Tales of Cameron
Robyn Murray Hirst isn't afraid of a challenge.
The ink was barely dry on her first children's book Roger the Rooster at Ambury Park Farm when she accepted her next task - to write another one for launch at Ambury Regional Park's annual Farm Day in October.
That meant putting pen to paper in a hurry but the Mangere resident was undaunted.
"From start to finish, when I got the first consignment of books, was two months," she says.
Her second book also explores the council-controlled Mangere farm and its colourful characters.
The Spirit of Cameron at Ambury Park Farm honours the memory of Cameron the Clydesdale who died in 2009 aged 24.
The gentle giant was loved by countless visitors and Ms Murray Hirst has often been asked when he would feature in a book.
"What impressed me was, even after this length of time, children as well as adults remember him fondly," she says.
"I think he was a special animal to be still in people's hearts and I thought, well, he deserves to have a little story written about him," she says.
The spirit of Cameron joins Roger and other farm favourites to organise a special surprise for their human "friends who wear gumboots".
Many farm volunteers and Mangere residents make an appearance within its pages, captured by Italian illustrator Salvatore Losacco.
Roger has sold more than 700 copies since its launch in June but Ms Murray Hirst says the most rewarding outcome has been the positive responses from people in the community.
Her readings at schools and early childhood centres are warmly received and she's often recognised as "the rooster lady".
"I know I can write a good story because I've done it all my life but to have feedback from people who buy the book is just lovely."
Both The Spirit of Cameron at Ambury Park Farm and Roger the Rooster at Ambury Park Farm by Robyn P Murray retail for $25.
The books are available at Mangere Bridge Stationers, from the Sunday boutique market in Mangere Bridge Village or Ms Murray Hirst at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Manukau Courier
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