NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Writing, drawing and publishing a children’s book is not as simple as ABC – especially when the book is about the ABCs.
Just ask North Salem resident Kevin Lindberg.
Lindberg has spent the last seven years drawing all 26 letters of the alphabet using complex combinations of objects to form each letter in "The Curious ABCs."
The book is designed to make the experience of learning the ABCs a more engaging experience, with the additional intention of becoming fascinating artwork to have in a home library or coffee table.
The birth of his first son, Wyeth, inspired the idea.
“I wanted to create something for him, and I wanted it to be unique and beautiful,” Lindberg said. “As I thought about it, a letter came to mind. As I worked on the letter, I became interested in the idea of a lot of small things coming together to make something larger, and that is where the idea for the alphabet was born.”
"The Curious ABCs" is currently in its fundraising phase. Lindberg has set up a Kickstarter account with the goal of $25,000 by Oct. 10. With six days left to make a donation, current contributions are nearing the $10,000 mark. The money, Lindberg said, will be used to publish the book in both hardcover and iPad App formats.
“The money will primarily go toward the production of the books, which will be done here in the states, and towards the developer who is on board to produce the app,” Lindberg said. “Additionally, the money will fun the production of the framed letters, the poster and the Kickstarter fees.
The letters in "The Curious ABCs" are formed by objects beginning with each letter. For instance, in the letter “D,” you can see a dolphin, a dragonfly and dominoes, among others.
Between picking out which objects would form each letter – and then drawing them out – it’s hardly a surprise Lindberg took seven years to complete the project.
“I began each letter by skimming through the dictionary to find interesting things that began with each respective letter - things that would resonate with a variety of ages,” he said. “Once I settled on a list of 10 to 20 words I then began to sketch out what each thing might look like, and eventually shortened the list to 6 to 8 objects.
"At that point I sketched a rough composition of the letter and then moved to the computer where I digitally illustrated each object on a Wacom tablet (digital pad).”
He said there was a point where he realized drawing the alphabet with objects was a much different experience then saying them out loud, admitting “it took some motivation when I was in near ‘M’ and ‘N.’ I still had a long way to go after that.”
However, after much “labor and love,” Lindberg said he envisions the finished product, and each letter, having its own story and experience – much like the illustrations found in popular children’s author and illustrator Richard Scarry.
“I wanted the alphabet to be rich and interesting to kids, something that they would want to return to over-and-over again to find new things, like a Richard Scarry book,” he said. “As the letters began to form, they started to have this wonderous quality about them, the way the scale of different items played off of one another and they way unusual compositions would form, and the name ‘The Curious ABCs’ came to mind.”
Lindberg, currently the creative director of Sheridan & Co. in New York City, moved to North Salem last summer with his two sons, Wyeth and Auden, and his wife, Naomi. He said he would love to see "The Curious ABCs" in Westchester libraries in the near future.
“Once I get this produced, I would thrilled to donate copies of the book and poster to the local libraries and younger classrooms,” he said. “I’m very excited about 'The Curious ABCs,' and it makes me proud to share it.”