I recently had the opportunity to be a beta reader for a children’s book that is in the works. The book is called I’d Punch A Lion in his Eye for You and it was written by my good buddy Ben Wolf and illustrated by the amazing Benjamin Lucas Powell.
Now, I have to say, as a mom of five kids who has read about eleven bazillion picture books, it’s pretty hard to impress me.
But this impressed me.
The illustrations are vivid and engaging. The storyline is powerful and heartwarming, in much the same way as Love You Forever, the one kids’ book that makes me cry every time. This book is, in the words of my four-year-old son (who is pretty much smack in the middle of the target demographic), “totally awesome!”
The only problem?
It’s not out yet.
Apparently, a big, fully-illustrated picture book is expensive to mass-produce. Who knew? So, Ben is running a Kickstarter campaign in order to launch this totally awesome book. I’ve invited him here today to talk a little about it.
Me: Tell me a little bit about your book. Why did you write it? What’s it about?
Ben: I firmly believe that children need to know how much their parents love them. I wanted to convey that to my son Liam in a tangible way, so I came up with the idea to write a kids book for him.
I’d Punch a Lion in His Eye for You is the story of a boy and his father who go on imaginary adventures together. Each adventure is preceded by the son asking a question: “Dad, do you love me?”
The father responds with “I love you so much that I’d lay down my life for you.” And then he describes an adventurous scenario where the father ends up rescuing the son from a large carnivore, always at great peril to himself.
The book delivers the message of a father’s love for his son through a lot of fun, beautiful artwork, and a little bit of mayhem.
Me: I can definitely say it does that. Tell me a little bit about your son and what makes him special.
Ben: Liam is rambunctious. He has truckloads of energy, and he’s always up for having fun. He’s my little buddy, and I love him a ton. As he gets older, I’m looking forward to going on more and more adventures with him.
Me: That sounds a lot like my four-year-old! Who loved I’d Punch a Lion, by the way. What’s one thing that makes this book special?
Ben: The message is unique. It’s more intense than a lot of kids books. Kids books that focus on love and friendship and good behavior are great, but this one goes a step further. In this book, the father literally risks his life to save his son (and succeeds). Other kids books talk about rocking your kid to sleep or they feature lonely characters in need of friends or kids going out on their first day at school, but I have yet to find one where the love shown by a parent ascends to this level.
Me: The problem, of course, is producing something like this. Tell me about your Kickstarter campaign. Why is this a project people should get behind?
Ben: I wanted to bring this book to life in print format, but after spending about $1,000 having the book created (art, layout, ISBN, etc.), I realized that having it printed hardcover format would be a massive cost, even if I bought it in large quantities. I knew there would be a sizable market for this book, so I figured I would try a Kickstarter campaign to get support for the project. So far we’ve raised over $1,700 in pre-orders and other pledges from 40+ backers for the book.
But we still need more help to reach our $3,000 goal. Every child deserves to know that they are loved. If you or someone you know has a child, this is not only a book they’ll enjoy reading to their kids, but they can use it as a tangible reminder of how much they love their kids.
Me: And it’s fantastic. I have to ask, what’s one of your favorite pictures from the book, and why?
Ben: This is a tough one because there are so many, but the pic of the dad (who is obviously modeled after me) kicking the shark is probably my favorite because I am terrified of getting eaten by a shark one day. It was a freeing moment to be able to fictionally kick a gigantic great white in his gills. And I’m sure the sharks of the world are even more interested in eating me now that I’ve mocked them in print form.
Me: Be careful swimming in the ocean from now on. One last question: I heard a rumor that you’re planning a story for your daughter. Any chance of a hint about that one?
Ben: You betcha! It’s going to follow very much the same pattern of this book, only it will be more fantasy-based, I think. Possibly some unicorns, maybe a dragon. Similar format, though, and similar approach. It’s going to have the same message, but for little girls: Daddy (or Mommy) loves you so much that he’d risk his life for you.
Me: I can’t wait to see it! And I can’t wait to see I’d Punch a Lion in print. I plan on buying one for my kids as well as my son’s preschool teacher, because I know teachers are always looking for quality books for their classrooms.
Please help fund this project! You won’t regret it. Find the Kickstarter campaign here.