By Jason KUROSU
Montrose’s Once Upon a Time bookstore is no stranger to special appearances from authors and, after winning Roaring Brook Press’ national window display contest for their tribute to “Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads,” the book’s author Bob Shea and illustrator Lane Smith visited the store Saturday morning.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Once Upon A Time owner Maureen Palacios when recalling her excitement over winning the grand prize. The display, which graced Once Upon a Time’s storefront during the month of October, featured the town of Drywater Gulch, complete with the cowboys, snakes and tortoises that populate the book’s setting. The winning display was the work of Once Upon A Time’s Judy Pfeiffer and Nikki Guza, along with a window display trailer from Alyson Beecher.
Shea and Smith arrived to a throng of parents, kids and fellow illustrators Saturday morning, some wearing cowboy hats in keeping with the book’s Western theme, and many excited to hear a live reading of Sheriff Ryan’s dino-centric brand of law enforcement. The book revolves around 7-year-old Sheriff Ryan, whose dinosaur expertise aids him in saving the town of Drywater Gulch from the thieving Toad Brothers’ reign of terror, this despite the sheriff’s lack of experience in any other policing matters.
“Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads” is the second collaboration between accomplished children’s book writers Shea and Smith, Shea the author of over a dozen books and Smith an award-winning author and illustrator, perhaps most famously the illustrator of Jon Scieszka’s “The Stinky Cheese Man.” Shea and Smith previously collaborated on “Big Plans” in 2008.
The book was put together over the course of a few years and, according to Smith, fulfilled both his interest as a longtime fan of Westerns and the desire to collaborate with Shea again.
Shea and Smith provided an animated live reading of the book and, afterwards, took requests on illustrations, with many elaborate appeals from children in the audience, including dinosaurs, unicorns, dinosaurs riding unicorns, dinosaurs wearing jetpacks and of course, the Stinky Cheese Man.
Pfeiffer said that she was pleased that her display was able to take the award and continue the store’s tradition of bringing writers and their audience together.
“It’s really been wonderful being able to get such well known authors to come to the store,” said Pfeiffer.
Upcoming events and author appearances at Once Upon A Time include Graphic Greats!, featuring Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman & James Burks on Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m. and Jon Scieszka of “The Stinky Cheese Man” fame, promoting his new Frank Einstein books on March 16.
Once Upon a Time is located at 2207 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose.