Polly is the story of a horseshoe crab who discovers a sky full of stars on the night that she hatches, and wants to know more about what she sees. Not satisfied with the answers she gets from the other creatures of the sea, she sets out on her own to discover as much as she can.
Her curiosity leads her to many amazing discoveries above the water, including the strange and enigmatic "two feet" that live there - but when one of those encounters leaves her with an unanswered question, her real journey of discovery begins.
Polly is a story about self-discovery, the love of learning and exploration, and the quest for knowledge and wisdom. It's a gentle story told through the eyes of one of the world's most gentle and yet misunderstood creatures.
You can Like Polly on Facebook at facebook.com/PollyPhemus
Here are some of the things people are saying about Polly:
"This will have children chanting "What happens next?" as Polly the horseshoe crab discovers the world she lives in. I won't give it away but the ending is truly beautiful. If you have children or not, you will love rediscovering the world though the eyes of Polly." - Sharon (Amazon reviewer)
"The illustrations are beautiful; full of color, detail, and depth. The story inspires wonder as Polly travels around the world, and into the deepest part of the ocean to talk to the mysterious Wise One. This book easily ranks with my favorite storybooks from my childhood, and I can see this becoming another classic children's book if enough people read it. I know I'll be re-reading it for years to come." - Lilli (Amazon reviewer)
"So many books either do well at the illustrations or the text but this author nailed both! The story is well told and can be enjoyed by both young and old. I love that the lessons interwoven in the story are subtle not preachy. As an educator I was thrilled that so many great facts were added in the back making this book both enjoyable and educational." - Shawna (Amazon reviewer)
"[T]he art is fantastic. [The] colored pencils transferred nicely to reprint, and there's a personalized quality that comes from how they look. As a reader I felt an instant
connection to the book because it was like it was drawn on that page for me instead of reprinted thousands of times for others to also enjoy." - Jon (private message)
What reading level is Polly?
I've gotten this question quite a bit, and the simple answer is: I don't know.
Truth is, I'm not a big fan of reading levels and suggested ages for things like books and toys. They seem too much like someone is telling me how smart my kids need to be in order to enjoy something. I started reading books to my children when they were mere days old, and I never concerned myself with their comprehension. If they didn't know what a certain word meant, I told them (and if I didn't know, we looked it up together). If they seemed to be getting bored, we would put the book away and try it again at a later date.
Polly has been read aloud to kids as young as 3, with no lethal cases of boredom or other ill effects. My youngest daughter read a copy to a group of 4 year olds and told me that they clung to every word and picture - though it did help that she had them interact with the story as she read, asking things like "What do we call those lights in the sky?"
For children who want to read the book on their own, I'd recommend you use your own judgement. No one can make that call better than you can.
READINGS, SIGNINGS, & OTHER PUBLIC APPEARANCES
I will be appearing in the following locations during the "2013 Polly Book Tour." Stop by and say hello!
April 27th, 10am-4pm - Milford Bug and Bud Festival - I will have a booth where I'll be getting the word out about Polly. Stop by for a chat, and I may even have some coloring pages for the kids! DONE! THANKS TO ALL FOR STOPPING BY!
May 18th, 10am-4pm - Peace, Love, and Horseshoe Crabs Festival, Slaughter Beach, Delaware - I will be doing a reading and signing at the DuPont Nature Center. DONE! THANKS TO ALL FOR STOPPING BY!
May 25th, 10am-4pm - Horseshoe Crab and Shorebird Festival, Milton, Delaware - I will have a booth where I'll be selling and signing copies of Polly. DONE! THANKS TO ALL FOR STOPPING BY!
June 7th, 5pm-7pm - Forney's Too First Friday - I will be signing books and answering questions at Forney's Too on Loockerman Street in downtown Dover. DONE! THANKS TO ALL FOR STOPPING BY!
July 6th, 12pm-4pm - Acorn Books - I will be one of the authors at the Author Meet & Greet. DONE! THANKS TO ALL FOR STOPPING BY!
July 23rd, 9am - Bethany Beach Books - Join me for Tuesday Morning Story Time! DONE! THANKS TO ALL FOR STOPPING BY!
July 29th, 10am - Browseabout Books - I'll be signing copies of Polly in Rehoboth.
July 31st, 6:30pm - Woodside Farm Creamery - Join me for story time under the Big Tree! My daughters and I will be performing music, painting faces, and reading Polly - and you can enjoy some yummy ice cream to boot!
August 2nd, 5pm-7pm - Dover Newsstand - I will be signing copies of Polly with other local authors.
August 22nd, 6pm-8pm - Music School of Delaware (Milford) - I'll be doing a reading and signing copies of Polly at their open house.
September 6th, 5pm-7pm - Dover Newsstand - I will be signing copies of Polly at my own event!
