Robin Hood, who’s he? – Nottinghamshire children’s author launches book series featuring interactive technology

Adrian Sissons and Robin George

Inspired by a love of Rupert Bear annuals and Mr Benn cartoons, local children’s author Adrian Sissons launched his debut children’s book, Robin Hood, who’s he?, at Waterstones Nottingham on Friday.

Designed by local Robin George and illustrated by Martin Berry, the book is the first in a new series of rhyming children’s history books from Robin Hood’s Little Outlaws and follows seven animals as they wake a magical, 1000-year-old oak tree called Major. Stepping inside Major’s hollow trunk, the animals join hands and stand upon one of his glowing tree rings, to be magically transported back to the corresponding year (1,200 AD), to meet the legendary outlaw, Robin Hood.

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In addition to traditional, fun puzzles and a cut-out activity, the book includes interactive features utilising the free augmented reality app, LAYAR, where readers can scan the cover using a smartphone or tablet to see it come to life.

Adrian Sissons reads from his new children’s book

Children and members of the community gathered on the fourth floor of Waterstones Nottingham to listen to Adrian read from the charming new book and witness the illustrations come to life in an exclusive display of the book’s augmented reality technology.

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Adrian said: “I wanted to create a concept that would also help children relate to the passage of time and creating a character from the Major Oak does that perfectly by employing the universally understood mechanism of identifying a tree’s age from its rings. That way, Robin Hood’s Little Outlaws can jump to any point in history and tell stories with wildly different themes – all the while helping children understand how history has shaped the world around them.

“But for some children, simply picking up a book is the hardest barrier to overcome. Adding unique technology that children can interact with is in stark contrast to anything they’re likely to have seen before and will hopefully encourage even more children to pick up the book and start reading.”

After the reading and a short Q&A session, event attendees were treated to an exclusive sneak peek at the sequel – one of many planned to introduce children to famous people, key events and important inventions and discoveries from the last 1,000 years. The sequel, Evacuees, will take readers back to 1940 as it follows two siblings as they are evacuated from London to the Welsh countryside as part of Operation Pied Piper during The Blitz.

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Writing of the third story, Race to the Moon, is also underway and is scheduled for release in 2019 in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landings.