Wellsboro, Pa. - Kevin Coolidge, owner of From My Shelf Books and Gifts at 7 East Avenue, Wellsboro, is publishing a Wellsboro-focused book featuring the poem "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" this month.
The book was inspired by the Wynken, Blynken, and Nod statue that serves as the centerpiece of The Green, a park in the heart of downtown Wellsboro.
"Dutch Lullaby" was the original title of the popular poem for children, written by American writer and poet Eugene Field and published on March 9, 1889.
"'Wynken, Blynken and Nod' has been a perennial bestseller at the bookstore for 15 years and is adored by locals and visitors alike," said Coolidge.
"Unfortunately, the pandemic changed that. The book is published by North South Press. Demand for it had been strong in Wellsboro, but with increasing cases of COVID-19 and state requirements, sales plummeted."
"Wellsboro had fewer visitors and sales were low enough that the current publisher decided to print fewer copies of it," said Coolidge.
Since the poem is in the public domain, he decided to do a new version. "My goal with 'Wynken, Blynken and Nod' is to keep the poem and its relationship to Wellsboro alive," Coolidge said.
"Because I write books, I formed my own publishing house called From My Shelf Books & Gifts Press," he said. "Wynken, Blynken, & Nod" will be the first book that Coolidge's business will publish that he didn't actually write.
The book will be illustrated by Chris Jones, who also illustrates Coolidge's Totally Ninja Raccoons series and his most recent book, Rebecca, White House Raccoon.
Jones is a graduate of New Covenant Academy in Mansfield and a former resident of Wellsboro. He now lives in Florida, but maintains his Wellsboro connections with family and friends and by illustrating Coolidge's books under the pen name Jubal Lee, because "few things make him happier than art."
The cover illustration will be of the statue and The Green. Included in "Wynken, Blynken & Nod" will be the poem and information about the poem's author and the history of the statue on The Green.
Coolidge plans to debut the new Wellsboro version of "Wynken, Blynken & Nod" during the town's annual Laurel Festival, which runs from June 12 through 20.
"I'm already scheduled to have my booth on The Green and will be there with the books in my Totally Ninja Raccoons series, too," said Coolidge. "My booth will be next to the statue."
To pre-order the new Wellsboro version of "Wynken, Blynken, & Nod" at From My Shelf Books & Gifts in Wellsboro, stop by or call (570) 724-5793.