’s base as Carrickfergus Castle, but we knew from the outset that we’d need something very special as a launch pad for Fergus, whose wings no longer have the power to get him airborne.”
And whilst, for purely commercial reasons, the book describes the stone as having been taken from the Giant’s Causeway, the inspiration came from the famous Rocking Stone out at Skernoghan Point, Browns Bay.
“It had to be big – too big to be moved easily – and it needed an element of both magic and colour. And anyone who’s read ‘The History of Islandmagee’ will know the Rocking Stone has all that and more, Brendan added.
Published by Stepminders, the book has been written by Brendan and wonderfully illustrated by Lisburn paramedic Gerald W. Law. It has a reading level of seven to nine years and has been produced with the help of teachers from three Carrickfergus primary schools. The characters, however, will appeal to children much younger as well.
At the book launch in Carrickfergus Castle, Joanne Magee of Castle Web Solutions – the Team Fergus website designers – presented books to competition winners from those schools.
Stephanie Leckey of The British Heart Foundation (Northern Ireland), who are also excited by this novel approach to getting the important first aid message across to children says: “Team Fergus is an excellent depiction of real-life emergencies using exciting characters that children can relate to. We’ve been so impressed by the stories and their illustrations, that we are now involved with Stepminders in the production of a book specifically for the British Heart Foundation’s Heartstart UK Schools Inclusive Programme.”
The book is only available from the website: www.teamfergus.com priced at 4.99 to include postage and packaging.