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Abbotsford artist illustrates daughter’s ‘animal facts’ for new children’s picture book

Stephanie Vanderpol’s ‘Cheetahs Eat Cantaloupe’ will become available for pre-order in mid-February
Abbotsford artist Stephanie Vanderpol started illustrating each animal fact, asking her daughter what she had in her mind. Submitted photo.

A self-taught Abbotsford artist illustrated her daughter’s imaginative “animal facts” for a new children’s picture book.

The idea behind Stephanie Vanderpol’s “Cheetahs Eat Cantaloupe” started during the first set COVID lockdowns. She said her seven-year-old daughter had a habit of randomly walking up to her and stating make-believe facts about animals off the top of “her cute little head.”

“A giraffe’s neck never stops growing,” is one example, illustrated as a giraffe’s head extending out into space wearing a spacesuit.

Vanderpol said she would write down each animal fact as they were said, and then started illustrating them later, asking her daughter what she had in her mind.

“She was very involved in the whole process,” Vanderpol said. “I would sketch it, and she would either laugh, and then I knew that I hit the mark, or she would not laugh, and then I knew I had to try again.”

What started as a form of mental-stress relief, soon grew in popularity on Instagram, so Vanderpol re-illustrated them into a self-published children’s picture book.

She said creating the book was a great bonding experience with her daughter.

“I would sketch it and I would ink and I would paint it, and she would critique it … Sometimes her critiques were just ridiculous, and sometimes they were really, really good.”

Vanderpol says it took almost a year to put the book together, and she started on Feb. 1, 2021. The book will become available for pre-order in mid-February, 2022.

If interested in ordering a copy, reach out to Vanderpol’s Instagram account: @stephanielorinda.