THE New Forest is renowned for its roaming ponies, but when you’re used to seeing kangaroos and wallabies out of your bedroom window, it’s quite a sight.

Brockenhurst mum Lynsey Davis moved from her native New Zealand in 2010, and was so taken with the animals her son Max will grow up with that she wanted to create something special.

Teaming up with friend and local artist Bobby Sephton, the pair set about writing their very own tactile children’s book.

“I had Max at the end of September 2010 and for Christmas that year a lot of our friends from New Zealand sent Max books, and they seemed to be predominantly about animals that he could have grown up with had we stayed in New Zealand,” Lynsey explained.

“I thought, now Max was seeing all these new, wonderful animals from his bedroom window, I wanted to send back something Max sees.”

Lynsey and Bobby, who had always wanted to be involved in a children’s book, set about finding the funds to self-publish their book, titled Max Went to the New Forest.

The board book is aimed at children aged up to four years and has a tactile section on each page, along with brightly coloured, hand-painted pictures of local animals, a story, and interesting facts about the wildlife.

“I wanted it just Forest,” said Lynsey, 34, “and I wanted just 100 copies to give out to family and friends and dish out to locals.

“But it doesn’t just happen in the UK, everything gets sent to China because in the UK you don’t have any printers that print on hard enough card.”

Lynsey and Bobby eventually found a printer with a base in Southampton and decided that was close enough, but had to place a minimum order of 7,000 copies.

“It turned into a business-type project, so now it’s mammoth,” laughed Lynsey.

The book finally arrived in June and the pair were, thankfully, thrilled with the result.

It’s clear a lot of thought has gone into the project.

The ladies’ company is called Badgerwood – the meaning of Brockenhurst – and the book even features the red and white colours of the local Southampton Football Club, as well as a “don’t feed the ponies” sign, a key local message.

“We put in little facts, because we wanted it to be 0-4,” explained Bobby.

“There is a lot to point out for a toddler, the clothing changes, the season changes.

“There are three layers – the touchy feely, the story and there’s a fact with each page so even the adults can learn something.”

The book is currently stocked online at Waterstones, as well as in local campsites, tourist information centres and shops in Brockenhurst, as well as Lulubelle’s Tearoom in Canford Cliffs.

Lynsey and Bobby are open minded about a follow-up – first, they have to shift those 7,000 copies.

“They are selling well,” said Lynsey.

“But when we cover our costs, then we might take stock and see whether we would do another one.

“We could go to other National Parks, or could stay in the New Forest and look at bird watching, or cycling.

“There’s lots of scope there.”

  • Max Went to the New Forest is priced £4.99, from