by Michael Spring, illustrated by Deborah Ann Dawson
Left Fork is excited to announce the release of a fun children’s book by two award-winning artists. Written by Michael Spring and illustrated by Deborah Ann Dawson, readers of Woodwoo will enter the little-known world of a “little” (though still eight squirrels tall) sasquatch, and learn what makes him “woo.”
This is the first children’s book for Spring, though he has earned numerous national awards for his poetry, including the Turtle Island Poetry Award. Spring has had a long-standing and creative relationship with Rogue Valley native Dawson, an award-winning watercolor artist. A previous book, Ravenwood, featured Michael’s poetry alongside Deborah’s watercolor art.
Spring initially wrote the story for his grandchildren who liked to go squatching when visiting him and their grandmother Hazel on their property called Treesong. “At first, Woodwoo was a ‘little’ sasquatch character and poem as a gift for (and inspired by) my grandchildren. But after many months, I shared the poem with a couple friends, and with encouragement, I further developed Woodwoo. Once I had the book written, and ready to do a final rewrite, I then asked Deborah if she wanted to be the illustrator. It was wonderful working with her as we then worked together developing Woodwoo’s image.”
Adds Dawson, “I tried to develop a ‘sasquatchy’ character, as child-friendly as I could, without making him too human-looking or scary. This was very challenging. I’m not sure I completely achieved this result, though the book has been kid-approved.”
The October 8 book release celebration at the Southern Oregon Guild featured two events. Dawson presented a unique workshop, “Creating a Storybook Character,” sharing more the ins and outs of creating a character like Woodwoo. Following the workshop was the official release event, with a book reading and signing by the creators.