Mother Cheryl Robertson, who used to live in Ardingly, and son Greg Mandy, who attended St. Peter’s Elementary School in Ardingly and Oathall Community College on Haywards Heath, compiled the book Goggas: A Collection of Fascinating Creepy Crawlers.
Its goal is to encourage children to look for and recognize the vital role played by creatures at the bottom of our food chain.
They also want to show how children’s art should be encouraged and taken seriously.
“Greg had a fascination with insects growing up, and he would look, watch, sometimes capture and then draw,” says Cheryl.
Cheryl kept many of the drawings, paintings, and doodles he created over the years, and then wrote funny, sometimes gruesome rhymes about some of them.
She did a lot of research and added fact boxes for each mistake.
“The facts have been verified by entomologists and other wildlife experts in the United States, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
“Topics include the disease-spreading housefly, the pseudo-humble praying mantis, the malaria-bearing mosquito and a delicious worm that is served as a canapé. Each poem has a text field with more detailed biological insights.
“Insects are as important to humans as decomposers, soil aerators, food sources and more.
“They are the tiny forces working around the world around the clock to keep things ticking. So the decline in their numbers is absolutely alarming.
“Even I could not particularly imagine the state of our world on our pastures if dung beetles weren’t there to clean everything up.
“Most of the insects that have been written about are worldwide, while some particular ones live only in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Their popular names and biological classifications are provided so that readers anywhere in the world can identify the errors.”
The common names in the Zimbabwean languages Shona and Ndebele are also given because it was in Zimbabwe that Cheryl was born and raised and first came across insects by the thousands.
“Goggas (pronounced Khokhas) comes from the language of the Khoikhoi, traditional shepherds, who were among the first to settle in southern Africa.
“The term is widely used by many South Africans these days for anything that creeps or creeps.”
“This is entertaining and informative read for children aged eight and over as well as for adults.”
Although the family has since moved, they remain closely connected to the Mid Sussex area.
Cheryl added, “Greg lives with his wife in Towcester, near Milton Keynes.
“And I live in Dubai with my husband. We still have our home in Ardingly, currently rented out.
“I usually go back to visit every year, but unfortunately not in 2020!”
The book is available on Amazon.