While vacationing in Cape Cod, the girls and I have been attending weekly story times at the library and the village bookstore (as mentioned in my last post) where wonderful storytellers have shared all kinds of fiction and nonfiction books. My girls are always captivated by great readers and appreciate the novelty of someone new reading aloud to them. And I love taking notes on storytellers’ unique techniques and read aloud styles.

The highlight of these story times was when author and illustrator Bob Staake read his work on the bookstore porch. Bob happens to live a few doors down from our beach house and we often walk by his beautiful art studio on our way to and from the beach.


Bob read his recently published book, Beachy and Me. In this story, little lighthouse keeper Pixie Picklespeare feels lonely on her tiny island until a friendly whale washes ashore. When Pixie helps return Beachy to the ocean, they become friends. Beachy needs to migrate but he keeps his promise to return to visit his friend. We all love the book’s whimsical, amusing illustrations.


During Bob’s reading, he asked the assembled group if any publishing fun-spoilers in attendance knew the term for the endpapers, which I, half-proudly, half-sheepishly, supplied. (Endpapers are the pages at the beginning and end of a book, usually glued to the cover and in front of the first page. When illustrated, they add another area of a book to explore.) I love endpapers, and this book doesn’t disappoint with its fantastical treasure map illustrations. My 18-month-old has been pouring over them and says, “danger!” when she points to the cluster of shark fins in the ocean scene.


We already own Beachy and Me so when storytime was over and Bob offered his autograph, we bypassed the long line and headed home. AuthorSigning_4_cutBut when we saw Bob walking past our house a bit later, I called out to him and introduced myself. I asked if he’d be willing to sign our copy of Beachy and Me, and he happily obliged. He even shared a few cherries with us in our kitchen and told us that he once drew our house! My girls were so excited that Bob wrote their names AND drew a sketch of Beachy in their book. (Love the dedication, too!)

The icing on the cake was getting to enjoy the book with another very special reader, my sister and the girls’ Aunt Annie.


Go Beyond Reading…

  • Talk about what authors and illustrators do. Learn more about your favorite authors and illustrators at your library, online, or in the jackets of your best-loved books. You can sometimes find author interviews or recorded readings online.
  • Discover local authors and illustrators. Who lives and writes or illustrates in the towns you know and love? Explore their books and see if there are familiar images or themes that you can connect to your experiences and environments.
  • Conduct an author or illustrator study. Collect several books by the same author or illustrator. Display them and read them over the course of a week or so. Compare, contrast, discuss, and talk about themes or styles.
  • Be authors and illustrators. Encourage your child to write and illustrate an original story, or collaborate together on one that you can add to your family library.