September 7th, 2pm-4pm - Music School of Delaware (Wilmington) - I'll be doing a reading and signing copies of Polly at their open house.
October 5th - Sand N Stones - I will be signing books during the Boast the Coast Festival in Lewes.
FUTURE EVENTS: I am currently making arrangements for more book signings and other events. If you know of a store that would like to carry Polly and maybe even schedule an event, please let me know. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PLACES TO PURCHASE POLLY
Polly is currently available for sale at the following stores:
Dover Newsstand - Dover, DE - 302-678-8088 -
DuPont Nature Center - Slaughter Beach, DE - 302-422-1329 -
Forney's Too - Dover, DE - 302-734-2425 - forneystoo.com
Hockessin Book Shelf - Hockessin, DE - 302-235-7665 - Facebook
Sand N Stones - Lewes, DE - 302-645-0576 - sandnstones.com
It will also be available in other Delaware-area stores and beyond! More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Retailers: Polly is now available through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and other distributors. Info is listed below. Thanks for your interest in Polly!
Contributors: Walton, William (author), Walton, William (illustrator)
Publisher: Awkward Labs
POLLY COLORING PAGES & BOOKMARKS!
I've made a PDF of coloring & activitiy pages based around Polly and her friends, because coloring is awesome. There are only a few right now but I'm planning to make more, so if you really enjoy these, check back later for others.
I've also made a page of bookmarks that I hand out at special events. These feature line drawings of Polly and Peg that are waiting for you to color and customize them in your own way!
THE POLLY FLYER & PRESS PACKET
Below is a link to a PDF of the Polly fliers that I hand out at signings and other events, with a short description of the book and links to the website and Facebook page. If you'd like to help get the word out about the book, feel free to print some and give them out!
If you are doing a story or organizing an event and would like a copy of the Polly Press Packet, you can find a download link below. This Press Packet includes information on the book and the author, along with the official press release, some reviews, photos of the book cover and author, color and black and white mini-posters, and the printable bookmarks and activity pages found elsewhere on this page.
Here are some preview images from the book:
Updates on the funding and creation of the Polly book.
During my book signing at Forney's Too in Dover, a reporter from NPR stopped by to interview me about Polly. Now you can read (and even listen to!) the All Things Considered story on the increasing interest in horseshoe crabs, right here!
Here's the Milford Beacon's coverage of the Polly release: Local author introduces kids to the world of horseshoe crabs through new children's book
Tomorrow, I'll be selling and signing copies of Polly at Milton's Horseshoe Crab & Shorebird Festival from 10am to 4pm. There's a lot of fun to be had there, so if you're in the area, be sure to stop by!
My (second!) interview for Good Morning Delmarva is now viewable on their website, for the benefit of those who may have missed it when it aired. Check it out at http://www.wmdt.com/story/22296769/may-21-polly
Gary Knox, owner of Forney's Too on Loockerman Street in downtown Dover, loves his copy of Polly so much that he wants to share it with all of his friends!
Remember, I'll be stopping by Gary's store on June 7th from 5pm-7pm for their First Friday event, to sign copies of the book and answer questions. Don't miss it!
I'll be talking about Polly to Jenn on WMDT's Good Morning Delmarva show tomorrow morning sometime after 6:15am. Set those alarm clocks or DVRs to catch it!
(And wish me luck - I have to head out around 4am to get to the studio in time for the interview. This will require mass quantities of coffee!)
Despite cool temperatures and a little bit of rain, the Peace Love & Horseshoe Crabs Festival was a success! I got to talk to a lot of people about the book, heard from a few folks who had already read and enjoyed it, and signed a bunch of copies for some eager readers.
Thanks to all who came out to the festival!
Next up - the Horseshoe Crab & Shorebird Festival in Milton, on May 25th.
This is happening today! If you're in the area, you should stop by - it's a lot of fun!
Here is the official press release for Polly. Feel free to distribute it as much as you like!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Polly", a children's story about a curious horseshoe crab, released by Delaware author and artist W.J. Walton
Delaware area writer, artist, musician, and performer W.J. Walton has announced the release of his first children's book, "Polly," about a curious horseshoe crab on a journey of discovery.
“Polly is a story about self-discovery, the love of learning and exploration, and the quest for knowledge and wisdom,” Walton said. "My goal was to create a story that encourages readers to embrace learning, discovery, and the pursuit of knowledge."
Walton said that the subject of his book was a major inspiration to the story. "Horseshoe crabs are a very common sight to most of us who live on the Eastern shore," he said, "but they are still widely misunderstood by most people. My idea was to reverse these roles, and portray a curious horseshoe crab who hears terrible things about humans, and tries to learn as much as she can about them, rather than relying on the misconceptions of others." Walton wrote and illustrated the book, which was funded as a Kickstarter project in the summer of 2012.
