Creating Two Tall Tales: An illustrated, popup storybook
Creating Two Tall Tales: An illustrated, popup storybook
TWO TALL TALES will be a storybook (with art, pop-ups and audio) about how giraffes got their long necks—by being caring and brave.
TWO TALL TALES will be a storybook (with art, pop-ups and audio) about how giraffes got their long necks—by being caring and brave. Read more
About this project
Hello! I, Beatrice Tall, and my twin brother, Stanley, are the official spokes-giraffes for Ann Medlock's campaign to create a book called Two Tall Tales, stories that Stan and I wrote for human kids. We all work for the Giraffe Heroes Project, a nonprofit that “enCourages today’s heroes and trains tomorrow’s.”
The Project mostly does stuff for grown-ups. Look at the Giraffe website. It’s awesome. You'll find stories there of over 1400 inspiring, real-life people who have stuck their necks out for the common good. There's also a lot of good stuff to help grownups and big kids be caring, involved citizens of this world, living meaningful lives, like the lives of those 1400 Giraffe Heroes.
And we get to talk to kids who can’t even read yet, and to their a-little-bit-older brothers and sisters who can read. Our job is to tell them stories that connect with their hearts and bring out the caring that’s in all of them. We don’t tell little kids to be nice, to share, to care about everyone around them—we just tell them stories about doing that—and they get it. Because they're bright and observant and they really do care.
WHAT'S TWO TALL TALES ABOUT?
Stan's story is what Grandfather told him about a boy giraffe (back when giraffes all had short necks). That boy giraffe got a really long neck by stretching to reach the highest leaves on trees, pulling them down for all the hungry short-necked giraffes.
The story Grandmother told me is about a girl giraffe way back then, who got super tall watching out for lions so she could warn other giraffes when they were in danger.
Stan and I tell both stories and then figure out what must have happened. All of it’s about caring and showing it, and being brave when that’s hard, just like all the Project’s work in the world.
WHAT DO KIDS THINK OF OUR STORIES?
We get kids to quiver at the challenges the short-necked giraffes face, and to be relieved and delighted when being brave and caring makes things get better. We’ve already gotten thousands of kids being brave, caring members of their own families and communities, like the giraffes in our stories.
SO WHY IS THIS ON KICKSTARTER?
Up to now, the stories have been available only in schools and only as audio.
It's time now for our stories to grow into a book, a book that can be given to kids to hold, to look at, to read from, to read again, to share.
When we found out that small investments by crowds of individual backers on Kickstarter are making lots of good things happen, we decided to go for it.
With Kickstarter investors we'll be able to bust out of schools and into the hands of kids everywhere, in a beautiful, intriguing, inspiring book. Ann, the woman at the Giraffe Heroes Project who thought us up, is determined to make that happen.
ANN MEDLOCK, OUR EDITOR/PRODUCER
Here's what we mean by "determined." Take a look at Ann when she was a little kid herself, setting out for who knows where. And as she is now, a seasoned time traveler, turning 80 in the merry month of May 2013 and still one reeeally resolute human, setting out to get this book to kids!
Ann started the Giraffe Heroes Project when she was 50. Three decades down the road, the Project’s progress and achievements show that she’s done a heck of a job. (And we think our book will be the next fabulous thing.)
WHO ELSE HAS BEEN WORKING ON THIS?
Ann got Neal Starkman, a guy who’s written lots of great books for kids, to help us write the stories.
That’s Neal, looking very serious as he wrote down what we told him. But he’s actually pretty funny. Here’s what he wrote when we asked him for his bio: “Neal Starkman holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology; is the author of numerous books, videos, prevention programs, and magazine articles; and has memorized many of the words in the dictionary, but not in sequence. To help himself focus, he occasionally pretends he’s someone else.”
Ann commissioned original music composed and performed by Court Crawford, and directed a recording session of Equity actors Lydia Boykin and Ramon MacLane doing our voices.
Visionary foundations believed in our work for schools and put up the money to get all that done for classrooms—$68,100! We have the stories, we have the recording, and we've tested and proved their power to reach kids' hearts.
Now there HAS to be a book. And it has to be for kids everywhere--in libraries, in homes, anywhere.
OUR PLAN FOR CREATING THE BOOK
The plan for Two Tall Tales is so spectacular, it's going to be a prize winner and a treasured collector's item--we just know it. It'll be 32 colorful, illustrated pages—13 inches high and 5 inches wide—tall and skinny, like us. All the pages will be thick, stiff paper—great for small hands. Some of those pages will have pull-tabs and popups—when the giraffes in the words get long necks, the giraffes in the art will get long necks too, right there on the pages.
(Did you know that movable book pages grab kids' attention and increase their absorption of a story? And it's definitely known that pull-tabs and popups make people of all ages grin with delight.)
Meet the paper engineer and the artist who are set to make our spectacular plan a reality...
International award-winning master engineer of pop-up books Andrew Baron has agreed to design movable parts so you'll be able to watch the giraffes' necks actually get longer right on the pages. He’s going to supervise production, and he knows everything about making pop-up books. You can watch him engineering one of his other books by clicking here:
Andrew is one of only six paper engineers worldwide to win the top honor for pop-up books, the Movable Book Society Meggendorfer Prize. His books can be found in national institutions as well as in notable private collections around the world. Andrew's awards include a book that won a Parenting Magazine Best Book and a Newsweek Top Pick for Kids.
