Soft toy obsession leads to book

David Chalmers reads to son Rio. Picture: Rob Carew

Three-year-old Rio Chalmers is never far from his beloved soft toy Foxy.

There was even a time when Rio constantly wore Foxy on his head, even if he was out in public.

The Berwick boy’s obsession with the toy fox inspired his father, David, to write a story about it.

Every night, Rio enjoyed listening to his father’s tale about the boy with the fox on his head.

David loved reading it too – although it never crossed his mind that other parents might also like to share the story with their children.

It was actually his wife, Fiona, who suggested he should try to get the story published.

“I sent a manuscript in and got a publishing contract straight away!” David said.

His book, aptly titled The Boy with a Fox on His Head, was released earlier this year.

David says it was his time as a stay-at-home dad which put him on the path to publishing.

Before becoming becoming Rio’s primary carer and arriving in Berwick, David ran a commercial relocation business in the UK for nine years.

“It was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done and one of the best things I’ve done as well,” he said of his time as a full-time stay-at-home dad.

“The book came about just from hanging out with him every day.
“To start with, he had one toy fox he just loved – he’s basically had it since he was born.

“The fox was from London. We ordered about five and over the years he’s found three, so know he walks around with three.

“He even went through a period where he wouldn’t take the fox off his head – he couldn’t be without it unless it was on his head!”

Rio loses Foxy at least once a week and often calls out for him at night.
In the book, Rio actually wants to go to sleep but his cheeky fox has other ideas.

David has written another three books which he hopes to have published this year.

“I have heaps of material just from spending time with him (Rio),” he said.

“Even though I’ve gone back to work part time, I get to hang out with Rio most of the time.

“I feel extremely really lucky to have had the opportunity to spend so much time with my son.

“There’s a big difference between being there and understanding there and getting on their level. Once you do it, opens up another world.

“There’s no need to ever sit down and think about what I write, I sit down and it just flows out.”

The Boy with The Fox on His Head is available on Amazon, Booktopia, Waterstones and the publisher’s website Austin Macaulay.