Raglan illustrator Margery Fern and her author sister have scooped three awards and a truckload of accolades in the 2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards in the United States.

Margery, deputy principal at Waitetuna School, and her sister, Jennifer Somervell of Oxford in Canterbury, won multiple awards for their new children’s book The New Old Truck, just three weeks after launching the book in Michigan, United States.

The New Old Truck won first place in the Picture Books 6 & Older section, 2nd place in Historical Fiction and gained Honourable Mentions in Picture Books 5 & Younger and Best Interior Design sections.
Keeping it all in the family, Margery’s daughter, graphic designer Ezra Andre, designed the book and won the coveted Best Cover Design award.

Their first book in the ‘Tales From The Farm’ series, The Day Dad Blew up the Cowshed, also scored Honourable Mentions in Picture Books 6 & Older and Best Illustrations.

The New Old Truck draws on Margery and Jennifer’s childhood growing up on their family’s Hawkes Bay dairy farm, and tells the tale of some children’s love affair with their Republic truck.

After selling out of the first edition in New Zealand in 2013, Jennifer and Margery decided to revise it.
An historic section was added after Jennifer’s husband, Ken Fletcher, researched the Old Truck’s lineage from the Republic Motor Truck Company in Michigan, which was once the largest truck manufacturer in the world.

Fittingly, The New Old Truck was launched in Michigan last month. Jennifer and Ken were there, surrounded by some of the oldest Republic trucks in America. Margery was not able to go but her husband, Rene, recorded the Old Truck Song for the occasion which he had written for the 2012 book launch.

The New Old Truck is available from selected booksellers. Autographed copies were available through www.talesfromthefarm.co.nz.

Rachel Benn