Former and founding editor Doug Van Pelt has stayed busy since selling off HM Magazine in the spring of 2013. Besides maintaining his blog at HMmagazine.com, his band Lust Control just released an album, he’s designing billboards and other marketing materials, as well as online publications for the popular GO TEXAN program at the Texas Department of Agriculture, he has recently written and illustrated a children’s early reader book called Bobby Baby Bear.
“Around the same time that I wrote my novel, Desert High, the entire plot for this children’s story just kind of downloaded into my brain,” says Van Pelt. “I cranked it out and laid it out in book format, but spent the last five years trying to find an illustrator for the thing. I honestly didn’t try very hard, but I had a handful of conversations with illustrators and artists. Nothing ever materialized and, in spite of being a bit intimidated by the prospect of illustrating an entire book, I decided, ‘Heck! I’ll do it myself.’”
He soon found himself lost in time doing the illustrations. “That was the fun part,” he said. “When you lose track of time, it usually means you’re having great fun. I’m so thrilled with the end result.”
The book is ideally suited for ages six to nine and the all-important artwork tells the story in clear, fun and clean illustrations. “I was going to paint all of these, but after talking to some kids and adults, I realized that most young readers are used to and look for computer-generated graphics.”
The story is about a young bear whose dad is a world champion wrestling bear. He longs to grow up to be just like his dad and this story follows him pursuing his dream. Along the way there’s wrestling and the notoriety of being a champion athlete, but a heartwarming journey takes place between father and son. It’s entertaining and inspiring for kids and parents.
Van Pelt utilized a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to crowd-fund the publishing of this 56-page book under the imprint of his self-publishing company, HM Press (Desert High, Flying Tales, Rock Stars on God, V.2). Watch him read the book in the Kickstarter videos below.
The book has been printed in two paperback formats: the standard Early Reader (6” x 9”) and Read-Aloud (8.5” x 8.5”). It is being distributed by Ingram Books, through their LightningSource program. You can purchase the book via Square Up or via Amazon now.