I spent the fall working on the visual designs for the characters that will populate this summer’s reading club that will be featured in libraries across British Columbia.
During that process, I naturally created stories and identities for each character. As an author, I’m used to writing those stories down, but in this case I needed to specifically concentrate on bringing the characters’ personalities alive with the pictures.
The theme for this year’s program is “Book a Trip” and the idea is that the characters embark on adventure via the wonder of a ship called The Portal Passport—it’s the book featured in the illustration at the top of this page. It has the power to chug through the air, submerge to the bottom of the seas, and rocket into space!
Well, this past week, my contact at the library, Cynthia Ford, asked if I would provide the specific biographies for each character. So I sat down to revisit my three critters for the first time in months, and am now pleased to present you with their official written backstories.
Amelia Squirrelheart, a flying squirrel
As pilot of the portal passport, Amelia doesn’t mind getting her paws dirty.
She loves adventure, whether its soaring to the top of the highest peak or diving to the bottom of the deepest ocean.
Amelia has the heart of an explorer—she’s happy as long as she has her ship, her trusty sidekicks, and the wind in her whiskers.
Caboodle Cogsworth, a travel bug
Often called “Cogs” by his friends, Caboodle is the navigator aboard the portal passport.
He is a rare species of insect known as the travel bug, which means he’s restless and can never stay in one place for long.
Unlike Amelia, he prefers to have a plan and is an expert in cartography, astronomy, and instrumentation.
He has many compasses, telescopes, and chronometers—some of them built-in—to help him keep the crew on course.
Fixxer, a polar bear
This friendly polar bear is the crew’s bookwright—or, as you might think of him, an engineer.
He’s responsible for keeping the portal passport running at tip-top shape, so is always tinkering away with his gadgets and gizmos to coax more adventure from the ship.
In truth, Fixxer isn’t quite as daring as his friends, so he’s always glad when they have a moment to pause, rest, and enjoy a frothy mug of ice-cold chocolate milk.
By the way, the BC Library Association is hard at work on the official website for this year’s provincial reading program. I’ve been fortunate to have a sneak peak at the wonderful animation being prepared by the web designer, Shayne Letain—and I can’t wait to show it!
Soon. Very soon . . .