'A Bird’s Eye View'

"A Bird’s Eye View of the Hood River Valley” is the newest coloring book to come out about our picturesque valley. But it’s much more than just a coloring book.

A collaboration between local watercolor artist Sally Bailey and retired schoolteacher Marianne Kaczynski, the book is accurately subtitled “A Travelogue Coloring Book.”

“A Bird’s Eye View,” which can easily be read as a children’s book, follows a bird on a journey around the valley to 22 different places.

“It starts in downtown Hood River and goes up through Parkdale,” Kaczynski says. “It basically follows the Fruit Loop.” Each site is “kid-friendly,” says Bailey, including places like the Hood River Rotary Skate Park, Mike’s Ice Cream and the Mt. Hood Railroad.

Bailey, known for her vibrant watercolor paintings of the valley, used her talent to create outline drawings of kids, birds and familiar Hood River Valley scenes — drawings just waiting to be colored by others. Kaczynski, who taught 1st and 2nd grade for 22 years in Beaverton before retiring to Parkdale four years ago, wrote a simple storyline with rhyming descriptions of the scenes.

“We wanted to get to all the areas and I thought this would be a cute way to do it,” Kaczynski says of the bird theme. “It’s also educational.” Kids are encouraged to identify different birds in the book, and a few pages in the back are filled with educational activities and exercises for kids to do.

In addition, each page of the coloring book has a “hidden” ladybug for kids to find and color in.

“Kids love things like that,” says Bailey, who also taught for many years. But she’s quick to point out that she and Kaczynski are calling their endeavor “a coloring book for kids and adults.”

“Sometimes adults like to just sit down and color, too,” she says. The authors plan to donate a portion of the book’s proceeds to local schools for their art programs.

Bailey and Kaczynski have been working on the book, which is due out next week, for two years.

“It’s been fun,” Bailey says.

“We’ve had a good time with it,” Kaczynski adds. A sentiment likely to be shared by colorers of all ages.

“A Bird’s Eye View of the Hood River Valley” will be available in local shops and by contacting Marianne Kaczynski at 541-352-4188 or at mariannek@gorge.net, or Sally Bailey at mthoodsally @aol.com.

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