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Local artist, author combine for 'whimsical' children's book

Colin McKim pens new children's book featuring Steph Dunn's watercolours in a poetic story where 'innocence clashes with experience'
Local artist Steph Dunn has illustrated Colin McKim's new children's book with watercolour illustrations.

Popular local singer and artist Steph Dunn has turned her hand to illustration with "astonishing" results.

Her "enchanting" watercolours in Colin McKim's new children's book, The Kitten and the Chicken, enliven the whimsical and heartwarming tale of the kitten and chicken who live together in an old Fargo truck.

“She has a real gift,” says McKim. “Her paintings are better than I could have imagined.”

In the story, innocence clashes with experience as the kitten and chicken each have an adventure fraught with peril followed by a tender homecoming.

“As soon as I read Colin’s poem, I could picture these adorable characters in my mind,” says Dunn, who teaches art and music at Georgian Bay District Secondary School.

Response has been overwhelmingly positive with dozens of people already requesting copies for children and grandchildren as Christmas approaches, said McKim, whose story was inspired by the old Fargo truck parked at Grant's Woods, a popular forest trail off Division Road in Orillia.

For more than 20 years McKim worked as a journalist at three Orillia newspapers.

As a columnist, he was known for his offbeat humour, once proposing that members of council be live-trapped and released in Northern Ontario.

In 2021, McKim released The Longest Mustache in St. John and Other Poems, a marvel of the imagination, full of zany characters who would be right at home in the pages of Alice in Wonderland.

Copies of McKim's new book are $20, plus $4 for postage. To order email [email protected].