As hard as it was to pull myself away from Caplin for a whole day, I spent this past Saturday at a book festival in Georgetown, Texas. It’s coming up on the holiday season and it seemed like a good idea to get Celeste and the Giant Hamster out in the public eye. This is the first book festival I’ve ever attended, either as an author/participant or as library patron, even though I am an avid reader. I paid my twenty bucks and got my own table, shown above.
Sadly, the book festival people refused to allow Caplin to come, even for an hour or so, to entertain the festival goers. That was a mistake on their part because Caplin would have really livened up the place! Instead I had to use some stand-up cut-outs of him as surrogate capybaras. (I got the standups made at PartyStandups.com. If you’d like a Caplin standup, drop me a comment and let me know what photo you’re going to use so I can send you the full resolution image.)
That worked out okay but what I didn’t realize is that I should have marked each of the three stand-ups–one of baby Caplin, one of Caplin at four months and one of adult Caplin–as all being life-sized. Instead I had to tell everyone that when they came up to my desk. Maybe that actually worked better because it was fun to see their expressions of astonishment. (Although they would have been even more astonished by the real Caplin Rous.)
Celeste, my granddaughter and the impetus for writing the book, came and spent a little time with me. But mostly she went to the other book festival activities like the magic show and story-telling. She and the other kids seemed to have a great time. But the meet-the-authors part of the festival was tucked away in a room upstairs and there were no activities up there. For example, a live capybara activity would have been great. Or they could have just had short book-readings. Or they could have had authors talking to kids about what it is like to write.
But, alas, the meet-the-authors section was not well attended. Nevertheless, I had a great time. I met some interesting people, gave out a lot of cards for this blog, talked about capybaras to everyone, and had interesting discussions with some of my fellow authors.
I also gave away many copies of the capybara coloring pages and some kids even colored them at my table (I colored two myself!). If you colored one of the pages, please send me a scan of it to post here, you can use the Contact tab on the left sidebar. It would be great to see your artistic endeavors.
And I learned that Georgetown, Texas has a totally awesome library. It has wonderful open stacks, great art in the hallways and sculpture outside, an actual café in the library with great food. But the best part is the children’s section. It has a South American jungle theme with murals painted on all the walls.
Please notice the capybara peeking out of the grass near the bottom left corner. How great is that? Of course, whoever painted it had no idea how large capybaras are because that one would be a midget. Or maybe the jaguar is a giant. Or maybe nothing is drawn to scale. At any rate, I would love to do a book reading / capybara encounter and have Caplin in front of that mural. I donated a copy of the book to the library and gave them one of Caplin’s cards. Hopefully they’ll contact me about it.