Thom Barker’s big goofy dog has made her literary debut. The former Yorkton This Week writer’s first in a planned series of children’s books, Lady MacBeth Afraid of the Stairs, is now in print and available to purchase.
The dog might be a big 130 lb Newfoundland, but as the book begins she has a fear that isn’t foreign to many children, that being a fear of going downstairs into a dark and intimidating basement.
“I think the key thing is that she’s so big, if you’re a kid, to think that something big and powerful like that could also have fears is something that could put you at ease a little bit,” said Barker.
Having a character the kids can relate to might also help them confront their own fears, but according to Barker that’s a secondary goal.
“Ultimately, the main thing that I hope is that it’s going to be entertaining. If it’s entertaining, I hope that kids get something out of it. A little bit of critical thinking, to question those things that you feel that you haven’t seen any evidence for. To question things.”
Seeing the book in print is a relief more than anything, Barker said, especially after the amount of work to get it into print in the first place.
“When you think of all of the work that goes into it – and it’s actually shocking how much work it is that goes into it – when I finally got the printed product, probably the most prominent feeling was relief, that it was done and out.”
Barker is pleased with the final result, whether it’s the art – by Dave Rheaume – or the final package overall.
“We’ve been getting fantastic feedback on it. We have had one woman who said that her young daughter – I think she was four – made her read it to her 3 times in the first sitting. That really encourages me to think that, for the age group I was shooting for, it’s that compelling for them.”
There are already plans for further adventures. Lady MacBeth Takes a Bath is the furthest along, being almost completely written, but there are also plans for Lady MacBeth Finds a Dinosaur Bone, as well as plans in the works for a story about their trip from Yorkton to Postville, Labrador, Lady MacBeth Comes Home.
Appropriate for a book – and a dog – born in Yorkton, the first physical retailer to carry the book is in the city. Fins, Feathers and Fur Pets and Supplies is selling the book. While Barker predicts online sales will be the majority of the sales overall – it is available on all major online booksellers – he’s proud to have it on the shelves where people will have it, and proud to have it in a Yorkton store.