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Curly Tale Books

Curly Tale Books is an independent publisher run by author/illustrator Shalla Gray, specialising in children’s picture books set in the beautiful countryside of South-West Scotland. The business is proud to hold a Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Chartermark, which exemplifies their ethos of supporting local businesses, protecting our environment and educating children about the amazing country we live in.

Curly Tale Books uses local authors and illustrators in their publications and print in the UK on 100% recycled paper.

Curly Tale Books highlights

Saving Gracie

Gracie was a dairy cow, her tag said 812, She lived in green and bonny Galloway… Based on a true story, Gracie’s life follows the peaceful rhythms of the dairy farm until one day she falls ill. Who can fix her sore feet and help Gracie get back to her friends?

This book from Curly Tale Books is beautifully illustrated in watercolour, with a gentle rhyming story by Shalla Gray. Suitable for ages 3–7.

Mustard & Pepper

When Sir Walter Scott’s youngest daughter loses her necklace, the Dandie Dinmont terriers Mustard and Pepper want to try and find it – but will it ever be their turn? Join the Scott children and their dogs on a hunt around Abbotsford for the missing necklace. Will Mustard and Pepper save the day?

Written by the voice of the Edinburgh Tattoo, Alasdair Hutton, Mustard and Pepper features fantastic illustrations by William Gorman, and has proved a hit with Dandie Dinmont fans all over the world!

Strange Visitor

In a cottage in the woods on a cold, dark night an old woman sat by the fireside. She rocked and rocked and sipped her tea and wished she had some company. The wind blew. The door creaked. In came… The twitchy tale of a wily old woman, wide-eyed cat, wild weather and the weird appearance of a very strange visitor.

A traditional Scots tale retold in English and in Scots by Renita Boyle and illustrated in a dark graphic novel style by Mike Abel. This highly unusual book has proved a big hit with reluctant readers. Suitable for all ages.

Nip Nebs

Ootby in the shaddies o the pale moonlicht… A glittering tale in Scots about Jack Frost and what he gets up to when the moon is shining bright. Explore the frosty landscape and find all the creatures and faerie folk in these enchanting illustrations.

Written by Susi Briggs and illustrated by Ruthie Redden, Nip Nebs was shortlisted for The Scots Bairns Book of the Year in 2019.

Charlotte's Woolly Yarn

Charlotte was a little lamb, born in a Galloway spring. She grew a fluffy, woolly fleece, the very warmest thing… Follow Charlotte as she travels around the beautiful countryside of Dumfries & Galloway in search of her lost fleece.

Now in its third edition, Charlotte’s Woolly Yarn is a much-loved tale which showcases the beauty of Dumfries & Galloway with full-colour watercolour illustrations and a gentle rhyming story. Written and illustrated by Shalla Gray.

Big Bill's Beltie Bairns

Come over the hills to meet Big Bill the Bull’s Beltie Bairns. There’s a spring surprise in store for Bertie and Buntie of Benyellary Farm. Will it be frightening or friendly? Find out by following them on their first trip out into the fields.

The sequel to Big Bill the Beltie Bull, written by Jayne Baldwin and illustrated by Shalla Gray, the Beltie Bairns have proved a big hit with children aged 3–7.

Sammy the Rainbow Snail

When some friendly worms invite Sammy the Rainbow snail on a wriggle to the riverbank, he thinks it’s a great idea. But when Thomson Thrush gets involved, things don’t quite go as planned…

The second children’s book written by comic book legend Alan Grant, psychedelically illustrated by his daughter, Shalla Gray.


Brownies are very helpful creatures: welcome in every Scottish household, doing chores, while the family sleeps. All they ask in return is their tea, and a wee chair by the fire to warm their toes. But it turns out that not all Brownies are so friendly… Meet Wheedleneeps – a Brownie who only cares about one thing – turnips! His obsession with the humble neep has serious consequences for all the creatures in Knockbreck Wood.

A dark faerie tale with a strong moral message, Wheedleneeps is written by Sandy McKnight, with pen and ink illustrations throughout by Shalla Gray.