Absolutely Wild

The publisher first saw Kim Cunningham’s artwork – and her father Dennis Webster’s clever and witty poetry – at an  exhibition of New Hampshire artists in Peterborough. With bookcases brimming over with alphabet, animal, nonsense, and every other kind of children’s book, it takes a lot to impress Mr. Godine. This work did.

The verses by Cunningham’s father, a New York copywriter, are original, catchy, and sophisticated (or as sophisticated as you can get writing about vultures, gibbons, giraffes, and gnus). Here’s just a sample of Webster’s ode to the yak:

“A shaggy species is the yak
With hairy front and hairy back.
It isn’t very hard to spot him
With hairy top and hairy bottom
He doesn’t mind that he’s so shaggy
If he wore pants, he’d like them baggy
His coat’s a frightful mess, and yet
You’d dress as he does, in Tibet.”

If you are intrigued by the exotic, the colorful, the sublimely ridiculous, or the reductively sublime, this is a book to tickle your tail feathers.

An avid crossword-puzzle enthusiast, Dennis Webster worked for years as an advertising copywriter in New York City, where he honed his writing skills by creating poems for special occasions. He also worked as a newspaper reporter in Chappaqua, New York. The poems in Absolutely Wild were created as a gift for his animal-loving daughter, Kim Webster Cunningham.

Kim Webster Cunningham worked for twenty-five years as a designer and illustrator for companies such as Eastern Mountain Sports and Brookstone. Her preferred medium for the past thirty-five years has been linoleum block printing, and has experimented with ceramics and beeswax-coated collages. She has also worked in the world of found-object assemblage. She and her husband have created an extensive created space in Hancock, NH, which is near to where she often exhibits her work in Peterborough, NH. You can visit their studios and sculpture gardens during the Monadnock Art Open Studio Tour each summer. She loves to travel, especially to New Mexico, but draws inspirational primarily in the wildlife, culture, and nature of her New Hampshire home. Absolutely Wild is her first children’s book, done in collaboration with her father, Dennis Webster.