Bilingual book tells great yarn

THREE generations of "creativity and girl power" have been poured into Kelly Elsom's first bilingual children's book and album.

The Noosa-based musician- turned-author has brought to life a bedtime story told countless times by her mother, and enlisted the help of her daughter to make it a family affair.

Sippy and Sunny: A Byron Bay Adventure "begins with clouds and ends with the beach" when Sippy the Magical Dragon flies a young girl named Sunny to Byron Bay to help a beached whale, and then enjoy the beauty and creativity of the coastal town.

Kelly's mother, Vicki Wood, often told her granddaughter the story to help her sleep.

When Kelly heard the tale for the first time, she had to convince her mother it was more than just a bedtime story.

"She told me this story and I was like, 'That's amazing. You should make that into a book'," Kelly recalled.

"So we went home and we just started writing."

After Kelly's family and the book's illustrator, Bec Winnel, fell in love with the story, Kelly's daughter, Toia Mangakahia, 20, helped take Sippy and Sunny to the next level.

The mother-daughter musical duo, The Elsoms, shared the "funny little characters" in a children's album, Eucalyptus Dreaming.

"What we are trying to do is bridge that gap, where it doesn't matter how old you are," Kelly said. "If you really listen to the lyrics then you are going to know it is kids' music, but other than that you wouldn't know."

The ever ambitious Kelly also wanted to teach "little ones" and their parents another language, so Sippy and Sunny: A Byron Bay Adventure is a "one side French, one side English" book.

The Elsoms also released a French version of their album and recently travelled from Peregian to Paris to perform at bilingual and international schools.

"They really love us. They love to hear about how we live and what we do," Kelly recalled of the tour.

"Especially the kids, because our animals seem so foreign.

"It's really quite cute and very exciting to see how excited they are, and they try and sing along."

Kelly said the book had been a phenomenal success since its release on November 1 and playing music with her daughter had "opened up their worlds".

Kelly and Vicki have already written the rest of the Sippy and Sunny series, with the characters travelling from state to state to explore the lifestyle, environment and beauty of the "magical wonderland" that is Australia.

Topics:  childrens books

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