Moose Gets Goose From Book Sense 76 Selection

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

In Honk the Moose -- the classic 1935 tale of Boys Tease Moose, Moose Scares Boys, and Boys Save Moose -- Mary Koski, president of Trellis Publishers and a children's book author, found a long out-of-print book that she believed would appeal to children in the 21st century.

A prized spot for Honk the Moose on the Winter 2001/2002 Children's Book Sense 76 resulted in dramatic sales increases, along with second and third printings.

Based on true events in Biwabik, Minnesota, Koski's hometown, Honk the Moose, originally published by Dodd Mead, was a Newbery Honor Book in 1936. Written by Phil Strong, who also wrote the novel State Fair (the basis of the hit 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical motion picture of the same name), Honk the Moose, was illustrated by Kurt Wiese, who won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for it, as well as for The Five Chinese Brothers and The Story About Ping.

Honk the Moose had not been in print since the late 1960s, but the rights to publish the book were made available to Steve Bardach, the mayor of Biwabik, who then had to secure a publisher. During the 2001 negotiations, Koski actively, and successfully, pursued them. The new publication of the book has given Bibawik a centerpiece for its redevelopment efforts: plaques were mounted around town at the sites mentioned in the story and a life-sized statue of Honk has been erected in a prominent spot. According to Koski, Trellis had started out as the publisher of her own popular series of Impatient Pamela books; Honk the Moose marked a foray into other children's books and select nonfiction. As of fall 2002, Trellis has a list of seven books.

In nominating the book for the Book Sense 76 list, Beth Plattner of Fishing With Your Mind in Walker, Minnesota, wrote that this was "a wonderfully funny story about a small town in northern Minnesota. Beautiful vintage illustrations add charming character to the book. This is sure to delight readers of all ages!"

Koski described to BTW how beneficial it was to participate in the Book Sense 76 process. "The Book Sense program looks at quality books no matter where they come from. It puts small publishers, who can't afford much publicity, on an even keel with the big publishers. Then, when you get such recognition, it helps tremendously. I would say that being on the 76 list increased sales by at least 5,000 books."