By Nancy A. Olson, Special to the Reformer
PUTNEY — How does a children’s picture book get made?
Students in pre-kindergarten to grade three at Putney Central School had the opportunity to find out when author Jamie Scanlon and illustrator Ellen Tumavicus talked about their book, “Ralph Flies the Coop: A Tail of Transformation,” on Friday, March 17.
“First, you have to get an idea,” Scanlon said to the students assembled in the gym. “That’s the place the story starts. That’s where it started for me.”
Scanlon, who has traveled widely and enjoys learning languages, wanted to help children understand the joys of both those interests. The idea for the book first came to her when she was teaching English to students in Japan. The topic of farm animal sounds came up. Her students demonstrated how Japanese farm animals sound.
In the story, Ralph the Rooster decides to leave the farm and see other places. So he hitches a ride on the back of a Canada goose, and they travel around the world. In each new country, Ralph learns how to say “Cock-a-doodle-doo” in the local language. Learning the language helps him to make new friends in each place.
Once the story is written, the next step is to find an illustrator to create the pictures that bring the story to life. Tumavicus, who teaches art at PCS, seemed the perfect artist to make that happen.
“Jamie and I met each other way back, 20 years ago at the University of Massachusetts,” Tumavicus said. “Since then, we’ve both traveled around the world having lots of adventures. Then we met each other again,” both living in Brattleboro.
Their publisher is Dede Cummings…
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