Storytellers settle on 40 words for Hello Humpback!

Roy Henry Vickers, Lucky Budd target the youngest of readers

When Roy Henry Vickers and Lucky Budd come together a spark of a book is likely to form.

Budd, a historian and writer who lives just beyond Oak Bay’s borders, and Vickers, a renowned First Nation artist and storyteller who graduated from Oak Bay High just can’t help it.

So overlooking the Skeena River on an August evening, with eagles soaring overhead Budd wondered if they could share the beauty of the West Coast with the three young children playing on the lawn in front of him. Something they could take away.

“Roy and I were like ‘Yeah, we can do that’,” he said with a laugh. They started throwing ideas around – the flowing river, chatty ravens and more inspired from the scene in front of them.

“That’s the way it works. Inspiration, Gods’s spirit breathing into us,” Roy said.

The pair is behind the award-winning, bestselling Northwest Coast Legends, a children’s series they say targets all-ages. This month they released Hello Humpback! the first in a new series of board books created for the littlest readers.

“The journey of the book is basically salmon going down the river and eventually we get to the ocean and back to the beach,” Budd said.

All the books share that theme of environment, caring for inhabitants of Earth and

“What we’re doing is looking at 43 years of creativity as an artist. My work has always been encompassing of our life in this world and its continuous cycle.”

Usually though, Budd has more words to weave the tale.

“The only challenge of working with a book that only has 40 words is putting the puzzle pieces together,” Budd said. When they were done, he ran them by the his kids, aged three and five. “I watched it all connect for them gave me goosebumps. It’s incredible.”

With a quick turnover – in August and out by spring – both credit the Harbour Publishing team for making sure the inspirations turn out as promised.

“I saw a baby crawl for the first time in her life to get to the book because the images moved this little baby girl so strongly,” Vickers said. “It speaks to the importance of images.”

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com