Here’s something I can never do often enough: brag on and pimp out my frequent co-writer, best friend and hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore.
Kevin’s been keeping busy with his day job at Hallmark Cards, where he’s been known over the years to write all manner of cool things from catalog and other marketing copy to greeting cards to scripts for short films and everything in between. He even wrote what quickly became one of my very favorite Star Trek-themed birthday cards.
A couple of years ago, Kevin wrote a gift book for Hallmark, Superdad and his Daring Dadventures, which was intended for kids to share with their dads on Fathers Day. Little did we know that it would be but the first such tome Kevin would pen for the Hall of Cards.
His latest offerings are for the ever-growing segment of “interactive story books,” for which Hallmark has developed several products. I’ve told you about a few of these already, but these newest editions to their line are special because Kevin wrote them, which you know means I was a fan pretty much from the instant I heard about them:
As with other interactive story books, these are written such that when the child reads a key phrase (highlighted within the book’s text), the interactive component provides various preprogrammed responses. With other Hallmark interactive story buddies such as Scooby-Doo or “Jingle the Husky Pup,” the interaction comes from a stuffed animal that is packaged with the first book(s) in a particular series. For Cosmic Ray? The first book, Cosmic Ray and the Mystery from Space, accompanies a bit of sweet role-play wear. Behold, yo:
That’s right! Your young reader dons a snazzy cape with voice module and swank mask, and they become Cosmic Ray, star of the story!
My daughters each have their own ensemble thanks to “Uncle Kevin,” and they absolutely love them, along with the aforementioned story buddies. My younger daughter gets a real kick out of reading the book and having the voice module talk back to her. This sort of thing is tons of fun for the young beginning reader in your house, or perhaps the adult who’s still a kid at heart.
(I’m sorry. They had me at “cape.”)
Accompanying Kevin’s retro-fun-for-all-ages prose is art by the wonderful Ralph Cosentino, whose talents grace the pages of several other books my kids and I adore. At present, there’s the cape/mask/voice module/Book 1 package, and a second book sold separately, Cosmic Ray and the Mechanical Menace. A third book, Cosmic Ray and the Interplanetary Invasion, is due out later this year. You can be sure I’ll be grabbing that one….two copies, of course. One for the girls and another for…uh, safekeeping. Yeah, that’s it.
(For those wondering, there’s also a similar product aimed specifically at girls, Princess Harmony, but Kevin didn’t write those, so whoever did is on their own so far as braggin’ and pimpin’ go.)
Meanwhile, Kevin is working on other cool things, about which I hope to brag and pimp when the time’s appropriate. Until then, I’ll be
donning my cape and mask watching my girls don their capes and masks as they head to the stars with Cosmic Ray!