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Artist tells a story about string



Published: Thu, August 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The book is a throwback to an earlier time, the illustrator said.

By JOSH ECHT

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A string of ideas and a string of luck helped Austintown native John Ferguson produce his first children's book, "The Things A String Can Be."

Ferguson, a Fitch High School and 1991 Youngstown State University advertising graduate, will sign books and lead children in activities from his book 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Barnes and Noble, 381 Boardman-Poland Road.

Author Julie Goulis and illustrator Ferguson completed the 32-page book from early idea planning in May 2003 to publishing it May 2005 through Bubblegum Books in Cleveland.

"We sent 12 letters to publishers, but it didn't work out," Ferguson said. "Luckily ... we were able to self-publish the book based on several business contacts' advice."

Ferguson said the company then secured the book's distribution through New York-based Parklane Publishing at a June 2004 book exposition in Chicago.

The book hit area shelves in June.

A simple tale

"I wanted to create the book as a throwback to an earlier era before video games and the modern generation's love for instant gratification," Ferguson said.

He said the book's concept of a child having fun with a piece of string and imagining its potential uses will attract customers. The book is geared toward 3- to 7-year-olds.

Executive editor Brad Hauber said the company, in existence since March 2004, plans to release a second book in October called "Something Shiny, Something Round."

"Both books are great because they encourage children to use their imagination in today's technological society," Hauber said. The October release will carry a similar theme, he said.

Ferguson, who currently lives in North Royalton, said he first ventured into the world of children's books after he started a family.

"I would sit and read books to my sons, Jacob and Sam," he said, "and I found myself analyzing their content, illustration and organization.

"I realized I could produce works of equal or better quality."




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