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Solihull School

Solihull School

Trio Create The Crocolion Code

Three colleagues at Solihull School have been getting creative during lockdown - writing, illustrating and narrating a new children’s book, The Crocolion Code.

Simon Grove, Gary Johnson and Thom Stafford, who all work at the Prep School combined their individual skills and worked together to complete the title, an idea originated by Junior School Teacher, Simon back in April 2020.

The story, which is about friendship, centres around a character called Chris’ birthday. Chris is a Crocolion – half crocodile, half lion – and the ending is a happy, positive one, concluding that the best things in life really are free.

Simon said: “When the first lockdown began, I decided to write a short story aimed at boys and girls aged 4-7.  Having children of my own and knowing how much they have loved some of the Julia Donaldson tales over the years, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I finally had time to do it.

“On our return to school I discussed the book with Gary and shared some of the character ideas; he mentioned that he enjoyed drawing and that he’d be happy to help with some sketches … an offer I snapped up!

“In a subsequent conversation with Thom, who is a trained and fully-qualified actor, we chatted about bringing the story to life and he kindly suggested that he’d narrate a digital version to share with friends, family and the Solihull community. It’s been so wonderful to finally see The Crocolion Code come together!”

Gary, who works in the Transport Department on our Saint Martin’s campus, said: “Creating the pictures to fit Simon’s characters was a fun task. The more colourful the better – something to catch the eye and keep the children’s attention.”

Prep School Porter, Thom, commented: “In March 2020, I started recording voice-overs for well-known children’s books and posting them on Facebook for families to enjoy. When I heard about Simon’s story, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in narrating and sharing his terrific tale.”

The talented trio are now looking at publishing opportunities and would love to work together on a follow up title.


Picture caption – The Crocolion Code creators; Simon Grove, Thom Stafford and Gary Johnson.