Upminster police officer's superhero bears The Uncuddibles entertains children around the world
PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 August 2018
Loom Raiders of the Lost Yarn, The Walking Teds, and Bony and the Ghost Dusters - these titles may sound sort of familiar to fans of films from the '80s and '90s.
They are the names of several children’s books in a popular new series about a band of lovable superhero teddy bears written by a police sergeant from Upminster.
RJ Thompson, 37, is the writer and illustrator of The Uncuddibles, a series about abandoned teddy bears who use their special gifts to help others.
Thompson told the Recorder: “In my spare time I have been heavily involved in the creative arts, I play a number of instruments but my main passion is art and design.
“A couple of months ago my mother passed away and in essence it pushed me to find a way to bring my project together.
“Over the past year I have put all of this together and launched a series of children’s books whereby I could combine all of those elements and produce something from start to finish entirely self-initiated.”
It was Thompson’s daughter Bella that inspired him to write the books.
“One evening we were flicking through Netflix for a programme to watch and she pointed at the skull logo from The Punisher and asked what that was,” he said.
“When I replied it is a programme called The Punisher, Bella replied Punish bear and laughed.
“It was as simple as that. I instinctively grabbed my iPad and began drawing some sketches of some teddy bears that would be similar to superheroes.”
The Uncuddibles: A Heroes Tale is the first book in the series which introduces the core seven characters.
Books Two and Three, Bony and the Ghost Dusters and The Hay Team invite readers to follow the journey of the bears as they embark on a number of adventures.
“In essence it’s about a small group of bears that were left rotting in an abandoned toy factory and one day they get an unexpected visitor that changes their lives by rewarding their kindness with a magic cake that fixes all of their defects and gives the bears enhanced super powers,” said Thompson.
“While this is a basic story that the kids absolutely love, I have used influences throughout my childhood in the 80s and 90s and added little bits of Easter eggs every now and then meaning that adults have also enjoyed reading the books with their children.”
On the day of the launch of the first book, Thompson discovered that he had already sold more than 120 copies on Amazon.
The books have now developed a dedicated fan base with children from the UK, US and Mexico contacting Thompson to express their love for his books.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” he said.
“The book signings have been completely overwhelming.”
Thompson will be attending a charity event for the Great Ormond Street Hospital in Colchester on August 27 with the books being awarded as prizes in the raffle.
He has also held multiple events at James Oglethorpe Primary School in Ashvale Gardens, Upminster, where pupils took part in a colouring competition.
He added: “I then chose an overall winner and published their winning colourings in the third book.
“The kids absolutely loved them.”
The author says he has many ideas for future Uncuddibles books and that there is already a Halloween and Christmas edition in the works.
His mother, Ren Thompson was in the process of making seven of The Uncuddibles as teddy bears for the launch of the books.
However she sadly died before finishing the first one.
With the help of his sister-in-law Linda Thompson, the final stitches of the character Shadow were completed and now the bear has become a special mascot that he hopes will provide him with good luck on his journey.
The Uncuddibles are available to buy on Amazon and via the Facebook page @theuncuddibles.