Felix The Fast Tractor
Every once in a while a children's book character comes along that really captures the imagination of its audience, garnering a legion of loyal fans eager for the next instalment of their particular hero's adventure.
We all know, by first name, a postman and his black and white cat (Pat, oh and Jess, of course), an explorer and her best friend Boots the monkey (Dora, who else?), a builder and his team of mechanical chums (Bob, how could you forget?) and the fireman from the Welsh Valleys with the bright, clean engine (could only be, Sam). But how familiar are you with a kind, friendly, super clever, shiny blue tractor from Ambers Farm? His name is FELIX THE FAST TRACTOR and he is set to become part of the vernacular of every 'tweenie' this summer.
Felix lives with the Story family near the village of Glempsea where he plays a vital role in the running of this busy working farm along with a host of farmyard friends including the farm dog Ben, Colin the Combine Harvester and Daisy the Digger. His adventures centre on everyday farming events - covering many aspects of British agricultural living; from the building of a new barn, to the harvesting of wheat, dealing with the temperamental weather, and helping the Story family find their beloved missing dog.
These delightful tales of rural life are the work of mum-of-two, Catherine Cannon. Having written and self published the first three Felix the Fast Tractor titles to satisfy her son's farming curiosity and particularly his interest in tractors Catherine explains the need for characters such as Felix, 'As with most four-year-olds my son was incredibly inquisitive, barraging me with 'whys? wheres? and what fors?' each time we'd sit down to read together. I found the books aimed at his age group were very much plot-based and there was no offering when it came to the finer details, such as 'how does a tractor work, mummy?' or 'where does the rain come from?' he still wanted the fun aspect of reading a book but more often than not he wanted more from story time and so Felix was born.'
More factually accurate than other titles of this genre, helpful 'want to know more?' sections appear every couple of pages, while featuring colourful characters, appealing storylines and delightful illustrations, perfect for this age group, it is little wonder that FELIX THE FAST TRACTOR is already a huge success in Catherine's home county of Cumbria. In Felix the Fast Tractor and the New Building we are introduced to our hard-working hero and see him surprised with a new home as his friends on the farm build him a new barn. Readers find out about low-loaders, diggers, preparing a site for a new building, the laying of foundations and, of course, the workings of Felix himself!
So if you hear anyone aged two or above chatting about 'Felix', you'll know exactly what they mean.
Read below what Dave the Dad said about reading Felix The Fast Tractor with his young son.
Felix the Fast Tractor and the New Building
This had a head start as Tom (aged 20 months) has recently become fascinated with tractors, diggers and anything remotely farm related. However, Felix does seem to be aimed at a slightly older audience: roof trusses and the correct mixture for cement is a little beyond his grasp. Nonetheless he did show interest in the drawings which excel in detail at times. However we felt that the basic weakness lay with the story. This is in fact a little too ordinary, a touch too fact-based for a talking tractor. The possibilities for more adventures a la Bob the Builder are there but this particular tale featured no real chemistry between the various anthropomorphic vehicles and a dearth of wackiness. There is a market for realism and a market for wild imagination; this book tries to tread a fine line between the two and unfortunately merely fails to satisfy either audience. The character and setting base is good but so much more could have been done with this.
About the Author of Felix the Fast Tractor - Catherine Cannon
Encouraged by friends and family Catherine set up an independent press, Red Wellies Publishing, to publish stories featuring her children's favourite character, Felix the Fast Tractor. Set against the enviable Cumbrian landscape the first three titles have been heralded locally and now Catherine hopes to use her marketing background to take the hardworking hero nationwide. Catherine's fresh direction in storytelling sits well alongside the traditional illustrations of Jean Murphy and June Allan creating an appealing agricultural star in Felix with a distinctly educational angle.
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