If Debbie Cobb is best known as the weekend anchor for Channels 12 and 24, she’s making a new name for herself among young readers. First came “Gracie’s Big Adventure With Augustine the Beaver,” published in 2006, and now, this year, “Gracie’s Big Adventure With the Misfits” ($10.95 in paperback from Laurob Press). Both books are available locally at Barnes and Noble, Bird in Hand, the A.S. Bookstore at Chico State University, Made In Chico, The Creative Apple, and Lyon Books. For online information about the books readers can go to dcobbconsulting.com.
The author will be signing copies at the Redding Library on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until noon and at Lyon Books in downtown Chico this Sunday from noon until 1:30 p.m. The public is invited for a kid-friendly presentation.
The full-color, full-page illustrations by Steve Ferchaud for “The Misfits” are particularly vibrant. They draw the reader into the fun, and young Gracie’s wide smile is not a little reminiscent of Cobb’s own.
Who are the misfits? There are three: Freeman the duck doesn’t like water; Alan the mouse is missing a tail (thanks to a crafty cat); and Tony the turtle has lost his shell. Gracie adopts them all and writes up a fix-it list. It turns out that Tony the turtle really likes water, and Gracie turns on the sprinkler. “It wasn’t long before Alan scurried across the lawn and got all wet, too. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Freeman took one bold step forward, then another and another. This duck no longer had a fear of water.”
Spurred on, Gracie decides to look for Tony’s shell and eventually finds it after a long search. “Gracie had almost completed her mission. She had one more thing on her list to fix.” Where to get Alan a tail? Could Grammy sew one on? Could one be glued on?
But then Gracie realizes something. Though Alan had no tail, “Gracie loved him just the same.” The moral of the book, Cobb writes me, is “about accepting others despite their differences and knowing even if you are different, you’re still loved.”
Cobb’s first book had hidden “G’s” (for Gracie) in each illustration; in “Misfits” there are hidden M’s. And, she writes me, “There’s also a park scene where the bench says ‘Bidwell Park’ with a cat in the scene. It’s total Chico for the locals.” (Just a hint: in that picture, the M is in the tree!)
It’s an old fashioned story with a moral, a simple tale with resonances in the wider world.