Children's author Ruth Campbell at her home office in Clogherhead. Photo: Andy Spearman.
Back in the seventies, when she was a young mother living in Termonfeckin with three children, Ruth Campbell was the subject of a double page spread in a magazine called Spectrum which used to be distributed with the Drogheda Independent.
The headline over the piece was ‘STORY TELLING MUM CHARMS THE KIDS’ and, in very flowery language, the report went into considerable detail about the young mother’s storytelling and poetry writing capabilities.
The “kids” referred to in the headline were Ruth’s children and various friends who were lucky enough to be in the house when story time came around. Ruth seldom read a story, they just came into her head and she passed them on.
Many of the stories were about a little guy called Thomas who Ruth describes as “A funny little fella who got things wrong, who forgot stuff and got carried away in his own imagination”. He was the children’s favourite.
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Thomas has survived the intervening years remarkably well, in fact he has not aged one little bit. He has returned as the imaginative hero of a new collection of stories which another generation of children will love because:
Thomas forgets things!
He has a great imagination!
He likes to make plans. He loves monsters!
He has a devil-cousin Ann Marie,
Who likes to get him into trouble!
But he has a great friend, Isabella,
who always knows just what to do!
And a huge teddy called Bodyguard
who always listens to his problems.
Ruth’s new collection of children’s stories, her third, which is beautifully illustratred by another Drogheda woman Rachael Reay, is called “The Thomas Stories books1, 2, and 3” and, so popular has her previous work been, it sold out in just two days.
“It's funny to think that the same small boy that delighted the imaginations of my children all those years ago, entertained, engaged and kept me sane during the Covid 19 Lockdown!” she said.
Who could forget the wonderful Mr. Wisscoccally’s adventures in Thorny Woods?
Never fear though, the second run of the new book has already been printed and can be purchased on Ruth's lovely new website which went on line last night https://thethomasstories.ie/. It is also available at The Forge Field in Termonfeckin, Waterstones bookshop in Scotch Hall.
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