As part of the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme, Nelson College students Alistair King, Duncan Murray, Ben Higgins, James Perham and Braydon Drummond have reinvented the much-loved children’s book franchise Where’s Wally. Their version, Where’s Woolly, adopts a clever Kiwiana twist, featuring Woolly the Sheep, Collie the Dog and Mooey the Cow hidden in iconic New Zealand locations. With over 1000 books sold, in 23 countries, these boys are off to a roaring start.
Student James Perham says “one of my favourite things we’ve done with Where’s Woolly is purposefully designing the book for younger Kiwi kids to learn about this amazingly beautiful country that we live in.”
The boys spent the first few months working with children at local kindergartens to understand children’s perspective on the book – did they like the colours, pictures, words? Could they find Woolly, Collie and Mooey? The team wanted to make sure everything was perfect before they went to print, and that the book combined both entertainment with education about New Zealand all in one. Everything in the book has a specific reason behind it, and careful cognitive and visual learning elements were considered and implemented to best suit children’s learning requirements.
An initial prototype of 100 copies was printed, to be sold at the local Saturday market. The boys sold 50 books, and the word quickly got out, with locals keen to send copies of the book to expats around the world.
Where’s Woolly is now sold through Wheelers – New Zealand’s largest online supplier of books to Schools, Public Libraries and Educational Institutions. Since joining in April, the book has had incredible success, becoming the sites second best-selling children’s book. The book can also be found at the Nelson Paper Plus. The team are hoping to meet with a few big retailers in Auckland this week including, The Warehouse, Paper Plus and Simply NZ in hope of securing a nationwide deal. While there, they will also make a special trip to Starship to present them with a $1000 cheque.
Their next big step is a Mandarin translated version of Where’s Woolly, targeting the 400,000 Chinese tourists travelling to New Zealand every single year. This is due to be released at the end of September, just in time for Christmas shoppers! The team have also written to John Key asking for the opportunity to meet with him to show him in person their Where’s Woolly book and tell him about their journey with the Young Enterprise Scheme.