Former WWU Professor, Student Team Up to Create Children’s Book
|6/8/2011||Mary Ann Beahon|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||(573) 592-1127|
By Leigh Rice ’14Like many fathers, Clarence Wolfshohl tucked his daughter into bed every night and told her a story in hopes she would fall asleep.
Little did Dr. Wolfshohl, now professor emeritus of English at William Woods University, know that a penguin story his daughter, Amelia, found especially entertaining nearly 40 years ago would become a published children’s book.
“Penguins for Lunch,” a book for children approximately 6-10 years old, is about Ralph's adventures among fantastic islands with his two penguin companions, Joseph and Sarah. The 28-page hardcover book was a collaboration between Wolfshohl and Jennifer Costello, a studio art major who graduated from William Woods University in December 2007. The English professor wrote the story, and the artist did the illustrations.
The story was Amelia’s favorite and after she requested the book so many times, Wolfshohl decided it would be a good idea to write it down. Every now and then, he would come back to the story, but it wasn’t until 35 years later, after he retired from William Woods in 2005, that he decided it was time to illustrate “Penguins for Lunch.”
“I gave it to Terry Martin to illustrate because I knew his style,” Wolfshohl said, speaking of a long-time professor of studio art at William Woods.
At the time, Costello was designing her independent study class with Martin. He suggested she use the story Wolfshohl gave him to illustrate the book with a program she had never used before, Adobe Illustrator.
“Illustrating ‘Penguins for Lunch’ was a new experience compared to having a lot of different drawings here and there. I had to create a character and keep it steady throughout the book,” said Costello.
When she finished the illustrations, Martin showed them to Wolfshohl, who was impressed with her work.
Costello and Wolfshohl decided to publish the book, but they found that children’s literature is a tough market. Most publishing companies they contacted had their own illustrating team.
“I liked Jennifer’s illustrations so much that I decided I would have it printed by Timberline Press,” says Wolfshohl. “The book does not fit into our editorial mission, but I think it’s a book that needs to be seen.”
Even before he joined the faculty at WWU in 1981, Wolfshohl had owned and operated Timberline Press in Fulton for six years. The small, but well-respected publishing company focused mainly on poetry. Wolfshohl sold the company in 2010, but the new owners were willing to publish the children’s book and took on the project.
“Through the process of publishing the book, we had to revise constantly,” Wolfshohl said. “Jennifer handled it beautifully. She was very quick and never complained. She is not only a good artist, but a good computer technician.”
Costello owns her own greeting card business, Arctic Cards, in St. Louis, Mo., and also is an art specialist for an after-school program at the Jewish Community Center in Chesterfield. She loves the lighter side of life, which can be seen in her whimsical and playful artwork, and she believes if her artwork can bring a smile to someone’s face she has accomplished something.
“Working with the kids is always helpful, especially in my business. Seeing their creativity often sparks my own. Plus, having to come up with projects for the students to work on forces me to keep up with my art,” she said.
Costello recommends that aspiring art majors find what they love and stick with it. She suggests students think practically, too, and take business classes.
“You need to be versatile,” she said. “I also do cake toppers and wedding invitations – you have to think of all the possibilities to make your business work.”
Her latest project, “Penguins for Lunch,”can be purchased on Amazon.com or through Timberline Press at http://vacpoetry.org/penguins-for-lunch/.
“I am very pleased I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Wolfshohl,” Costello said. “Illustrating this book was a great learning experience and something I would love to do again. I enjoyed every bit of it.”
The cover of “Penguins for Lunch"
An illustration of “Scary Island” on the inside
Clarence Wolfshohl at work at his press