Ann Medlock, co-founder of the Langley-based Giraffe Project, is turning 80 this month.
“That number is so astonishing, I’m declaring an outrageous month-long celebration that I’d like you to ‘attend’,” Medlock said, referring to her many friends and acquaintances.
She launching a Kickstarter campaign this month to create a popup storybook for kids, working with artist Dorit Zingarelli and with Andrew Baron, one of the world’s greatest designers of popup books.
“The book is called ‘Two Tall Tales’ and it’s about how the giraffe got its long neck (by being caring and brave, of course). It pretends to be by the mascots I created to talk to kids in our kindergarten-through-second-grade materials, young twin giraffes named Bea Tall and Stan Tall,” Medlock said.
Kickstarter is a website where people can look over projects or products that others want to create. If you like them, you kick in some money to help fund the work. And you get “rewards” for backing them.
Kickstarter rules say that creators set a financial goal and an end date. If they make the goal by the deadline, their projects are funded. If they don’t get enough pledges in time, all pledges are erased and the project is not funded.
Medlock’s Kickstarter proposal went online Tuesday. In the first day she received 23 backers who pledged $5,678 toward her goal of $68,080. There were 29 days left in the campaign.
Medlock emphasizes this is not fundraising. Kickstarter doesn’t allow that. All backers get something of value for their investments.
As a pending octogenarian, Medlock explains why this book is the one thing she wants.
“For three decades the Giraffe Heroes Project has been my cause. Two Tall Tales will extend the work of inspiring more compassionate, courageous action in the world, taking it to little kids who will remember the ways the good giraffes in the stories stick up for each other,” she said.
“They’ll think about the stories the next time they’re tempted to swipe an extra cookie or take a swing at a sibling. Parents whose kids have heard these stories in school have told us that their offspring have taken them to heart, and have acted like the caring, brave characters in the stories.”
Medlock said the text and a recording are already done. Ace writer of books for children Neal Starkman has written the tales, composer-musician Court Crawford wrote and performed original music, and Equity actors Lydia Boykin and Ramon MacLane recorded the voices of Stan and Bea.
“That part’s all paid for, it’s all wonderful, it’s been in classrooms for years, kids love it, and it’s all audio,” she said. “But now there has to be a book!”
“It’s a big undertaking to create the great popup storybook this is going be,” she added. “There will be 32 tall, skinny pages with glorious art by Dorit and enchanting movable pages engineered by Andrew. The audio will be included for kids who are too little to read.”
The movable pages will happen at the points in the tales where the giraffes change. The child will pull tabs to make the short-necked giraffes get long necks, right on the page. And at the end of the tales, when all giraffes get long necks, kids will open the fantastic double-page popup.
“My hope is to generate a lot of action at the kickoff so the managers of Kickstarter take note and send our pitch out as one of their own ‘favorites’ to the half-a-million Kickstarter investors we don’t know,” Medlock said. “It has to catch fire and spread if we’re going to make our goal by June 6, the end of the campaign.”
More than 3,000 Kickstarter campaigns have raised the amount of backing they need, or more. “They’ve had great pitches and lots of champions,” Medlock said. “We’ve got a great pitch, now we need lots of champions.”
She urges supporters to visit the Kickstart site.
“I’m eager to see you there,” she said. “So are Stan and Bea.”