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Simple tales for young children with subtle well-being messages, originally written by th Author for his son, the Story Lad. You and your children can enter the world of the Four Friends – where the wild animals Tayley, Popp, Gully and Donnie live on and around a magical Scottish island. They enjoy many wonderful experiences together, and when things are not so good for them, or they do not understand troubling situations, they rely on each other for help.


These are books for reading out loud to little ones, or for confident young readers to read to themselves. Each book has hidden characters to find on the pages, and encourages them to discuss their own feelings, and to express them clearly to help others understand what is troubling them. 


The Author's gentle style of storytelling is accompanied by beautiful original paintings by Scottish artist Deirdre Malcolm.

Storylad boy image.jpeg
Tayley's Nest - meet Tayley the beaver
Tayleys nest.JPG

Young Tayley is very proud of the very first nest he made on a small loch on the island. But when a ferocious storm strikes the island, he is scared that his cosy home won't be strong enough to last the night. Then he is joined by his equally scared friend Popp, a small bird from the nearby town, who comes to his nest for shelter, and together they face their fears and comfort each other until the storm passes.

High-quality softback ISBN 978-1-909675-230
32 pages | Illustrated in high colour throughout   

PRICE £6.99 plus p&p

Brave Donnie - meet Donnie the dolphin
Brave Donnie Dave Johnson Deirdre Malcol

Donnie is the most playful dolphin in the sea around the Four Friends island. One day he sees an enormous dark creature coming towards him on the waves. He's never seen anything like it and is curious but scared and many thoughts rush through his mind. It isn't until one of his friends, Gully the seagull, swoops down to join him, that he is able to make sense of it all.

High-quality softback ISBN 978-1-909675-23-117

32 pages | Illustrated in high colour throughout   

PRICE £6.99 plus p&p

  Coming soon - Popp & Gully's stories

Popp is the small town bird, who helped Tayley out during the night of the storm in Tayley's Nest, but there are things that scare Popp too, as you will discover in Popp's Night Sky. The same goes for Gully the seagull, who reassured Donnie that the sea creature was not a monster. Gully sees all manner of strange things as he flies all over Scotland and sometimes needs help to make sense of them. 

About the author and the illustrator

Dave B Johnson Four Friends Tayleys Nest

David Brian Johnson - Storyteller
Dave is half-Scottish ex-mariner who now lives in Washington DC in America. He loves everything and anything to do with the sea, with wildlife, and with Scotland. These stories and characters were inspired by his young son, who loved hearing his father's comforting stories from the age of three, with their reliable characters and adventurous settings. Dave's motivation is to help young children explore and gain insights from their own boundless imaginations. His website "StoryLad" will be up and running soon, so you can follow Dave as he creates his other Four Friends' stories.

Deirdre Malcolm - illustrator 
Deirdre has a BA (Honours) in Fine Art and currently lectures in a Glasgow college. She was the first artist to 'get inside' Dave's head and envisage his characters in the way he wanted, applying her immense creativity, imagination and attention to detail. She lives in a rural village near to Loch Lomond where she is constantly inspired by the colours and moods of the nature around her. Her young grand-daughters, who live nearby, love watching Deirdre make these characters come to life on the many canvases dotted around her home.

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