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Humphrey the guinea pig is a charming little chap who loves being in the garden.

He’s partial to celery, carrots, mint tea and cake. He’s also a bit grumpy but likes growing things.

Humphrey is the main character in a new book written by Thrive horticultural therapist Caroline Pankhurst.

Inspired by seeing guinea pigs playing in a friend’s garden, London-based Caroline wrote adventures for Humphrey and his friends where gardens, growing plants and encouraging wildlife play a starring role.

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The Guinea Pig Gardeners is a charming story aimed at five to eight-year-olds and is influenced by Caroline’s love of Beatrix Potter, the Paddington films and working in the Thrive gardens in Battersea Park.

‘It’s all about enjoying gardening and it being good for you and the environment, as well as growing your own food and having fun,’ said Caroline.

‘I also wanted to convey that gardening is good for all sorts of children, whatever their background. It can bring children together. Children who may be shy and quiet will help each other in a garden and forget what it’s like being in a classroom.

‘I am aware of the need to educate children in environmental matters and have used practical gardening ideas in my story that I know children enjoy.’

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The book is beautifully illustrated by Maude Smith, a friend of Caroline’s who has created illustrations for children’s activities at the South London Botanical Institute, where Caroline works part-time.

Feedback from readers young and older has been encouraging and a follow-up tale with Humphrey and the gang is in the pipeline.

The book is available for £10 plus post and packing and can be ordered via: guineapiggardeners@gmail.com

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