Local authors Justin Gregg and Jeremy Holmes will be holding an official Antigonish launch of their new book, Fancy Goat, Sept. 2, 2 p.m., at the People’s Place Library.
The release date for the book is Sept. 1 and the main launch will take place during Halifax’s Word of Mouth Festival, Sept. 16.
A press release from book publisher Outside the Lines Press, provides a brief description of the colourful and fun children’s book.
“When your goat is a fashion icon, life can be exhausting. In Fancy Goat, a new children’s picture book written and illustrated by Jeremy Holmes with co-author Justin Gregg, a young girl laments her pet’s ‘need’ for an extravagant lifestyle,” the release noted.
“From wearing cravats, top hats and pearls to doing ballet, flying planes and having his own masseuse, the hapless run-of-the-mill goat embarks on lavish adventures in the finest of wardrobes. In this world, there is no pink and blue – just fanciness and fun. This fanciness, of course, exists only in the eyes of the girl through her wild imagination and inventive spirit.”
Holmes, a well-known children’s entertainer as the founder of The Little Ditties, said there is a subtle message in the book for children who feel marginalized. It’s pointed out in the press release.
“Encouraging children to explore their creative side and reaffirming the value of letting kids be kids when it comes to self-expression; Fancy Goat emphasizes that creativity is vital to a child’s intellectual development.”
“It’s kind of just like planting a seed,” Holmes said of the message.
Gregg added it’s not an “overt” message book; it’s more about the hilarity of the goat’s taste for a fancy lifestyle.
“It’s mostly just hilarious but there is that idea behind it,” he said.
Holmes noted the idea for the book came from his own child dressing up her pet and that it was just a back-and-forth between him and Gregg which furthered the story along.
“Justin and I have ideas, every day, that we throw back and forth at each other,” he said. “‘Should we do this?’ that sort of thing and this one was just hilarious; talking about this goat dressed up and being all fancy and ridiculous.”
“I thought, yeah, sure, that would be a good book,” Gregg said. “So that day we made a first draft of what the text would be. We applied for a grant through Arts Nova Scotia and that was great; it helped us with production and then we spent the next four months doing the drawings and illustrations.”
The funding also allowed the duo to provide a free copy of the book to every library in the province, a move they’re very pleased with.
For the launch in Halifax, they’ll be doing it from the CBC stage and performing as The Little Ditties. It’s noted Holmes has created a song to go along with the book.
Holmes, who earned an East Coast Music Award in 2014 for Children’s Recording of the year, is recording a new The Little Ditties album that will act as a companion piece to Fancy Goat.
Performances will be part of the launch in Antigonish as well.
For more on the book, including pre-ordering, visit outsidethelinespress.com or thelittleditties.com. There is also a YouTube video previewing the book which can be found by typing in Fancy Goat Book Trailer.