The increased elf sightings around Chemainus can only mean one thing.
Author Craig Spence’s long-planned young reader’s book is nearing ever closer to its release.
Flibber T. Gibbet, An Adventure on the Hermit’s Trail, is a collaboration of Spence’s brilliant writing with an emphasis on local significance, and Durrand’s equally brilliant illustrations. After all, they’re a husband-and-wife team that needs no introduction to each other and their various components represent a perfect combination.
The title character is, of course, an elf and the title means flitty talk. “He likes playing tricks on people,” explained Spence.
Durrand said the plans for the book go back before COVID and it’s finally all coming to fruition.
“We started it out because our grandkids are Lincoln and Jake,” noted Spence.
Lincoln is eight and Jake almost four. They live in Ontario.
“We were just trying to do it for our grandkids,” added Spence. “It just kept morphing and growing. It became something more than that.”
The right illustrator for Spence’s tale was paramount and he knew just where to find her.
“They’re very colourful,” said Durrand of her illustrations. “We ended up with probably 35 illustrations throughout the book.”
“We tried to keep at least one illustration on every thread,” Spence noted.
It all begins with the colourful cover illustration, sure to catch any reader’s eye whether looking at an actual physical book or scanning online.
“The first thing visitors to the craigspencewriter.ca/flibber-t-gibbet page see is the book’s cover, not as a stand alone reproduction, but as one image in a slider sequence, which they can click through like flipping pages in a book,” elaborated Spence.
“In that first frame they get to: meet the main troublemaker of the story, Flibber T. Gibbet; see protagonist Lincoln Cranston, running up the Hermit’s Trail, where the story is set; and gain a sense of the audience the book is written for.”
There’s much more in store within the book to hook readers at every page turn. And these stories, although directed at the young, are also as much for the young at heart to be shared with the whole family.
“I read The Wind In The Willows as part of my work-up to this,” said Spence.
“I hope I see adults reading it to their kids as an excuse for reading it themselves.”
“There’s a lot of adult humour in it, too,” explained Durrand. “We used all local scenes in and around Chemainus.”
“There’s only two or maybe three we went to a graphic site and pulled an illustration,” Spence indicated.
All that’s needed now is a release date.
“It’s all laid out,” said Spence. “We’ve got some proofing to do. We’ve got one illustration we’re in a tug-of-war over.”
It’s all part of the process and especially for this well-connected team to get it just right. Stay tuned and also watch for a full feature on Spence in the weeks ahead.