It has been a fantastic run for music teacher Julie Hughes and artist Kate Sharpley.
This P.E.I. author and illustrator pair’s second book, The Fantastic Christmas, has been released on Amazon Kindle, just in time for the 2012 holiday season, which means it’s virtually available for all ebook readers now.
Last year around this time, this same book had reached No. 1 on the iBookstore’s children and teen chart.
“The beauty of this one is that it’s simple and it’s fun, which is what a kid’s book should be. It should make you smile,” Sharpley says of their book, which actually started out as a song.
“It’s always a lot easier to read a story that rhymes. You automatically get into a rhythm with the words and it makes it flow nicer.”
Hughes composed the song as a fun addition to a seasonal sing-along for students at her daughter’s school.
It tells the tale of a principal of a make-believe school who discovers some magical visitors as he is about to lock up on a night leading up to Christmas.
He is quickly caught up in a fantastical whirlwind of Christmas, starting with reindeer on the second floor, followed by snowmen jamming with instruments, gingerbread men in the
gym putting up trees and more.
“I taught it to the kids and they sang it.
“And then after school (when) I was there getting my daughter a lot of the kids were coming up to me and saying how much fun it was and how they liked it,” Hughes remembers.
So Sharpley took those magical lyrics words to her drawing board and brought them to illustrated life and their joint tale, The Fantastic Christmas, was born.
“I think we have a very similar sense of humour and also our experience — we both work with kids — we work well with kids and I think we’re both big kids really,” Sharpley laughs.
Their first ebook, The Fantastic Garden, which is a catchy lyrical tale about seeds that spout into humorous whimsical creatures, has been sold around the world. They have also just received a grant from the P.E.I. Council of the Arts for their next book, The Fantastic Beach, which will be set at West Point, P.E.I.
The two moms, who crossed paths through their children a few years ago, hope their holiday tale will become a Christmas classic that parents will read to their children and eventually their grandchildren in the future.
“It would be fantastic!” Sharpley laughs.