Have fun with the Cones: Helping Corporate Britain educate children
Meet the Cones! Conestance, Conerad, Cone-Vera and Conen. Yes, there are some stray ‘e’s in there – Cones need Cone names!
The Meet the Cones ‘conecept’ was born following countless journeys up and down the M1 and sitting, inevitably, in road works surrounded by big-foot traffic cones. To turn this negative into a positive, Author Chris Madeley, wondered what would happen if they came to life and were a force for good. We know that Cones have a life of their own – just look around and see what they get up to and where they end up when no-one is looking.
In book one, Meet the Cones, Conestance and Conerad were to be the heroes of the hour, but in book two, Cones Make New Friends, Cone-Vera and Conen joined them to become the four intrepid Cones who are always looking for new adventures and who want to learn a thing or two. Perpetually fascinated by human behaviour, our four very different characters are on a mission to learn about the human world:
⇒ how to have fun and keep safe
⇒ how to be good friends and think of others
⇒ embrace differences in others
⇒ have lovely manners
⇒ learn who may keep them safe
⇒ live with each other in the best possible way
The four friends have Guardians who make sure they are safe. There is Police Car, a friendly, helpful and very ‘conecerned’ individual. Next, we have Wise Owl who silently glides around unobtrusively always keeping an eye on the Cones. New Moon, rather a mischievous character who brought them to life in the first place by sprinkling magic moon dust all over them, is the ultimate being who, should the need arise, puts everything right.
So, our Cones set off on many journeys. Their adventures are usually only a day long and take them to many different places where they learn to have fun but always keep safe, have respect for and look after their environment. Chris uses the stories to also encourage children of each sex to see various opportunities for careers in areas which historically have been rather one-sided.
Here are some examples of their adventures: they learn how to be safe on the roads, in car parks and in towns. They are fascinated by water and learn to enjoy the waterfront but respect their environment and the nature around them. Cones are intrigued by the way humans travel and have great fun in a railway station and on a train, get into serious trouble and learn to keep safe both on trains and track-side. The four friends meet a Cone who has come over from America bringing Biomass to a power station. They learn how electricity is made and the importance of sustainability and ecology. The owners of the power station have made a nature reserve out of the waste from the process, so the Cones pay a visit and learn to respect the different environments inhabited by various creatures and to be aware of the importance of protecting endangered species.
So, what do Meet the Cones have to do with Corporate Britain, you may ask. Chris works with corporate organisations who are fully committed to playing their part in bringing their particular sphere to the children in the environs in which the company is engaged in work. For example, Cones on Site works with a Construction company to explain what is going on, health and safety issues, the need for correct PPE. The Cones come to their own ‘coneclusion’ that this is seriously dangerous and is not a playground. Cones in the Roadworks deals with the important issues regarding respect for road workers and the need to obey signage.
Chris conducts hands-on research with the commissioning company/organisation to ensure that the books are factually correct, getting muddy, going into coffer dams, scaling the heights of new constructions etc! The Meet the Cones stories only goes to illustration once the text has been signed off. Once the commissioning company has used their book for their target audience, it is “de-branded” and available to others. Cones on Site, for example, commissioned by Caddick, de-branded at their instigation and submitted to Considerate Constructors and has been vetted, accepted and now appears on the best practice section of their website for children’s safety. This book is also now going to be used by another very large construction firm, the books being presented to children in schools local to where they are building and the characters appearing on their safety fencing to remind children not to enter.
Titles to date:
- Meet the Cones – establishes the need for Cones and how they came alive
- Cones Make New Friends – teaches children about motorways, how to keep safe in a car park and is now translated into Portuguese to go to Brazil and Portugal
- Cones and Electricity – commissioned by Northern Powergrid to help children to understand the dangers of electricity outside
- Cones on Site – as above
- Cones on the Waterfront – commissioned by Bam Nuttall to show children how to keep safe in various water-related environs and respect the ecology of the area
- Cones on the Rails – winner of the UK Rail Industry Awards, Passenger Safety category 2017. Commissioned by Grand Central Rail.
- Cones, Power and Nature – Commissioned by Drax Power Station
- Cones in the Roadworks – Publishing this autumn, as mentioned above.
- Cones and the Powercut – Publishing this autumn. Northern Powergrid’s 2nd commission to explain the Priority Services Register and encourage children to be good citizens and think of others
- Cones Visit the Children’s Hospital – Commissioned by Leeds Children’s Hospital Charitable Trust to help children who have to go into hospital.
- Cones Learn Road Safety – in the research and development stage, Publishing Spring 2019
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