About this project
BEHOWL THE MOON: An Ageless Story from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
What is it?
A beautifully illustrated 22-page board book telling a story via Puck’s lines from Act V of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Who is it for?
The book was designed for children ages 0-3 and their caregivers, so it’s sturdy, nontoxic, and fun. But anyone who loves Shakespeare—or lovely, whimsical art—will love it.
What’s special about it?
This is literature for everyone, wrapped up in gorgeous original art, and organized into a funny, heartwarming story featuring stand-ins for the most beloved characters of the play. Because the text is rhyming, rhythmic, and associated with a visual story, small children have lots of reasons to enjoy it. Because it's made up of some of the best-beloved words of the most celebrated poet of the English language, anyone reading it to a child will have a great time too. This is a board book you'll be proud you memorized.
Why is Behowl the Moon good for kids?
- Hearing verse and wordplay helps kids learn to speak and communicate, especially when it’s repeatable. Fun sounds are fun sounds no matter how old you are. But rhymes and rhythm are common in books for the very young because they help kids learn what to expect, and how to understand new words in context. (Literal pictures help with this too.) Repetition solidifies that knowledge, so reading the same books over and over is useful, even though it’s hard on adults.
- Stories (as opposed to primers or unrelated collections of words and pictures) teach cause and effect, empathy, and problem-solving skills. Almost all stories follow a character or group of characters as they face adversity, consider their options, decide to act, and discover the consequences of what they’ve done. These patterns repeat throughout time and geography and become the backbone of how we understand our world.
There’s a reason for that. Stories have immense power: to put us in someone else’s shoes, to try out different philosophies, to teach us from the experience of others.
And if all that isn’t enough, they simply entertain us—the heart of the story is “What happens next?”
- Time with an adult and a book reinforces the value of reading. Children benefit hugely from being read to by a person they love. Secure relationships are extremely important when children are very young, and tying those relationships to the activity of reading increases the chances of fostering it in the children themselves. The importance of reading for independence, school readiness, and academic achievement is well documented—but it has to start somewhere.
- Fun for adults means more benefit for kids. The more excitement and enthusiasm the reader brings to the text, the more fun small children are likely to have, and the more positive they will feel about reading and books in general. This is the perfect opportunity to ham up your performance for an adoring audience. And if you and your child enjoy storytime more, you may find more opportunities to add stories into your day—with Behowl the Moon or any other book that sings to you.
Why is Behowl the Moon good for parents and caregivers?
-"Read it again!" without the dread. With rhyming, rhythmic text, repetition, and pictures relating to the words, board books are pretty easy to memorize. If a child takes a shine to a particular book, it's not uncommon to end up reading it ten times in a day or fifty in a week. And grownups are people too!
- Learn some Shakespeare while you play. With Behowl the Moon, the text you're reading is intended to be memorized--actors have been doing it for hundreds of years. It lends itself to lots of fun interpretations your child will love, like animal noises, fairy voices, Oscar bait voices, and creepy voices. And when it comes right down to it, you're reading Shakespeare. There are in-jokes and references, mythological allusions, wordplay on an adult level. It sounds fantastic declaimed to a captive audience. And there's a lot more depth to the meaning than something created expressly for the diaper set.
- Twenty-two pages of escape. On a day when everyone has hopped on Pop or are-you-my-mothered you half to distraction, some Elizabethan theater can really flip your terrible horribles around. The artwork isn't just gorgeous, it calls back to the Rude Mechanicals of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Folklore and tradition are wound through the illustrations. Nothing about this work is cartoonish or dumbed down.
How will the book be made?
The book will be professionally illustrated with original art by Mehrdokht Amini. Her past work has earned awards including:
- American Library Association Notable Book 2013
- PubWest 2013 Book Design Awards Gold Winner
- Best Children’s Africana Book Award 2016 from Africa Access Review and the African Studies Association
- Parents' Choice Approved Book
- Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2013 – starred for Outstanding Merit
- CCBC Choices 2013 from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
More of Mehrdokht's work:
The aesthetics and layout of the art and text and the supervision of printing and press specifics will be handled by Sheila Parr, who has specialized in book design for 11 years.
Text is fully complete, written by William Shakespeare and presented verbatim. Editorial questions and storyboard fall to Erin Nelsen Parekh, an editor and writer with 13 years’ experience in publishing, a lover of children's literature, and a general-purpose word dork.
Printing and materials certification will be completed by an experienced and established book printing press with a track record of on-time delivery, highest-quality products, and long-term cooperation with top U.S. publishers. The specific printer will be selected based on schedule and pricing quotes finalized November 2016.
Book files are expected to be complete by December 1, 2016. This means the e-book and all art products should be shipped in time for Christmas.
Due to the long schedule required by high-quality cost-effective book printing, the physical reward copies of the book are expected to ship to supporters in April 2017.
What will the funds do?
We are asking for $15,000 to complete the project. This will pay for the remainder of the illustrations, page and cover design, printing, and shipping—everything it takes to get the book and its art out of the realm of imagination and into your hands. Absolute costs will vary based on how many we print. Here's a general breakdown of costs:
Risks and challenges
Risks to a project can come from many directions--everything from global politics affecting print schedules to family emergencies affecting our collaborators. But everyone involved with this project has worked on many similar projects before for our clients, and we are used to handling problems if things don't go quite as planned.
Some of the potential issues we are watching include:
- Print delays: Because print schedules are comparatively long to begin with, there is usually time to make up for any snags that arise due to complications with the process. But we have made sure there is room in the schedule to handle additional surprises too. We do not anticipate any issues in getting books to readers by April 30, 2017 or earlier.
- Personal issues: If anyone should have to step away from the project before it's completed, that would be a huge blow. We are communicating clearly, leaving paper trails, and knocking on wood to prevent this. In the event of an emergency, there is also time built into most stages to provide flexibility.
- Shipping delays: Shipping and fulfilling a large number of rewards can be a tough problem, but we are happy to plan for success. If the project beats its targets, we will have additional resources to apply to shipping and fulfillment backups, which should help keep the supply of books and the demand for labor in balance.
If you have any particular issues on your mind, go ahead and shoot Erin an email or ask via the FAQs!
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