If you were to create an environmental mascot, what would it be? Would it be a panda? A koala? Or a frog? How about a booger? Well it was this in fact that inspired Martin Lever and his daughter Remi to create the ‘BogeyBugz’ book series. I met Martin and Remi some years ago when I lived in Abu Dhabi. When the books were launched, he gave us a copy of the book series as a gift. At the time my son was too young to fully understand the books. But as he got older he grew to LOVE the books. He knows all the characters off by heart and their characteristics. We had to read the BogeyBugz every night and they’ve now been a part of our lives for about 4 years. Now that my son and daughter are sharing a room, we’ve introduced the book series to her and so another BogeyBugz fan has been made.
The BogeyBugz are a great book series that teach children about different environmental issues ranging from global warming, to deforestation and pollution in a fresh way that isn’t too preachy. They’re colourful and fun and aimed at teaching these concepts to children. The books also have a ‘Facteria’ section which acts like a quiz to reinforce the concepts.
I was lucky enough to talk to the author and illustrator of the BogeyBugz, Martin Lever.
How did the concept of the Bogey Bugz come about?
I used to tell my daughter “made-up” stories when she was younger at bedtime. One evening as we were settling down for a new tale, she picked her nose as little ones do! And an idea popped into my head. What if Bogeys could be good things not bad things! Remi liked the idea…and we started to work out the characters, their personalities, and think of a cause which they could champion.
Why did you want to send out an environmental message in these books targeted at kids?
We love our planet. Sir David Attenborough is largely to thank in many ways! And while we’re not hardcore environmentalists, it’s depressing to see how much harm mankind has done to our incredible home. We also noticed that there is little to no written material for pre-schoolers and early primary schoolers that addresses the simple rights and wrongs when it comes to the environment. This seemed like a natural cause for a bunch of maverick Bogeys to adopt!
How were you able to make these complex environmental problems into ‘adventures’ and ‘fun’ for kids?
The key to these stories was marrying reality (ie. a real environmental problem) with fantasy. Roald Dahl was a master of the absurd. And we (I say “we” because Remi helped plot out the tales!) took inspiration from his work in trying to find the most abstract solutions to real world problems. Children’s minds are a wonderfully free-flowing font of imagination. So for every environmental issue, I simply asked myself “how would a child solve this?!”
Will the BogeyBugz go on any more adventures?
The BogeyBugz are out there right now “pickin it for the planet”. And when they get back in touch with me, I’m sure they’ll have some new adventures that need writing up
My son has a question for you: ‘Does Plasmo really know the answer to everything?’
Plasmo likes to think he knows everything! But as with all “know-alls”, he sometimes gets things wrong.
Well overall the books get the thumbs up from my children. My son’s favourite is ‘The Big Melt’ which is about global warming and how the Bogey Bugz save the ice caps from melting by using ice cream!
If you wanted to buy a copy of the books you can buy them online at:
To find out more about Martin Lever and check out his talents in writing and art, go to:
https://www.behance.net/martinlever and http://www.martinlever.com/index.html