16 March 2001

FWstalwart turns to web bedtime stories

JOURNALISTS often turn their hand to creative writing but Jeremy Hunt, who has been writing for farmers weekly for almost 20 years, has embraced the latest in computer wizardry to launch a new concept in stories for children.

He has created a web-site -www.myownbedtimestory.com- that brings a new dimension to the telling of bedtime stories to children. The interactive web-site, enables parents to personalise a selection of childrens stories and make their own child the principal character in their own special adventure.

"Instead of listening to stories about other children having adventures the concept allows your own child to become the key character in the story", says Jeremy. "As a parent I was always aware when reading books to my children that all they really wanted was to be the child in the story."

&#42 Participation

The web-site, which carries the slogan "put your child in the story and put the magic back into bedtime", allows any child in the world to actually take part in the story.

What could be more exciting, says Jeremy.

A recent report by a leading child psychologist and a well-known childrens author highlighted the development benefits of reading bedtime stories to children. But the report also expressed concern that this traditional ending to a childs day was now becoming an increasingly rare occurrence in many families.

"Whether we like it or not computers are becoming an integral part of childhood but its important to capitalise on that by adapting the format of the written word to ensure children retain an interest in reading.

"I believe this web-site breaks new ground in the way parents can encourage young children to enjoy storytelling," says Jeremy. "It combines all the proven advantages of being read to while still keeping pace with the fascination children have for computers."

&#42 Farming connections

He has written a selection of original stories for the web-site and its no surprise that some have distinct farming connections. None more so than Sally Gets a Soaking, a lovely story about a very large pig.

"I was inspired to write this story several years ago after visiting a breeder of Middle White pigs," says Jeremy. "They really are a most fascinating breed with huge ears and faces that almost look as though they could talk. The perfect character for a childrens story."

And farming comes through in another story entitled Jack in a Box. Without giving too much away this is a must for any child who has been won over by the mischievous charms of collie puppies.

www.myownbedtimestory.com has been launched with a selection of 10 bedtime stories. Once a story has been selected – the cost is £1.50/story – it can be viewed in full colour with illustrations on the screen and can also been produced as a print-out to keep and read and read again.