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Balancing the worlds of work and family
New book for kids takes fantasy-style look at prioritizing parenthood
A new children’s book explores the fine balance of fun and responsibility that comes with parenthood.
River Park South couple Mike and Jill Palitsky recently launched the self-published book In the Land of Work-A-Lot at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Grant Park. The book is illustrated by Matthew Welch.
Jill, a project manager for an information technology company who often works from home, said the idea for the book, the couple’s second, came from an innocent inquiry from the younger of their two sons, Jacob, now 12, several years ago.
"I work from home a lot and one day he walked into my workroom and asked ‘Where do you go play every day?’" Jill said, noting the book is aimed at kids aged up to 10.
"Jacob was thinking parents go out and play all the time. We laughed about it that night and it spawned the book."
The fantasy-style rhyming book has starring roles for the family foursome, which includes Jacob’s older brother Scott, now 21, and a recurring role for the infamous Tickle Monster.
"In the story, mom feels bad as she’s busy trying to strike a work-life balance and the child wants her attention. So she takes a break and the Tickle Monster comes out and the whole family gets involved, as my husband comes through to save the day," Jill said.
"While we have to provide for our family, we have to try and make time for them. You’re always trying to find a balance, because your priority is taking care of them but at the end of the day, you’re torn because you’re not there for them 100% of the time."
Jill said the couple wrote in bursts. She would "get the gist down" and then Mike would make her thoughts rhyme and act as an editor.
When they handed the reins to Welch, a freelance illustrator, the story was "just a title and words."
"I approached the illustrations in a Camelot-type way," Welch said, noting In the Land of Work-A-Lot is the first book he has illustrated.
"The book’s title suggested a fantasy style and it all came together really well. I wanted to adopt the viewpoint of a young kid, so Jacob’s character sort of sees everything in terms of castles and princesses. Meeting him helped, as his personality is very lively and bouncy."
The Transcona resident used a palette of vibrant colours for the final design and the process evolved through sketches, then larger pencil drawings which were inked and scanned into a computer.
"Being my first book, the back-and-forth took longer than I thought, which just highlighted the importance of communication," he said.
The couple’s first book, released in 2009 and illustrated by Bart Rucinski, is titled The Time I Got Lost on Laundry Day and was inspired by a disgruntled Jacob, who was "grumbling and panting" about bad weather one day, Jill said.
For more details about the paperback, visit www.mcnallyrobinson.com and search for Jill Palitsky.
To learn more about Welch, visit www.arttimessoul.com
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