With years of experience as both an artist and art teacher, Lorie Turpin has always been comfortable with a canvas in front of her. Writing, on the other hand, was not something she normally would have considered in her wheelhouse.

Turpin released her first book recently. ‘Bippity Boppity’ – a book aimed at younger children up to seven years old – features rhymes, art, colorful characters and multiple suggestions for family activities. It’s a labor of love aimed to promote fun and interaction between parents and their children.

“(The book) is for young kids to have fun and be silly with their parents,” says Turpin, noting the work was partially inspired by the type of stories she would read to her children when they were young. “My kids loved Dr. Seuss and all types of rhyming books.”

The idea for the story’s outline came to Turpin about six years ago out of the blue when a rhyme began repeating in her head. Like an earworm, she kept hearing the rhyme with different words and decided she needed to expand upon it. That’s when she first came up with the thought of creating artwork to go with the rhymes and perhaps turning it into a book for children.

“I never had any intention (of writing a children’s book) but when this rhyme popped into my head I knew I had to complete it,” says Turpin, who is well-known locally as an artist and art instructor.

Turpin worked on the various rhymes for the book first, adding new ones individually. Once she felt the writing portion of the book was complete, Turpin turned to the artwork. The first hurdle she had to overcome was to find a main character for the story.

“I went through all these ideas and all these types of characters and they just didn’t feel right,” Turpin comments. “Then I happened on this silly one-eyed octopus and I thought it would be perfect.”

In keeping with the theme of the book, that single silly octopus turned into a one-eyed octopus family. Illustrations of the family of cartoon-like octopuses singing, dancing and playing games to the rhyme of ‘Bippity Boppity’ are featured throughout the book.

Turpin did all of the multi-colored illustrations found on every page of ‘Bippity Boppity’. While she is an experienced artist and painter, there was an extra challenge in the fact she decided to do all of the artwork in watercolor, a medium in which Turpin had no previous experience.

“I thought watercolor would really allow (the artwork) to pop,” she explains. “It was my first attempt at painting watercolor but it was a very fun adventure and a great learning experience.”

The entire process of writing and then creating the watercolor illustrations took about a year. And while the book was just published just last week, the project was actually completed and ready for publication by the beginning of 2015. Turpin wanted to self-publish the book then, but when she researched publishing options the cost was very high. She discovered only recently that The Review newspaper in Vankleek Hill offered self-publishing services and to her delight the cost was a mere fraction of what she had been quoted from other publishers years earlier.

Speaking last Thursday, Turpin had just received her first copies of the book a day earlier and said the excitement of seeing the finished publication didn’t really hit her until she got home.

“When I picked them up I actually just put the box in the trunk of my car. Then when I got home (her family) was asking me about the book,” Turpin laughs. “So I opened it and looked at it and when I saw (how beautiful it was) I actually screamed.”

Although it has only been a few days since her book was available to purchase, sales of ‘Bippity Boppity have been brisk. The one sales issue has been that many places where the book would normally be available are closed, so Turpin has to be inventive in getting her book to interested readers:

“People have been picking (books) up on my front porch and I’ve done some local deliveries. This afternoon I’m setting up in my driveway for an hour so people can come pick up copies.”

Turpin is well know locally and keeps very busy with artwork, teaching her popular Drink ‘n Doodle art classes and many other projects. She says the role of children’s writer is something she is enjoying a great deal:

“I’m having a lot of fun with (the book) and it’s keeping me busy. I can actually already see sequels down the road.”

Anyone who would like to purchase a copy of ‘Bippity Boppity’ can do so my contacting Lorie Turpin through her email: [email protected]. She can also be contacted via phone at 613-678-0009. The cost of each book is $14.95. Copies will also be available to purchase at The Review and Arbor Gallery once both locations reopen to the public.