Success for Melbourn cartoonist and Cambridge writer as first children’s book Brollo to go on sale

PUBLISHED: 08:32 27 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:43 28 March 2017

Tom Sparke and Gavin Clayton with their new book, Brollo. Picture: Lucy Sparke.

Tom Sparke and Gavin Clayton with their new book, Brollo. Picture: Lucy Sparke.


A pair of childhood friends, from Melbourn and Cambridge, have got together to write a children’s book, which is now set to hit the shelves of a Cambridge bookshop.

The pair are thrilled their first self-published children's book has been picked up by a shop. Picture: Lucy SparkeThe pair are thrilled their first self-published children's book has been picked up by a shop. Picture: Lucy Sparke

Tom Sparke and Gavin Clayton developed Brollo – an endearing tale about a young umbrella who doesn’t like rain – over a year and are thrilled it’s on sale at Heffer’s book shop for children to enjoy.

Illustrator Tom told the Crow: “I’ve been a cartoonist for quite a number of years, and Gavin and I got together for the book, and he wanted a project and I could do the pictures. It took nearly a year to complete – I have two daughters so I have lots of experience reading them stories.

“I took what I liked about children’s books and considered what I didn’t like so much, and Gavin and I had a shared vision of what we wanted to create.”

Tom, 35, has lived in Melbourn for three-years with wife Lucy and daughters Alana, 4 and two-year-old Etta.

He works in investment as his day job, but his drawings keep him busy in the evenings.

Writer Gavin, 36, who completed an English literature degree with the Open University, added: “I have always loved books, the prospect of doing this with Tom is great.

“I have two nephews, and think that books aimed at children of about two to three, so I wanted there to be a moral in there, to teach about empathy.”

Gavin, who is also working on a psychological thriller, said that this experience will help shape his future work.

“To be able to self publish has given us a platform that we may not have been able to use 10 or 20 years ago, and for it to be picked up by a bookshop on our first go is great.

“I enjoy seeing something go from your imagination to the page. It’s not all about getting people to like your work, but there is that sense of validation which is very rewarding.”

The pair intend on writing a series of four books about Brollo.

Gavin said: “We are planning more books while there is more for the character to do.

“We want to see where this takes us.”

Brollo can be found at Heffer’s Bookshop in Trinity Street, Cambridge. For more on the book see and for more on Tom’s work see


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