Since its opening in 2020, the Price Sculpture Forest in Coupeville has captivated visitors with its serene setting and otherworldly works of art.
The park is now the subject of a new children’s book, which brings to life some of the more familiar sculptures and sprinkles in dance moves for kids to follow while reading.
The book, titled “Frankie’s Wish: A Wander in the Wonder,” is the brainchild of independent book publisher Terrel Lefferts and instructor Eva Stone, who choreographed a dance event in the Price Sculpture Forest last August.
The pair are old friends, both with extensive backgrounds in dance. When Stone, an Edmonds resident, told Lefferts, a Redmond resident, about her plans to produce the dance event on Whidbey Island, Lefferts suggested that Stone write the first draft of a children’s book inspired by this opportunity. Stone, who had never written a children’s book before in her life, gamely agreed.
“It was kind of a lovely way to tie in my friendship with Terrel, our unified love of dance, her incredible philanthropic heart,” Stone said. “It was just a very easy way to do what we both love best, which is change the world one tiny bit at a time through dance.”
“Frankie’s Wish” follows the tale of a young child who enters the familiar forest on a journey to find a blue feather that will grant a special birthday wish. Along the way, Frankie meets and interacts with sculptures that come to life.
Lefferts made some edits to Stone’s draft and incorporated dance movements for kids to follow throughout the pages of the book, which are acted out by her daughter, Kaelyn.
“As a young mom, I was looking for these kinds of stories that you could act out,” Lefferts said, adding with a laugh that she wishes she had a time machine to go back.
Illustrator Emilia Ruminska, who resides in Europe, has never visited the Price Sculpture Forest before but created images of it from reading the story and referencing photographs that Lefferts provided.
“I really like the concept of her books – they are unique as they include activities which might encourage children to be active and influence their physical development,” Ruminska said. “It’s a great example of mother and adult daughter transforming their passion for the same thing – dance – into a bigger value.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lefferts started “Once Upon a Dance,” her self-publishing company, with Kaelyn, who goes by the moniker “Konora” in the books. The mother-daughter duo has published a total of 25 books so far, which explore everything from dancing cats to dragons to unicorns. All book royalties are donated to a charity that is unique to each book. For “Frankie’s Wish,” that partner is the Price Sculpture Forest, which is a nonprofit organization.
In August, the book’s creators surprised Scott Price, founder of the park, with “Frankie’s Wish.”
“We are hearing from locals who have purchased it for their kids or grandkids since they like the idea of sharing a story that the kids can directly relate to,” Price said. He suggested that the book can also be used in a “treasure hunt” of the sculpture forest.
“Frankie’s Wish” is available at the Langley Whale Center and Kingfisher Books in Coupeville, as well as online at Amazon.com.