Wake up, Whitehorse, there’s a new children’s book in town.
Local author and illustrator Tedd Tucker spoke with the Yukon News about his most recent book, Yukon Count, on Jan. 6. It’s a simple counting book, said Tucker, featuring iconic Yukon animals and Yukon landscape. It was released in December.
Why a children’s book?
“I just love [how] kids’ books are all over the place. They’re silly. They’re funny. There are characters that are very entertaining. Yeah, just like me,” Tucker said.
“I just think there’s so much potential in children’s books, each one is so different, and it’s interesting to see what resonates with kids and what they really respond to. It’s kind of fascinating.”
Like his first book, The Yukon Alphabet Book, his goal was to have a kid’s book that would be fun for a child to read either alone, or with a family member or friend. To this end, he decided to keep the text short, allowing freedom for people to ask questions from the child as they read together.
“It gives the parent or guardian or uncle the fun chance to kind of make up things and ask questions like, ‘What noise does the moose make?’”
Tucker did the illustrations himself, using a combination of analog and digital art, wanting a very visual book. His first book had a minimalist design, so in Yukon Count, Tucker decided to expand on the simple format, and take his illustrations to the next level by adding more detail for readers to enjoy.
“I wanted to create something that was interesting for a child to look at, at a glance, but also [has] enough details in there to keep them engaged,” he said.
Tucker’s first book was published in 2019. Initial sales were good, and he hoped to break into larger markets during the 2020 tourist season. Then the pandemic hit, and the tourists didn’t come.
Still, he’s cheerful, laughing that he only has one box left, so the sales are still happening. He says the local stores carrying his books have been very supportive, greeting him by name and congratulating him on sales when he comes by.
“Oh, yeah, they’re so wonderful,” said Tucker.
“I love going to drop off books and the shopkeeper knows who I am and congratulates me on what I’ve done. There’s a great sense of community, a sense of pride. It’s a really good feeling.”
He wrote, illustrated and self-published both of his books. He found a Canadian printer after spending years reading the fine print in other volumes.
“There was a Canadian printer that kept showing up again and again. So, I started working with them and getting quotes and getting samples, and it worked out really well.”
He is working on a third, more story-focused book, potentially ready for release next year. While he hasn’t written off self-publishing, he’s hoping to work with a Canadian publisher this time.
“It’s always nice to work with people that have more experience in the publishing industry so I’d love to work with other people on the next one,” said Tucker.
Copies of Yukon Count can be found at Angellina’s Toy & Children’s Boutique, Mac’s Fireweed Books, the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and FawkesTrot Adventures. Tucker hopes to expand into Dawson bookstores soon.
Storm Blakley is a freelance writer and poet based in Whitehorse.