Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/10/2010 (3501 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Three young Winnipeg brothers served as the inspiration for a trilogy of children’s adventure books.
The brothers in question are the Walbergs — Jonathan, 8, Isaac, 7, and David, who just turned 3.
The author is their aunt Amanda Sage — an Ottawa-based writer, filmmaker and photographer. Her sister, and the boy’s mother, is Rebecca Walberg — a Winnipeg writer and policy analyst.
The family lives in River Heights, close to the Assiniboine Park Zoo, which happens to be the setting of Zootopia,the third and latest installment of Sage’s self-published series.
"It tells the story of a young boy’s trip to Assiniboine Park Zoo and so much more," said Sage, 32. "His journey takes him around the world and to the limits of his imagination."
The book was recently released to coincide with Boo at the Zoo, which runs until Oct. 30 at the zoo. The event is a fundraiser that includes a walk-through with more than 20 different Halloween-themed areas.
Zootopia was written for David, her youngest nephew. She previously wrote Dinostory for Jonathan and Astrorocket for Isaac. Both were published in 2009.
While flicking through a copy of the book, David listed his favourite animals.
"I like monkeys today... and giraffes... and birds... and kangaroos... and deer," David said.
Issac said that Astrorocket was "good, because I like building things and I saw this shiny bracelet on the ground once." This event inspired the story.
Not to be outdone, Jonathan said when Dinostory came out, it "felt great, it was really fun for me."
Sage said her publishing brand, Wonderpress, was originally inspired by her nephew’s "limitless capacity for wonder."
"You don’t have to look far for ideas and inspiration when you have kids around," Sage said. "They offer a unique, fresh perspective on everything they see and often bring startling insights that adults are too jaded, busy or afraid to have. I think there’s a magic in that kind of openness to the world and whatever lies beyond."
Sage said Dinostory first came about because Jonathan has "an insatiable mind and always wants to learn everything."
"He had just learned about the Ice Age and we were chatting on the phone and he told me he didn’t like the explanation of where the dinosaurs had gone. His sixth birthday was coming up, so I promised him I’d write something about what really happened to them," Sage said.
Despite living in Ottawa, Sage — whose mother hails from Winnipeg and has spent "many summers" visiting the city since childhood — hopes Zootopia will have a big impact on Winnipeg readers.
"I hope that Winnipeggers will appreciate the references and enjoy reading about their city. I always like finding references to places I’ve been. I also included the zoo’s logo and website on the book’s inside cover and I hope it will bring attention and support to the zoo," Sage said.
To complete the family affair, Sage’s younger sister, Louisa, illustrated the Zootopia and Dinostory books. The role went to Karem Laguna for Astrorocket.
Zootopia is now in stock at the Assiniboine Park Zoo Gift Shop and will remain there after Boo at the Zoo concludes. All three books are also available, in both English and French, on Sage’s website at www.wonderpress.ca.
Community journalist — The Lance
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7111
Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.
To those who have made donations, thank you.
To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.
The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.
While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.
After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.
If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.
We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.