Book 1: Super Mushi
This story introduces the main character 'Mushi'.
After finalising the characters and the logo, Steve Warren-Brown, originator of the 'My Wacky Forest' concept, sent me the first book manuscript to work on.
The first three books in the series would be for a KS1 early years age range. About 5-7 years reading age. As well as story text there would be 'Fun Fact' text boxes on each page for adults to read to the younger readers, adding further information about the forest and characters. This would also give advanced young readers the opportunity to try a more difficult reading level if they wanted.
Below are the Front cover, Title page and Back cover designs.
The story introduces the main characters and finds Mushi unable to wake up the oldest tree in the Wacky Forest, Oaky. With Robin's help he manages to wake the old tree only to find the oak worried about temperatures rising in the forest. We leave the forest with Mushi asleep and Robin keeping Oaky cool in the night flying around Oaky's branches.
Mushi is the custodian of Wacky Forest. He cares for all the creatures in it, from Ash Meadow up to Oaky's Glade, from Ivy's Wood in the West to The Frog Pond in the East. Mushi uses his super spores to break down matter into nutrients to feed the creatures in the forest.
Mushi is a fictitious character who represents 'mycelium' in the My Wacky Forest stories. Mycelium are the part of a fungus consisting of a mass of branching fibres that link to plants and tree roots underground.
Myecelium composes what's called a “mycorrhizal network,” which connects individual plants together to transfer water, nitrogen, carbon and other minerals. German forester Peter Wohlleben dubbed this network the “woodwide web,” as it is through the mycelium that trees “communicate.”
Here are some of the rough pages I produced to pace out the story for Steve to check.
And the final pages. The inside back cover has an introduction to what 'My Wacky Forest' represents.
For the forest, I wanted to make this as lush and colourful as possible. Adding colour combinations that you might not find in a normal woodland environment. I also made the characters relatively similar in size to each other, giving the more 'wacky' feel to the world. Woodlouse and Snail seem to be a similar size to Robin and Mrs Hazel for example.