Brother and sister teachers from Stevenage publish children’s book influenced by Roald Dahl and The Gruffalo

Joe James pictured with his Pickles Pug book

Joe James pictured with his Pickles Pug book - Credit: Archant

A brother and sister team from Stevenage have combined their talents to write a children’s book.

Teachers Joe and Katie James collaborated on Pickles Pug – A Collection of Creatures.

Joe, who teaches art at The Nobel School in Stevenage, wrote the majority of the story and provided the illustrations.

He previously worked as freelance illustrator and on set design in TV and film, where his most notable work included ITV’s Poirot and the 2008 Keira Knightley film The Edge of Love.

The 34-year-old said: “I love the Roald Dahl books and did a lot of research into books like The Gruffalo.”

Katie grew up in Stevenage but now lives in Knebworth and teaches English at a Bedford school. The 31-year-old came up with the premise, as well as contributing to the story.

Unhappy with being branded a litter of pups, the reader joins wide-eyed pug Pickles as he travels around searching for a new collective noun for him and his siblings.

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The book – which took almost three years to complete – is aimed at children aged three to seven and is designed to teach them these whimsical nouns, considered to be quirks of the English language.

Joe is hoping to extend their new venture to a series of books.

He said: “Hopefully there will be more – my main aim was to initially get this one completed and see if there was any publisher interest from there.”

The book was published this month and will be available to buy online for £3.95 via and through retailers such as Waterstones, Amazon and