Mr. Walton is very active in the artistic community of central Delaware, where he has designed and painted sets for five different theatre groups, performed music for theatre productions, special events, and with Milford's Downtown Dixieland Band, performed as a storyteller for Downtown Milford's annual Halloween Spooktacular, and acted in several productions with Second Street Players in Milford, including a dozen children's theatre shows.
"Polly" is available online and in several Delaware-area locations. For more information about "Polly," visit Walton's website at www.awkwardlabs.com/polly
Mr. Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 302-430-6077
Polly is live on barnesandnoble.com today!
The proof copy of Polly arrived yesterday afternoon! I looked it over that evening and sent the approval this morning, then ordered the first batch of copies. The first of those will go to the Kickstarter backers, followed by the folks who preordered copies.
When the book is available online, I'll post links here!
I uploaded the cover and interior files to my printer the night before last, and just got confirmation that my first proof copy is being printed! Once I get that copy and look it over, if everything looks okay, I'll be sending the order to print my copies!
In the meanwhile, you can still preorder a copy of the book if you want to make sure you get an autographed copy - but I can't guarantee how long that will last!
The layout and cover for Polly are done, and now I'm just idling in the lot until I get the greenlight from the printer to send the files over.
In the meantime, many people are asking where and when the book will be available, and some of them are telling me they want multiple copies! This causes a bit of a problem for me, because I can only print so many with the remaining Kickstarter funds, and if I sell too many of those off right away, I won't have as many available to take to signings, stores, and festivals.
So, I had an idea - want to pre-order your copies of Polly? It'd be pretty easy to do - just send me the funds via PayPal before I print the first batch, and I'll make sure your books get added to it. I'll even sign them for you if you like, before I ship them out!
HERE'S WHAT TO DO:
Send $20 per copy to my PayPal account (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please include $3 shipping for the first copy, $1 for each copy beyond that. (If you plan to get the copies from me personally, you can skip the shipping. If want faster shipping than Media Mail, or you're outside of the continental US, send me an email at email@example.com and I'll give you a shipping quote.)
In the Notes section of your payment, please provide the following info:
- Name and mailing address (books will arrive USPS)
- Want it signed? If so, who shall I make it out to?
If you can't do PayPal, you can mail a check to me (made out to William J. Walton) at P.O. Box 398, Felton DE 19943 - but please do it SOON to get in before I print! And send me an email to let me know you've sent it, so that I can look for it.
What's in it for me to do this?
You'll be confirmed to get an autographed copy of Polly mailed to you. You'll get a copy mailed to you after I'm finished mailing the backer copies, and you'll be guaranteed to get one before I run out of them.
What's in it for YOU to do this?
It will allow me to order more copies of Polly in that first batch, which will give me more to take to stores, festivals, schools, and libraries, without running out from the initial demand.
What if something happens or something goes wrong and you don't get to print that first batch?
You'll get a refund and an apology. The money won't go anywhere until I'm ready to print.
Can I pick up my copy at the Bug and Bug Festival, or one of the other festivals where you'll be?
You certainly can, but right now I have no guarantees that they'll be ready for Bug and Bud. If they're not, I can make arrangements to get them to you.
What is the deadline to do this?
That's the thing - I have no idea. I could get the greenlight at any moment, and when I do, I'm moving forward. I'll try to announce it so that folks can jump in at the last minute, but I can't guarantee that you'll have enough time.
Will they have Polly stickers with them?
Nope, sorry. I could only afford enough of those for the Kickstarter backers.
If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks so much!
It's not too early to start thinking about marketing the Polly name, I think - and I've been in touch with some programmers who say they can whip up a Polly-themed videogame for the current, cutting-edge consoles. They even did a little mock-up of what the cartridge would look like! What do you think?
A couple of months ago, I had the idea to do a timelapse video of the process behind one of the illustrations for Polly. I recorded myself scribbling madly for over three hours, compressed the video down to about five minutes, and posted it as a special treat for my Kickstarter backers. Now I'd like to share it with everyone!
I'm wrapping up the last few illustrations for the book over the next couple weeks, then I'll be finalizing the layout and going to the printer after that. I'm hoping to see the final book ready in late March or early April. Keep watching the blog for more updates!
It has been far too long since the last Polly update, mostly due to life issues, but also because I have been so busy plugging away at the book.
Since my last update, I have completed the storyboard, finished a few drafts of the story, sent the story off to my editor, and begun polishing it up. After a few more passes between the editor and I, it should officially be a story!
After that point, it will be a matter of finishing the remaining illustrations, and then consulting with the printer to get the first proof made.
I really appreciate the patience and understanding that everyone has given me. I had hoped to have this book finished and available by now, but life truly had other plans. I have needed to take the extra time to make sure this book will be as good as it possibly can be, without letting anything compromise that. I truly believe that everyone will be very happy with the outcome.
Thanks, and happy new year to all!
