Sept. 14, 2021
Last Updated: Nov. 2, 2021
Ian and Albert Accept the Challenge! Ian and Albert Accept the Challenge! Ian and Albert Accept the Challenge!
Ian Brown, London-based author of the “Albert the Tortoise” children’s picture book series, published by Graffeg, recently took a sofa dive. All the coins found were donated to the Valley Chapter of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club’s “Sick and Injured Tortoise Fund.” Afterwards, Ian made a video explaining the Sofa Cushion Challenge (ScC), showed the fruits of his own search and then challenged all his fans to do the same.
Originally proposed by a member of the Valley Chapter of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club (CTTC), the ScC is a way to raise funds for the many sick and injured tortoises that are surrendered to- or rescued by the chapter. Just a few of these are featured in the story and photo gallery. Once treated and recuperated, these tortoises are adopted out to new homes as are countless other healthy rescues each year. You can learn more about turtle and tortoise adoption here.
Albert the Tortoise is now a Sofa Cushion Challenge ambassador. In fact, though, there are two Alberts. One is a picture book character. The other is an actual Greek tortoise, also named Albert, who was rescued by Ian’s wife over 50 years ago. “She found him abandoned near her family home as a little girl,” Ian said. “He lived there until about 12 years ago when we took him on.”
Illustrated by Eoin Clarke, picture-book Albert gets into scrapes but is helped by his friends who must learn to work together if they are to save the day. Book 1: ALBERT UPSIDE DOWN, was released earlier this year to five-star reviews and a host of high-profile testimonials. Book 2: ALBERT AND THE WIND was released just last month.
“I've always written,” Brown said. “For 30 years I wrote for TV. But all the while, I was trying to get different books published. After my mum died, I did a lot of walking and thinking. One day the idea about Albert hit me. He does genuinely sometimes go upside down and sometimes on blustery days his food blows away.
“I was already working with Eoin Clarke on an animation project. He agreed to do some images for Albert. After a few more years of pitching and fine-tuning publishers Graffeg took the books and Albert on.”
Brown was formerly a journalist and is now a TV writer and producer. His body of work includes The South Bank Show, This Is Your Life, Top Gear, and more. He has written or produced for Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan, Simon Cowell, George Lucas, Liam Neeson, Martin Scorsese, Jamie Oliver, Homer Simpson and YouTubers Joe Sugg and Caspar Lee among others. Nevertheless, the ALBERT THE TORTOISE series is his first foray into writing picture books for children.
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