He’s already figured out how the popup will work at the end of Two Tall Tales, when all the giraffes get long necks. He's done the first mockup for this grand finale—he'll do more refinements when the book is funded and the art is finished, in glorious color. Just look at this!
WE THINK THAT'S THE COOLEST THING WE EVER SAW! We've been playing it over and over. Are you grinning? We sure are.
We can't wait to see what Andrew and our artist create together for the rest of the book!
Dorit Zingarelli has designed and illustrated for theater, galleries, publications, corporations and non-profits in several countries, but her favorite thing is being outside, in the grass. (We like that too.) Dorit has all the sketches completed for Two Tall Tales and is poised to turn them into full-color paintings. Here's one of those first quick sketches--
When that's finished, full-color art, on just one of our 32 illustrated pages... Wow!
Here's Dorit and her drawing table. We want her back at that table, drawing us and all the other characters in Two Tall Tales.
And here's a sample of some of her other work for kids~
Stan and I are going to look so good when we’re in color like this. (My baseball cap's purple. Stan's is green.)
THE SOUND TRACK
There will be a professionally mastered audio CD right in the book so kids who are too little to read can listen, over and over and…
All the details about all the Rewards are over in the right-hand column, but we thought you ought to see these pictures—and they won't fit over there in that skinny space.
You've seen Dorit's alphabet—she's going to sign copies of that as one of our Rewards, and she's hosting a bocce party in her beautiful garden on Whidbey Island as a higher level Reward. We'd like to play in this garden ourselves.
The Giraffe Heroes Project is offering 40 quotes on business-sized cards. Each quote is about caring and service, like these:
The Project is also providing decks of Giraffe Hero Trading Cards, 30 faces and stories of real heroes and 10 blank card for filling in your own heroes' faces and stories. The cards look like this:
The editor is offering lunch with her, the artist, and maybe the writer, at her house, also on Whidbey Island, and for a higher level pledge, a whole weekend there. The house looks like this—you can see there's a lunch going on, out in the sun, over there on the right of the picture. But we can't guarantee sunshine; the island is in the Pacific Northwest.
Sooo much of Two Tall Tales is done already—$68,100 worth of writing and recording and disc-making and distributing and testing, already completed and paid for!
But the Project doesn't have the money to create the book. We need to guarantee Dorit and Andrew's studio time, print the first edition of books and get them into stores on-line and on Main Streets, and to Kickstarter backers. That's going to cost $68,080.
We were surprised that it's almost the same amount the Giraffe Heroes Project has already invested in these stories, but we checked the spreadsheet and there it is on the bottom line—$68,080. We can do this.
It's gonna work if everybody who likes what we're doing pledges to add a little toward that big number. Just choose the reward you want, a small one or a big one. And think about how good Two Tall Tales is going to be.
Would you like the kids in your life to have this amazing book?
Would you like courage and caring to be part of their lives and the lives of thousands of other kids?
And don't you want Ann to have the best 80th birthday present imaginable--meeting our goal?
AND YES, WE'VE GOT A "STRETCH GOAL"
We have to tell you that we have our hooves crossed, hoping that you like this sooo much—and other Kickstarter people like this so much—that we go over our goal and can print more books—many, many more!
Are you with us?
Please choose your reward and pledge now so we can stop chewing our hooves about this. We want to tell Ann that these great stories are going to get into the hands and hearts of thousands more kids--because you kicked in!
Risks and challenges
We thought it might be a problem for the creative team to be in different states but technology is carrying the day--plus the enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment of all hands. Using their smart phones, Skype and emails to collaborate, and the cloud for sharing big files, Andy, Dorit, Ann and our tech mavens, Gary Croft and Karyn Watkins are moving the work along smoothly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Only a couple of people have asked, but that might mean others are wondering, without asking.
Short answer: Because it will be 32 cardstock pages, with color and art on every page, plus popups and pulltabs--and a sound track.
The details: Two Tall Tales will be 32 colorful, art-filled pages, all of them light cardstock, not thin paper, and some of those pages will MOVE. On the pages where the words say the giraffes get long necks, they will actually DO that. Pulltabs and popups are so perfect for the text, they seem inevitable—the book will have magic because of them.
Movable books are an ancient art, going back centuries. All the moving parts are added to the pages by skilled hands placing die-cut parts on hundreds of glue points. No machines can do this. Machined books are inexpensive to produce. And they can be printed-on-demand, in small batches. A handmade popup book needs a minimum print run of 5,000 copies to keep each copy from costing hundreds of dollars!
And then there’s sound. Two Tall Tales will include a complete sound track of the text, with the stories read by Equity actors, and music composed and performed just for these stories. Our backers aren’t paying for that work—it’s all done and paid for. But we are funding the tech part of including the sound in each copy of the book.
The technologies of the 14th century and the 21st in one book. It’s a beautiful mashup. And the result will be unlike any book you’ve seen in a bookstore—unique, magic, collectible. It will be a WONDROUS gift to the children in your life. We wouldn’t offer them anything less.
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