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Teacher with a tale or two to tell the kids as Inverness author and football coach gets two books published – Cock-A Doodle Don’t You Dare! and The Silent Words of Yackety Mack


By Ian Duncan

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Teacher and author Ian McArthur with one of his children’s books. Picture: Callum Mackay
Teacher and author Ian McArthur with one of his children’s books. Picture: Callum Mackay

An Inverness teacher and football coach has now also become a children’s author, with two books published.

Ian McArthur, who lives in Broom Drive and is a supply teacher at Drakies Primary School, has had the books – Cock-A Doodle Don’t You Dare! and The Silent Words of Yackety Mack – accepted by an American-based publisher.

The first features a sad rooster whose self-esteem has taken a hit and the second features a yak who finds it hard to fit in with his herd because he cannot speak or hear.

Mr McArthur said he originally sent his story to a Scottish-based publisher and they were interested but he was not keen on the work of the suggested illustrator.

He said: “They had someone in mind to do them but I wasn’t too keen on them. I knew exactly what kind of images would marry well with the story and the publisher had other ideas.

“I realised that if I was serious about getting any children’s book published, the illustrations that accompanied my words would have to be first class.”

He has since signed up with publisher Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream (PDIC), and teamed up with an illustrator based in Mexico called Eduardo Paj after seeing one of his book covers.

“I started communicating with him via email,” he said. “He loved the story and I managed to convince him that it would be a worthwhile project. He’s great to work with and we are constantly throwing ideas back and fore.”

Mr McArthur, who also runs The Other Foot Soccer School, said he had been hopeful of getting his work published but had not expected it to happen so soon.

He said he decided to approach PDIC because he loved other books they had published with important life lessons for young readers. He added: “I felt that Cock-A Doodle Don’t You Dare! was a good fit for them and that proved to be the case. The fact that their address in San Diego is Inverness Drive East felt almost like an omen.”

Mr McArthur said he is already working on a third book, about a goose who is afraid of flying too high, and added: “It highlights the values of Drakies Primary School, the school where I do supply teaching. So respect, kindness, safety, determination, inclusion and teamwork come to the fore.

“The response to the books has been fantastic and feedback has been very positive. Sales are very good and both books, having initially been printed in paperback, are now available as hardback via the Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream website.”

The books are aimed at five to eight year olds and are written in rhyme.

Mr McArthur said: “My own children, Lewis and Struan, who are now in their twenties, loved being read to at bed time. They enjoyed rhyme and I guess I enjoyed reading in rhyme. You could be silly with it.

“Like me, my sons are animal lovers and they enjoyed hearing stories featuring animals, so it’s no real surprise that my stories feature animals also.”

He said he occasionally tried out story ideas by reading them to pupils because they were guaranteed to give honest feedback.

He added: “I take on board their thoughts and thank them for their comments.

“They are genuinely interested in the publishing part of it and enjoy their opportunity to assess the work and feedback on it.

“You’re never too young to become a book critic.

“I always tell them that if an old codger like me can get a story published then so can they.”

• For more information on both Mr McArthur’s books visit here.


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