A DEVOTED dad is hoping to encourage children to love books with an illustrated story he wrote for his young daughter.

The Tale of the Greedy Fish has been a firm favourite with Dennis Thompson’s two-year-old girl Heidi.

Now, he is using crowd funding through the internet to publish 1,000 copies which he plans to give to schools, libraries and charities.

So far he has raised more than 90 per cent of the £2,800 he needs thanks to Kickstarter.com, which allows people to pitch projects for funding, from £1 to more than £200.

Those who back the scheme will receive free books, T-shirts and mugs and the satisfaction of introducing young children to the literary world.

Dennis, 38, who lives with his wife Gemma, 36, in Eastcote Grove, Southend, said: “It started about seven years ago when I had the idea to write a poem.

“Then when my daughter was born on August 14, 2012, I thought I could do something for her first birthday – so that’s when I started working on the book.

“I thought it would be a nice present for her and something creative for me to do.

“Now she is almost two, and the project is nearly finished. We are nearly there, but we must raise the full amount or you don’t get the funding at all.

“I did it through Kickstarter because it is expensive to just get one book printed.

“This way I can get 1,000 printed and have a book for Heidi and, after sending the investors their books, I can give the rest away as a children’s literacy project. It’s totally non-profit making.”

The funding amount will cover printing costs, Kickstarter expenses for commission and other fees.

The 44-page colourful book is about Greedy Fish, who eats all his town’s food and is sent into the depths of the sea as punishment.

Adventurous pirate treasuretype stuff happens, and with luck on his side, Greedy finally redeems himself.

The Barnardo’s childrens charity is set to receive 200 of the books and two other charities are interested in the project, along with schools and libraries.

Dennis said: “I used to work in a library and children’s literacy is something that’s very important to me.”

The Tale of the Greedy Fish is available as a book, pdf or narrated video. To see the video on Kickstarter.com search greedy fish or visit www.kickstarter.

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