You may have caught Canopy Studio’s underwater-inspired performance of Bart King’s children’s book Juniper Gets Wet, last month. If not, you can experience another mystical world
dreamed up by King and illustrated by Jacob Wenzka, two Athens dads who collaborate together to bring to life whimsical stories inspired, sometimes, by their own children.
King, who also plays during Piano Happy Hour every first Tuesday of the month, will be at Hendershot’s on Friday, August 11 from 7-9 p.m. for the book release of The Girl Who Kept Night in Her Closet, followed by a show by the Normaltown Sound Machine.
“My daughter said something about how I should write a story about a girl who keeps night in her closet and lets it out when she wants to sleep,” said King, who often talks with his daughter about his work.
His 6-year-old daughter’s idea reminded him of a book he’d been reading, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and he sat down, finishing a draft in one sitting.
After nearly a year of collaborating with Wenzka, a local illustrator that King admired, they had a finished product. “He’s done some really great stuff with silhouettes,” said King, and the use of that technique along with his eye for watercolor resulted in a stunning picture book. Varying intensities of black and gray make the pages pop and glowing colors are sprinkled throughout in stars, fireflies and setting sun.
A certain “connection to power and nature,” as King put it, is displayed in the three generations of women characterized in the book. Their mysterious nature is maintained by never showing the girl, mother or grandmother’s faces.
Stunning prints from the pages of the book will be on display at Hendershots through August and this weekend, for every three books purchased one will be donated to an Athens-Clarke County school.