...and here's the Cape Gazette story on their website, which just went up the other day. Read it, share it, spread it around on all of your social networks and such!
Local author Bill Walton set to publish horseshoe crab story
Here's a clear scan of the Cape Gazette article, for those who would like to read it without getting a headache!
(Click to enlarge)
I had a very nice interview with Rachel Swick Mavity from the Cape Gazette last week, and the story hit the press on Friday! Here are a couple of quick pics I snapped of the paper. (It got a
teaser on the bottom of the front page!)
If the story hits their website, I'll post a link here, and if not, I'll try to get a full scan of it and post it here for anyone who wants to read it.
WMDT's website has posted the clip of my interview from last week, which you can view here. It's a bit clearer in sound and picture than last week's "bootlegged" copy. (Though I do greatly appreciate my friend Steve's efforts, which gave lots of people who can't get WMDT a chance to see the clip!)
The Kickstarter for Polly ended at 9:13pm yesterday evening.
I spent Polly's last Kickstarter day celebrating my daughter's 16th birthday at the beach, but I did get a bit of free time to work on a couple of drawings while sitting in the sand.
One of them is of a sunset that Polly is watching from the shore. As we were leaving Cape Henlopen to go enjoy some pizza at Nicola's, Aylish
remarked on the real sunset that was going on outside of her window. "That looks like the sunset you were just drawing!" she said. I made a joke about being psychic, but Nolah came up with a
better explanation. "The sun was peeking over your shoulder while you were drawing it and decided to copy it!"
As I type this, I've just gotten a message from one of the backers who tells me that he worked in horseshoe crab conservation in Taiwan, and he would like to purchase additional copies to send to friends back at the lab there. It looks like Polly is going global a lot sooner than I thought!
Thank you so very much to everyone who has supported me through this - not only the backers, but everyone who has given me the encouragement I needed to make this happen, and those who helped (and are still helping) us through our recent family disaster.
This part of the story is over - but the best part is that it isn't really an ending, but a beginning! I truly cannot wait to see what will happen next.
The GMD interview went very well, and was a lot of fun. I'm hoping they will have a link to the video on their website eventually, but until then, here's an it'll-do-for-now video shot by my friend Steve:
I have been asked to appear on WMDT's Good Morning Delmarva show to talk a little bit about Polly! I'll be on this Friday's show (July 20th), at approximately 6:25am. If you happen to be up and about at such an early hour, be sure to tune in! If not, I'll see if I can post a link to the segment so that you can watch online.
Wish me luck!
I had a great interview with Gwen Guerke from the Milford Chronicle yesterday - we met at the Milford Public Library and talked (quietly!) about Polly for over half an hour. Gwen tells me the story will likely go live on July 25th, so keep an eye out - and I'll do my best to post a link here on the blog when it does.
Speaking of media coverage, and doing my best to post links, it looks like some life issues prevented me from mentioning the Milford LIVE! piece on Polly that was published a couple weeks ago - check it out right here!
Polly has just 12 days left before she is funded! If you still want to become a backer, your time is running out. Please keep spreading the word!
Today at around 11am EST, Polly's Kickstarter project reached its goal. The book will become a reality. I really can't express how that makes me feel. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported this project.
But it's not over yet! The Kickstarter still has 31 days on the meter - plenty of time for more people to join in! Pledging $16 or more gets an autographed copy in your hands before it's available anywhere else, and further pledges means more copies that I will able to print and donate to schools and libraries, and take to book signings. I'll also be able to do some special promotions for the book, above and beyond my original plans. So please keep spreading the word to anyone who would be interested in becoming a part of this project.
In addition, I will be planning some stretch goals in the very near future, so stay tuned!
Thanks again for all of the wonderful support!
Greetings, fellow two-feet! Welcome to the first Polly update, where I fill everyone in on the progress of the Polly Project.
- I had a great interview yesterday with Bryan Shupe of Milford Live. He had lots of questions for me about the book and my inspirations and motivations for doing what I'm doing. Bryan tells me that the piece will go live either next Tuesday (the 26th) or the following one (July 3rd), but you don't have to worry about missing it, because I'll be sure to have a very excited post about it right here!
- Funding for Polly has been rocketing to the goal - it is now at 96% - $3474, which is just $126 shy of the $3600 goal! I'm giving some thought to potential stretch goals, including an "I supported Polly" t-shirt, maybe. Anything pledged beyond the goal will go very far to pushing the project - it will allow me to print and donate more books, and advertise and promote the book in more places than I originally planned. So please keep spreading the word!
- I haven't even had the opportunity to put up any of the "Have You Seen This Crab" flyers yet. I'll be doing that this weekend. If you have printed and posted any of them, please let me know about it!
Thanks to all for your pledges and support! I continue to be amazed at the reception my little story is getting, and I truly cannot wait until I get to share it with you.