Animal adventure is Norfolk artist’s debut children’s book

Artist Joe Currie has published his first children's book called Custom Fast Wheels. Picture by SIMO

Artist Joe Currie has published his first children's book called Custom Fast Wheels. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Fast cars and four-legged friends are the inspiration behind Norfolk artist Joe Currie's debut children's picture book.

Artist Joe Currie has created his debut book which is called Custom Fast Wheels.

Artist Joe Currie has created his debut book which is called Custom Fast Wheels. - Credit: submitted

His book - called Custom Fast Wheels - follows the nostalgic motor-racing adventures of a young puppy and his grandfather who relives his heyday as one of the great drivers in the Custom Fast Wheels road race.

With just a handful of words in the opening pages of the book, Mr Currie tells the story through more than 40 beautiful watercolour illustrations that feature an array of animal characters.

The 44-year-old artist, who lives in Wreningham, said: 'Custom Fast Wheels is a simple story about a race...It is about a grandson finding a racing poster in his grandfather's house, and he and his grandfather go on a trip down memory lane.'

Mr Currie, who is dyslexic and enjoyed reading comics when he was a boy, said the intricate illustrations - which each took about two weeks to create - gave people the chance to pick out details and make up their own stories within the story.

'I was just trying to fill every page visually with as much as possible. It is like a feast for the eyes,' he said, adding that he has also deliberately left the names of the characters up to the reader's imaginations.

'The book was partly inspired by a friend who was reading out The Beano to his children when we were at Waxham Sands.

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'He just invented the story through the pictures and I thought that was nice, that as opposed to the book dictating the story, you get to come up with your own story.'

The book took about two years to complete, and Mr Currie said the project helped him to deal with the death of his father, Peter Currie, who died after having a heart attack aged 65 in 2012. He said the story reflected his father's outlook on life.

'It was always something that my dad said about taking time to enjoy the journey as opposed to just focussing on the end result,' Mr Currie is already on working his next book, a graphic novel called Little America which will be about a girl growing up in the Second World War and living in a farmhouse by an American air force base in Norfolk.

Custom Fast Wheels is the first title published by Stickybooks, part of Propolis Books based at Norwich bookshop The Book Hive in London Street.

The book - which is aimed at people aged five and above - was launched yesterday at The Book Hive and costs £14.99.

Some animations linked to the book can also be viewed online at www.propolisbooks.co.uk

Prints of the book's illustrations can also be bought at The Book Hive.

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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