Mid-Sussex mum and son produce quirky book on insects

A quirky non-fiction children’s book on insects, with illustrations created by a former Ardingly schoolboy aged between three and 15, is now available on Amazon.

Monday, 25th January 2021, 2:00 pm
Greg Mandy
Greg Mandy

Mum Cheryl Robertson, who used to live in Ardingly, and her son Greg Mandy, who attended St Peter’s Primary School in Ardingly and Oathall Community College in Haywards Heath, have compiled the book Goggas: A Collection Of Captivating Creepy Crawlies.

Their aim is to encourage children to look out for and to acknowledge the vital roles the creatures play at the lower end of our food chain.

They are also keen to show how children’s art should be encouraged and taken seriously.

“Greg had a fascination for insects as he was growing up and he would search for, observe, sometimes capture and then draw them,” Cheryl says.

Cheryl kept many of his drawings, paintings and scribbles that he created over the years then wrote fun, sometimes gruesome, rhymes about some of them.

She carried out a lot of research and added fact boxes about each bug.

“The facts have been verified by entomologists and other wildlife professionals in the USA, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

“Subjects include the disease-spreading house fly, the pseudo-humble praying mantis, the malaria-carrying mosquito and a delicious worm served up as a canapé. Accompanying each poem is a text box with more detailed biological insights.

“Insects are so important to humans, as decomposers, soil aerators, sources of food and more.

“ They are the tiny forces working around the clock throughout the world to keep it ticking so the decline in their numbers is absolutely alarming.

“Also I could not imagine the state of our world particularly in our cattle pastures if dung beetles were not around to tidy it all up.

“Most of the insects written about are found globally while some special ones live only in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Their popular names as well biological classifications are provided so that wherever readers live in the world they can identify the bugs.”

The common names in the Zimbabwean languages of Shona and Ndebele are also given because Zimbabwe was where Cheryl was born and raised and first came across insects in their thousands.

“Goggas (pronounced khokhas) comes from the language of the Khoikhoi people, traditional herders who were among the first to settle in southern Africa.

“The term is widely used by many southern Africans today for anything that creeps and crawls.”

“This is an entertaining and informative read for children aged eight and up as well as adults.”

Though the family has now moved away, they retain strong links with the Mid Sussex area.

Cheryl added: “Greg lives with his wife in Towcester near Milton Keynes.

“And I live with my husband in Dubai. We still have our home in Ardingly, currently let.

“I usually go back to visit every year but alas, not in 2020!”

The book is available to buy from Amazon.