A MAN is in contention for father of the year after writing, illustrating, and publishing an interactive children’s book for his daughter.

Tom Smith, 34, of Clacton, is a sales manager at a town centre mobile phone shop, but in his spare time he loves to flex his creative muscles.

In the past the former Colbayns High School student has produced eye-catching artworks as well as more physical creations.

He has now published a colourful book called Tilly Dog Needs A Ball for his daughter Annalynn, 3, who loves interactive and more hands-on stories.


Mr Smith said: “I have never published a book or done anything book-related before, but I was inspired to have a go as my daughter loves to read.

“She enjoys books that make you interact, so I thought I would have a go at a style she already enjoys – Annalyn also helped me with some of the colouring in.

“The book is about Tilly Dog, based on my old family dog, who needs a new ball, and the child is encouraged to use their imagination to make a ball for the dog.

“It also doubles up as a bedtime story where the child strokes the page to help the dog fall asleep.”

The devoted father’s first publication, which is available in a paperback form from Amazon, has already shifted more than 100 copies in just 10 days.

The amateur author is now hoping his proposed Tilly Dog book series will be picked up by a major publisher.

“That would be amazing,” added Mr Smith, who is married to Sarah, 35.

“I am a creative person, but I am qualified in nothing, so I teach myself stuff by having a go.

“But the book is not doing too bad, and it is overwhelming to see people with my book and my daughter asking for it to be read every night.

“I wanted it to be a surprise, but I had a good idea she would like it.”

To buy Tilly Dog Needs A Ball as either an e-book or a paperback visit tinyurl.com/3zmc2bez.