A special double act is proving a runaway hit with lockdown literature lovers.
Tammy and Monty have been spinning online yarns to keep the Covid blues at bay.
The masters of storytelling – and disguise – have been delighting young and old alike since April, and now there’s a special treat in store in the run-up to Christmas.
Acklam Community Hub and Library Assistant Tammy Andrews and nine-year-old jack Russell Monty took their talents online early in the first lockdown, and have provided a feast of entertainment ever since.
The dynamic duo have recorded more than 100 stories, including a six-costume-change special for Monty at the end of the school holidays.
The canine raconteur even found himself incorporated in an illustration session led by author Liz Million.
And now they’re gearing up for their very own online advent calendar, with 24 daily stories due to be published on the Middlesbrough Libraries Facebook page between Tuesday, December 1 and Christmas Eve.
Each video will contain a hidden letter which will ultimately form a phrase, with the online audience challenged to solve the ‘Countdown Conundrum’ and submit their entry by email.
Tammy and Monty will then be back on Monday, December 28 with a bonus Christmas video featuring a big clue to help viewers unscramble the phrase, with reading hampers packed with literary delights up for grabs for the winners in under-16 and adult categories.
Former teacher Tammy said: “We originally posted a couple of stories and it’s just grown and grown.
“Monty’s dressed up as everything from a pirate to a dinosaur, and we’ve both loved doing it.
“The comments we get make it all worthwhile – it’s just lovely to be able to give people something to smile about during such a difficult time.”
Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Communities & Education, said: “Lockdown has had an inevitable impact on everything we do as we strive to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“But you can’t keep a good story – or jack russell – down as Tammy and Monty have shown with their fantastic videos that have been a real ray of sunshine in difficult times.
“They’re a couple of true stars with a growing following, and I’m expecting stiff competition to solve their Advent Countdown Conundrum!”
• Tammy and Monty’s ever-growing collection of stories can be viewed via the Library Service Facebook page at www.facebook.Com/BoroLibraries