Wheesht! – A New Scots Language Picture Book From Susi Briggs

Wheesht! When an old, abandoned dog was rescued from the street in Romania the charity workers had no idea she would soon be starring in a children’s picture book in Scotland.

The dog, now called Charity, was found paralysed and starving with little chance of survival when she was discovered by the UK based Scruffy Dog Rescue, but to everyone’s delight she responded to treatment and found a new home with a family in Dumfries.

Pre-Order – Wheesht!

By chance, writer and storyteller Susi Briggs was in the process of working on her new picture book with publisher Jayne Baldwin of Foggie Toddle Books in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Booktown. The story is about a dog that loves to sing, a talent not always appreciated by his family and neighbours. Along with artist William Gorman, the team had been looking at lots of different dogs to see which would suit the book’s central character – Shug the Dug.

“During the process of creating the book we were searching for a dog that would inspire how Shug the dug would look,” Susi explained. “We knew the dog had to have a really expressive face and a lot of character. When I saw images of Charity on my friend’s social media, I had to share her photos with Will and Jayne. We all fell in love with her and were immediately inspired. I found out later that Charity was rescued from a very dire situation, and we all agreed to donate a percentage of the sales from the book to the charity that rescued her.”

Illustrator William Gorman then started work on the images for the book Wheesht!, a story originally commissioned by Matthew Fitt’s Scots Hoose, a digital resource for teaching the Scots language. Susi had consulted Jayne when she was writing the story so when the annual Scot’s Language Publication Grants opened for applications through the Scottish Book Trust, Foggie Toddle Books made a bid.

“I was delighted to win a grant through the scheme from the Scottish Government,” Jayne said. “The initiative really helps small independent publishing companies like Foggie Toddle Books.”

The picture book will be launched, appropriately, at the annual Big DoG children’s festival in Dumfries, organised by the Wigtown Festival Company in April. Susi will be telling the story during her Oor Wee Podcast Live event with storyteller and author Alan McClure at the Theatre Royal on Saturday April 2nd .

Moxie DePaulitte, whose family now care for the dog, said: “Isn’t it amazing what a network of love can do! We’re just delighted that she found her happy ever after and will be immortalised in Susi’s wonderful story!”

The book is available to pre-order from the Wigtown Festival Company website and from Foggie Toddle Books and following the launch, it will be available from independent bookshops.

A donation from each sale will be made to the Scruffy Dog Rescue charity.

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