A NEW children’s Easter book is being launched in Manningtree this month – which will be followed by a library trail and craft activity.

Author Paul Diggen’s new book, Tom Tunnel and the Easter Bunny, is the sequel to Tom Tunnel and will be launched at Manningtree Library at 11am on Saturday, March 23.

Paul, who is from Elmstead Market, will introduce the idea behind Tom Tunnel before then reading out his first two books.

The Easter bunny will then arrive, giving out free chocolates to all the good children – mirroring the plot of the Easter-themed children’s book.

This will be followed by a library trail, where children can have fun exploring the library to learn about reading,  and an exciting art activities.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Characters - Paul Diggens said the character's were based off his grandchildren's interestsCharacters - Paul Diggens said the character's were based off his grandchildren's interests (Image: Submitted)

Paul revealed he was inspired by his filming of many routes at the front of trains in his 21-year-career with Colchester Hospital’s TV channel, and said: “I’ve been through so many tunnels - there is just something so mystical and magical about them.”

Paul praised Manningtree Library for welcoming his book launch with open arms and in particular Elaine Downs, library service team manager, for organising the event with him.

Paul said that his five grandchildren “just love” the Tom Tunnel stories and added: “They were so interested in the first Tom Tunnel book, they asked if they could appear in the second one.

“I photographed the five grandchildren individually and presented the pictures to my illustrator Ted Toms who has cartooned them very well.

"They appear on page 22 at the Easter egg hunt.”

Tom Tunnel, published in 2023, introduced Tom Tunnel and his good friend Bertie Bat in an adventure where the trains must be repaired following an earthquake.

While the second book, Tom Tunnel and the Easter Bunny sees the Easter Bunny burrowing from Germany to England to give out Easter eggs to all the good boys and girls.

But during the adventure, the milk train is de-railed putting the annual Easter egg hunt in danger.

Paul’s book is for three to nine year olds and is available from Amazon and all good bookshops priced £5.99.

To reserve a place at the book launch visit https://library-events.essex.gov.uk/event?id=116346