Photo left by Steve Shay. Illustrations top & bottom right by Herb Leonhard
Pictured left, Paul & Libby Carr of West Seattle as Santa & Mrs. Claus. The Alki couple were at Tully's Coffee on Alki Monday to begin handing out their pre-ordered book with CD that just arrived, "Santa's First Magical Ride", to customers. Pictured right, top is cover illustration. Right, bottom, is an illustration from the book. The artist is Herb Leonhard, a well-known artist from Prosser, WA.
New Christmas book & CD interprets Santa story in rhyme; Alki authors' effort
Paul & Libby Carr release new book to help Mom & Dad explain Santa's roots
A new Christmas book, "Santa's First Magical Ride" was just released by West Seattle residents Paul and Libby Carr, their 12 chapters of rhyming couplets augmented by world-class illustrator Herb Leonhard of Prosser, WA. Paul was the author, while Libby is marketing the book. The story offers an explanation of where Santa was born, why the elves live in the North Pole, and other answers that parents might share with their youngsters.
Libby said the book's 7” x 7” hardback format makes it well-suited for Christmas gifts for companies and organizations to give employees and customers.
This is Leonhard's 26th book. He has illustrated books ranging from "Lyrics by Tori Amos" to "Lewis & Clark in the Pacific Northwest Coloring Book".
The Carr's of Alki are well-known, in part, for their work in establishing the new Statue of Liberty and Plaza there. Perhaps less known is that this creative duet adopted the Santa & Mrs. Claus persona for many a Christmas.
"For over 10 years we both have done the Mr. and Mrs. Claus thing for kids," said Paul, whose voice is heard on the CD, an entire reading of the book. He has done radio and TV voice work for years, and said the audio together with the text can be used as a learning tool for children. He belongs to an actual organization named "The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas".
Paul recalled, "We used to do this thing where I'd play a little guitar and Libby would sing (in the Santa gear) and then I'd ask, 'Aren't there any questions you have for Santa?' At first they'd be shy, then the questions would all pour out. Then, they'd come up and tell me what they wanted for Christmas."
He began writing his self-published book about 10 years ago, and revisited it over time. Libby explained what compelled them to take on the subject matter of offering answers to hard questions kids have traditionally asked for years about Santa and his elves.
"We started dressing up as Santa and Mrs. Claus to see our grandkids in Yakima," said Libby. "On our way back one Christmas we stopped in Ellensburg at our favorite BBQ restaurant and all of a sudden there are three kids from the same family standing at our table. The oldest, a nine year old boy asked, 'OK. How do the reindeer fly? How do you get around the world in one night, and how do you get all those toys into one bag?'
"Our jaws dropped, and we said, 'That's a good question. It's magic. Ask your mother.' It was very embarrassing. That January Paul sat down and began to write this book."
Their book's website answers some of the questions. According to "Santa's First Magical Ride", Santa was born on another planet called "Yule". He was brought to the North Pole as a baby. On Earth, humans had threatened the elves for their magic, and they sought refuge at the North Pole. The book tells of a quest of trust among the factions. The book has 9,500 words of a layered history based on Nordic myth, imagination, and other sources.
"I don't know that we thought about this much before doing it but when you put these suits on you are all of a sudden a cherished and loved archetype," said Libby, acknowledging a surprising responsibility that goes with the garb.
Added Paul, "Santa represents the light in the dark of the night for the benefit of the children. And the kids are the future. They are the light, too."
"When you take the time to talk to kids they will start telling you about their real concerns," Paul said. "They might say they want you to help someone else they know in need."
Added Libby, "They've told Paul that for Christmas they want Mom and Dad to stop fighting."
"These are things they would never say if they were just slammed on my lap at a department store to tell me what they want, and then get the photo op," said Paul. "Kids really believe innately that Santa loves them unconditionally, and that's what we all want, really."
The Carrs are available to appear as Santa & Mrs. Claus.
For more information, go to: http://www.yulestory.com
or contact Libby Carr at 206-938-8721; firstname.lastname@example.org.