Sometimes you meet a pair of brilliant storytellers, and you fall in love. That's certainly what happened to us when we encountered illustrator Nic George and writer Skye Byrne in Ojai, California, earlier this year.
They're the creators of The Power of Henry's Imagination, a children's book that fuses pen-illustration with photography to tell an epic story about a youngster and his lost rabbit toy.
It's only when his wise grandfather gets involved—and encourages the boy to use his imagination to solve his problem—that Henry's luck changes. On paper, the environment is vivid, featuring ice caves made from salt, an ocean made of bedsheets, and clothes-pins that double as crocodiles.
Together, they form Cuppa Cooish, a publisher of picture books. They explain the rather inventive name this way:
Cuppa coosih: a state of intense cozines; the comfort of a place; the aliveness of objects. Cuppa coish is a made-up word (as all words are), which refers to a state of warm, sweet, almost magical coziness that brings a feeling of comfort. Think: a crackling log fire in a stone cottage on a rainy afternoon. Cuppa cooish can also refer to the living character objects—the sense of aliveness that can emanate from inanimate "things." Think: your favorite childhood toy.
As Skye tells it, the entire idea is that "the world you imagine can be just as real as the world that's in front of your eyes."
For those of you hanging out in the Central Coast, Nic will be conducting a book signing on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Porch Gallery (310 E. Matilija Ave.) in Ojai. That's tomorrow. We hear there's a free second copy waiting for the first 20 people who arrive, so get there! There also might be a party afterward. (And Ojai parties are not to be missed.)
Check out the making-of video below. And whatever you do, pick up a copy for the youngster in your life this Christmas.