Texas-based artist Teal Blake has written and illustrated a children’s book, J is for Jackalope.
His book chronicles the adventure of a young cowboy named Samuel CB and his sidekick, a jackalope. Samuel lives on a cattle ranch in the West with his family and has grown up working amid the ranch hands, riding horses, roping, and developing the strong spirit that prompts him to new challenges played out alongside his long-eared friend.
The storyline captures a turning point in Samuel’s life. Bored with the chores and limitations of boyhood, Samuel is craving more. After hearing stories of the fabled jackalope living in the mountains nearby, he sets out in pursuit and in the end, also finds a great friend.
“A majority of ranch kids — myself included growing up — tend to hit a point where their curiosity gets the better of them,” Blake says. “You want to go do something whether someone tells you to or not. That was Samuel. It kind of seemed natural to tell the story of this little kid who was at the point where he wanted to explore beyond the boundaries he currently had in his life. It appeals to this age group and what they’re learning at this period of life.”
He says the concept for the book stemmed from stories he first heard as a child, generated from cowboy tales.
“Sharing stories during brandings or around campfires and other social gatherings are an element of cowboy work that is really so much a part of who cowboys are as a culture,” Blake says. “Stories of legendary cowboys and folklore about fabled critters are part of this fabric, and since I was a kid, I’ve been partial to the stories of the jackalope.”
Find the book on jisforjackalope.com and at the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Ranch Rodeo Finals, Nov. 7-10, Amarillo.
You can also see the entire process on the original Kickstarter page here.