The idea for Lost in the Yukon, the first book from emerging local author Kyle Marchuk, began with a very simple mandate: to delight a four-year-old girl.
For years, Marchuk had loved reading bedtime stories to his girlfriend’s daughter, Lucia.
He loved how she would smile when she found a story particularly funny, and how her eyes would widen as she looked at the colourful illustrations.
A few years ago he decided to put together a small picture book for Lucia called Lucia Likes.
“It was a little picture book with clip art and rhymes about things that she liked,” said Marchuk.
Lucia loved the book so much that Marchuk decided to go bigger and better.
He had always liked to write rhyming poems and had a bunch of verses scrawled through various notebooks.
Inspired by authors that Marchuk enjoyed reading as a kid, Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, he decided to pull the rhymes together into a tale specially crafted for Lucia and the result was Lost in the Yukon.
The 32-page book follows the adventures of a young girl named Lu who literally gets lost in the Yukon, and has big adventures with some very interesting and chatty Yukon animals.
On her journey she meets an arctic fox in merino socks and a grizzly bear named Pierre who is wearing long underwear.
And she walks by some famous Yukon locations such as the wind turbines on Haeckel Hill, Swan Haven and the White Pass building on Main Street in downtown Whitehorse.
The book combines Marchuk’s story with vivid hand-painted illustrations from local artist Juliann Fraser and fun facts about Yukon animals and Yukon history.
Over the past few years, Fraser has hand-painted the murals in the Kid’s Discovery Zone and Archeology exhibit at the MacBride Museum, but it was the first time she tried her hand at illustrating a children’s book.
The story is geared toward kids age four to seven, but it’s appropriate for children of all ages and for families to read together.
A few weeks ago, Marchuk read the book to Lucia’s kindergarten class and was thrilled to see the now five-year-old girl boasting to her friends about the story.
“She told everybody that the story was about her and the other kids said: ‘Wow, did that really happen to you?’” Marchuk said with a laugh.
It was important to Marchuk that only local hands were used to put the book together.
Lost in the Yukon was written by a Yukon author, illustrated by a Yukon artist, printed at a Yukon printer and funded with help from the Yukon Foundation.
This book is the newest publication in MacBride Museum’s Yukon Kids Series.
“If anything, I hope that after reading the book they have an appreciation for the animals we have up here,” said Marchuk.
“It’s fun and educational and hopefully, it can be used to teach other kids in the world about the Yukon.”
Lost in the Yukon will launch at 4pm on Thursday, May 13 at the MacBride Museum of Yukon History.
Marchuk will give an illustrated reading from the book and talk about how he began writing. After the reading there will be a barbecue and refreshments will be served.
Admission is free and everybody is welcome.
Lost in the Yukon books will be available at the MacBride Museum gift shop, the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and other shops around the Yukon for the historically significant price of $18.98.
This column is provided by the MacBride Museum of Yukon History. Each week it will explore a different morsel of Yukon’s modern history. For more information, or to comment on anything in this column e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.