Excerpt of cover, "A Walk in Pirate's Cove", written by Marisa Hochman, illustrated by Bette Woodland (36 Peonies Publishing)
When I first wrote A Walk in Pirate's Cove for my three children, I knew immediately
that it was something very special. As my first published work of fiction it
was really a love letter to my husband and children and to the lake.
Lake Winnipeg and Winnipeg Beach are to me
the most beautiful places in the whole world. As a child all of my summers were
spent at a cottage out there with my family.
There my days were filled with
dragonflies, my nights with starry skies, bonfires and moonlit rambles on the
We whiled away long hot afternoons on the beach by making castles on the sandbars, jumping in the waves and taking long strolls on the beach searching for the rare and elusive pink heelsplitter mussels found south of the water tower, or the lucky wishing stones of local legend.
Back then I read Swallows and Amazons, and Treasure Island. I could stare out over the seemingly endless expanse of water that is Lake Winnipeg and believe that I was standing on the edge of the ocean. Around the next corner, in the next bay or cove could be a band of pirates or a buried treasure, and the tangle of net washed ashore could be the remnants of a mermaid's hair.
Now my children have only to run through
the grass in our yard for a million dragonflies to fly up at once, wings
glinting in the sun. Some nights we fall asleep on a blanket outside looking up
at the stars.
We go for walks along the beach together on a stretch of sand
we've named Pirate's Cove, searching for the same lucky wishing stones with
holes in the middle, alien stones with strange round circular markings all over
them, blue sea glass and large pink freshwater mussel shells.
We imagine that the pointy stones we find are dragon's teeth, that bits of rope are mermaids' hair. This is the real magic of childhood; that you don't need fancy props or expensive things to have a wonderful time and a really grand adventure.
Walk in Pirate's Cove was written for my children, about their adventures
at our lake, I wanted them to truly see themselves and their experiences in the
story. This is the point at which my collaboration with local artist Bette
Bette and I shared a strong sense that the book we produced
together should be a true reflection of the scenery and the children that
inspired the original text.
Throughout the summer of 2010, Bette made many journeys to Winnipeg Beach, photographing the lake, marsh and my children while accompanying us on our usual outings and adventures at these various settings around the lake. Over the next year we met many times as she carefully constructed the scenes in the paintings that would be used to illustrate the book.
Readers from Manitoba and the Interlake will delight in finding the small silhouette of the water tower on the final page of the story, or in recognizing the footbridge over Boundary Creek marsh, and yet the exact location is never mentioned in the text. In truth this story could take place anywhere, on any beach in the world. I hope that readers from everywhere will see themselves, their own special places and treasures here.
This content is provided by Marisa Hochman. The views expressed do not express the views of CBC. CBC is not
responsible for this content. CBC has edited for length.