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New Elmer the Patchwork Elephant story by David McKee sold exclusively in Maidstone during Elmer's Big Heart of Kent Parade


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Elmer and his friends have brightened up Maidstone for the past six and a half weeks and as we pass the parade's halfway milestone, the latest story in the popular children's series is being sold exclusively in the town.

Elmer HQ in The Mall and Fremlin Elephant House in Fremlin Walk are the first in the country to sell hardback copies of the story titled Elmer and the Bedtime Story.

David McKee's brand-new book, 'Elmer and the Bedtime Story'
David McKee's brand-new book, 'Elmer and the Bedtime Story'

The new book by author and illustrator David McKee is about Elmer’s challenge looking after two baby elephants.

He tries to get them to sleep and decides a walk is the best way to do it.

But as they walk past their friends, everyone in the jungle seems to think he should tell them a bedtime story, and they each have their favourites.

Mr McKee first created Elmer the Patchwork Elephant in 1968, but it wasn’t until 1989 the story was published by Andersen Press.

Since then more than 10 million copies of the Elmer series have sold worldwide, including over four million in the UK, making it a household favourite.

David McKee, author of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant
David McKee, author of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant

Paul Black, PR and Brand Director for Elmer said: “This is David McKee’s twenty-ninth original Elmer picture book and he has created the perfect bedtime story.

“Elmer is all about celebrating diversity, being different, and accepting who you - and others - are.

“We are delighted that so many people have been out enjoying Elmer’s Big heart of Kent Parade and now that the schools have broken up for the summer holidays, we hope many more adults and children will enjoy the colourful exploring and finding Elmer the Patchwork Elephant and his many friends across Maidstone.”

Since the parade began on June 19, more than 7,300 people have downloaded the app, 4,384 images have been submitted to the gallery and 172,074 sculptures have been collected.

There are 51 unique large Elmers to discover on the trails and each one has been designed by local and national artists.

Never Forget by Nathan Reed at Elmer's Big Heart of Kent Parade in Maidstone
Never Forget by Nathan Reed at Elmer's Big Heart of Kent Parade in Maidstone

An equally impressive herd of 30 smaller Elmers have been designed by local schools and community groups and includes one special Elmer designed especially for Heart of Kent Hospice.

It coincides with a book published by their Hospice Social Worker, written specifically for children dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Elmer and the Bedtime Story costs £12.99 and will also be available from August 9 from Heart of Kent Hospice’s charity shops and on general release from September 2.

The parade has been several years in the making and was made possible thanks to more than 60 Kent businesses offering their time.

Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers will be instrumental in helping to raise funds when all the large Elmers are auctioned on September 9 at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel, Maidstone.

Gallagher Group installing 'The Gentleman Explorer'
Gallagher Group installing 'The Gentleman Explorer'
Ben Deme and Charlotte Walter with the Elmer apple juice produced at Chegworth Valley
Ben Deme and Charlotte Walter with the Elmer apple juice produced at Chegworth Valley

The hospice is hoping to raise in excess of £250,000 as the Elmers go under the hammer.

Another Kent business which has been vital to the project is civil engineering firm, Gallagher Group which managed to put 50 large Elmers in place across Maidstone in just one afternoon and evening.

To help with the fundraising, Kent Family Farm Chegworth Valley, has launched a special edition Elmer’s Apple Juice.

In support of Heart of Kent Hospice, 15p from every 1 litre bottle sold and 8p from every small bottle sold will be donated to the hospice.

The Kent Messenger is the parade’s official media partner.

Other supporting businesses include Scarbutts Printers, Maidstone Borough Council, Paydens Group, GeoBrand and One Maidstone.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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