The Strawberry Thief - Children's book project

The Strawberry Thief is a book inspired by the prints and principles of William Morris. It tells the story of the thrush who inspired William Morris’ most famous print, playfully reflecting Morris’ eco-socialist ideals. Each page is inspired by a different wallpaper or textile print. The Strawberry Thief 1. In the little forest there was a great tree. Its branches were high up and safe and its fruits were rich and plentiful, so all the birds lived there. 2. But the peacock king owned the tree and he was grumpy and greedy. He made them pick flowers, seeds and berries for him all day long! 3. The Peacock King got fatter and fatter but the more the birds picked the more bear the forest became and the plants started to shrivel and die. 4. The peacock King summoned the thrush, “there is not enough food here, you must go to the Great Garden to steal more or I will make sure you all go hungry!” 5. The Thrush was afraid of the Great Garden, but she was more afraid of the Peacock King, so she flew off to the trellis to peek warily inside. 6. She spotted some juicy strawberries and flitted over to pluck some of the ripest in her beak. 7. But suddenly she heard a rustling and there was a great bearded human towering above her! She dropped the strawberries onto the soft soil and darted away through the trellis and back into the safety of the forest. 8. The peacock king was not impressed, “you must go back and get me my berries soon or you will all starve!” 9. So a few hungry days later the thrush plucked up the courage to go back to the Great Garden. But this time as she sat in the trellis she saw that where she had dropped the strawberries on the soft soil, a tiny strawberry plant had sprouted! And suddenly she knew what to do. 10. She gathered the birds. “I have an idea! Today when you gather your seeds and berries and flowers, don’t feed them to the peacock king! Keep them and we will fly away together!” “but there are not enough berries to feed us all if we leave here!” cooed the wood pigeon. “trust me” chirruped the thrush “you will see.” 11. And so that night the peacock king screamed and squawked as the birds stole away into the dark. 12. All night they flew, through forests and gardens, parks and cities, until they came to a soft patch of soil. 13. The thrush showed the birds how to plant the seeds and berries. And look after them so that they would grow! 14. The birds picked and planted until a forest of food grew around them and they never went hungry again, sharing with each other and with the earth.

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