Rutherford the Time-Travelling Moose shares Edmonton history
New children's book about Edmonton's history to be released this week
Young bookworms in Edmonton will soon be able to learn about their hometown's history, courtesy of a new book about a time-travelling moose.
Rutherford the Time-Travelling Moose tells the story of Robin, a young Edmontonian, who meets the rather remarkable Rutherford while on a trip to grandma's house. The two quickly hit it off and head out on an adventure through time.
The idea behind the book came from The Friends of Rutherford House Society, which put out an open call for writers and illustrators interested in creating a children's book about the history of Edmonton.
As the two winning submissions, writer Wharton and illustrator Amanda Schutz worked together closely, passing ideas back and forth in what amounted to a literary blind date.
"I know for myself I really wanted Thomas to feel like he was involved in the decision-making around how the characters look, what age they might be," Schutz said of her designs.
At the same time, Wharton sent all of his drafts to Wharton for her final approval.
Book strikes chord with Edmonton students
"There's nothing and there's no one," Wharton said. "There's just ice and snow and they run into a mammoth."
"A little bit of everything, that was the idea," Wharton said of the storyline. "The story is kind of driven by (Robin's) personality because she's the kind of kid who's like 'Oh! Let's go there! Let's see this!' "
And so far, it's been a hit with its test audience, a group of Grade 3 students who got a sneak peak of the story.
"They really got into the story," Wharton said. "There's a scene in the book where you see a lot of immigrants coming to Edmonton and getting off the train and starting their new lives. So I asked the kids 'Probably some of your families came from someplace else?' and all these hands shot up.
"After the reading some of these kids came up and wanted to tell me where they had come from" Wharton added. "That was one way that I saw that these kids were connecting with the story."
The first edition of the book will be unveiled at a 2 p.m. media event on Wednesday at Rutherford House. The official release party, where the public can pick up their own copies, will be held on Saturday at Audrey's Books on Jasper Avenue.