Do you know what a Haggis is? It is a three-legged bird, and McTavish the Haggis is the main character in a children’s book by the late author Norrie Smith.
“McTavish the Haggis is a Scottish children’s book of a poem written by my husband, Norrie Smith, for our first son, Stewart,” said Billie Smith, wife of Norrie. “A friend, Les Scarborough, a very talented artist from Tallahassee, illustrated it. The story is about a fictitious three-legged bird called a ‘Haggis.’”
“McTavish, the main character, sets out on a journey and meets Scottish animals along the way. He eventually wants to go back home and finds out his return trip is much easier than when he started out,” she said. “I had wanted to publish the book for many years as a legacy for both our sons, Stewart and Duncan. A dear friend, who dropped by one Christmas, convinced me it needed to be done.”
Norrie was from Leuchars, Scotland and he was a very prolific and incredibly talented poet whose work was of a serious nature.
“He wanted to write something for our son as a tribute to his own homeland and wrote McTavish in one afternoon,” Billie said. “It was his only children’s book.”
After editing and hiring a local artist, Bob Dorsey of Image Brewery, for the cover, Norrie had it published.
“I designed a plush McTavish toy and sell it and the book at Scottish festivals, online and at London Pride, a British shop in Largo,” Billie said. “It comes with a CD produced by Bill Dudley Studios and narrated by George RobertsonBurnett, a Scotsman from Aberdeen and a well-known Rotarian from Bartow. I donate 10 percent of the book sales to help end Polio through Brandon ‘86 Rotary.”
A free download and study guide for McTavish the Haggis is available on Billie’s website.
“I’m hoping to get the word out to kindergarten, first and second grade teachers who would like to introduce their students to another culture,” Billie said. “Teachers can also email McTavishtheHaggis@gmail.com for a copy but going through our website, will register them for a free hardback copy and plush toy, just in time for Christmas. We will give one of each away for every 10 classes.”
If you would like to purchase a copy of McTavish the Haggis, you can visit www.mctavishthehaggis.com.