When our main character Claire goes out in her Grandpa’s backyard jungle in search of a “lost story,” she grabs her favorite stuffed animals for company and one more very important thing – her imagination!
Sketches: Claire Comes to Life
Although the key ingredient to making “ A Swinging Jungle Tale” come to life is the listener’s imagination, we needed an artist to render the original image of Claire, her friends and the “Jungle” so we’d have a place to start. Steve recently completed an incredible Symphony arrangement of Claude Bolling’s “ Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio” and had contacted the original artist/illustrator, Roger Huyssen, to do his updated CD cover. Roger has done scores of iconic artwork that we’re all familiar with from numerous Time magazine covers to Elmo to Miss Piggy to the original “Boston” album cover and much more.
Roger loved Claire’s imaginative tale and started to sketch. Steve wondered what it would look like if we morphed the Symphony instruments used in ‘A Swinging Jungle Tale” into some of the animals that Claire would meet along her journey. Roger liked the idea and quickly sent back these rough sketches …
Since the whole idea of the production is based on Claire’s imagination, I wanted a front cover for the CD/book that had her “imagining the possibilities” and then a back cover where those thoughts had become “real.” Roger created these magical scenes –
With Roger’s art complete and the voices recorded, we went to friend and award-winning illustrator Greg Carr to incorporate Roger’s art into a Read Along storybook – but with a twist! Staying true to our imagination theme, we decided to let the text of the book, with different colors and sized letters “tell” the story and let the listener imagine the journey as opposed to a traditional picture book. And while we know what Claire and her stuffed animals look like, we’ve left some of the other characters unfinished – and that’s where you come in!
What’s the whole character look like – to you?
Coming soon: draw your own characters!
Claire Finds Her Voice
With characters drawn and the scene set, we now needed a narrator to tell Claire’s story. Following the classic storyteller model, we looked for a narrator that could not only read “A Swinging Jungle Tale” but could use a wide variety of fun and imaginative voices to give the characters identity and personality. Mark had worked with James Murray on the “Big Green Rabbit” PBS TV show and thought he would be a perfect fit. James has worked on and voiced character’s for shows on FOX KIDS, Play House Disney, Nickelodeon and many more. We sent James the script and within minutes he had the characters worked out and was ready to give Claire her first speaking role! Give it a Listen!