A little knitted bear called Barnaby Joe has inspired an Ōrewa writer to publish a children’s book about his adventures during the time of Covid-19.
Barbara Algie’s Barnaby Joe the Magic Bear will also raise funds for Yarnteeze, a charity knitting group that created the character in the first place.
Barbara, who lives at the Evelyn Page retirement village in Ōrewa, joins the knitting group at its weekly sessions at The Coffee Club as they knit clothing, blankets and soft toys for women and children in need.
“I just come down and sit with them and greatly admire how they knit for charity,” she says. “It’s beautiful stuff and they donate it all, and buy all their own wool.”
When one member created a little knitted teddy in red trousers and a yellow top, Barbara, who has published several books of humorous, serious and children’s poetry, was inspired to write and help the group.
“Frances knitted Barnaby Joe and I thought he’s such a feisty little fellow, I’ll bring him to life.”
Using the inspiration of the many teddies placed in windows and gardens during the first lockdown a year ago, Barbara has Barnaby Joe bringing love and joy to those who have no one to cuddle them during Covid-19.The book was illustrated by aspiring children’s illustrator Brad Johnson, who also works in the wine department at New World, and launched at a special party at The Coffee Club last month.
Barbara is donating $5 from the sale of every book to Yarnteeze to buy more wool, and the knitting club is selling Barnaby Joe teddies for $10.
Before moving to Ōrewa, Barbara lived in Milford for 60 years, was a keen golfer and table tennis player and was awarded an MBE for her service as PA to the British Consul-General for 40 years.
Some of her other books include Raunchy Rhymes & Quotable Quotes, Ibbity Bibbity Bob and Zino, The Cat Who Thought He Was Somebody Else.
To buy a Barnaby Joe book or bear, contact Barbara on 427 4172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org