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‘What Sleepy Animals Do’

Grace Milsaps, Ryan Murphy, Alyson Kilday and John Clark IV collaborated on a new children’s book, which they will be reading and signing today in Andalusia.

Grace Milsaps, Ryan Murphy, Alyson Kilday and John Clark IV collaborated on a new children’s book, which they will be reading and signing today in Andalusia.

Book signing, readings at Andalusia library at 10:30; Pink Peppers at 12:30.

Animals doing the Hokey Pokey, hippos who do hip hop, and rocking rhinos are among the characters children will meet in “What The Sleepy Animals Do At The Audubon Zoo,” illustrated in part by Andalusia native John Clark IV.

In the story about a father and daughter’s trip to the Audubon Zoo, Renee (the child) realizes that the animals are rather sleepy and not very active during the day. When she asks her father why they are so boring, he answers with a story about how the animals are sleepy at night because they are having a party at night. While there is no overt reference to New Orleans in the words of the book, the illustrations include a second line, music and food.

“You see the animals coming out of their cages and all having a good time together,” said co-creator Alyson Kilday, who also is Clark’s partner in a creative agency, Hop & Jaunt.

The husband and wife team of Ryan Murphy and Grace Millsaps wrote the book, and worked to give it the best possible cadence for teaching kids to read.

“This project wasn’t just about creating a children’s book but about creating something tangible and worthwhile as our ‘love letter to New Orleans,’ “ Kilday said. A portion of the proceeds will be contributed toward Audubon’s new elephant sanctuary.

Today, Clark is bringing his co-creators to Andalusia, where they will do a children’s reading and sign books (See schedule).

The Straughn graduate and son of John and Vicki Clark first studied art at LBW. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising and graphic design from the University of South Alabama.

The authors contacted the illustrators about a year ago, and the illustrations were completed in a period of about three months.

Clark said the group did crowd funding through indiegogo.com and raised about $8,000 in five days to get the first copies printed.

“We’ve been working since December finding printer,” Clark said. The first 2,000 copies have just arrived.

Clark said he’s been drawing his whole life.

“My parents were big influences,” he said. “My mom is creative and my dad is a draftsman and engineer. He helped me with technical drawing.”

He has been doing illustrations for about 10 years, and said animals are his favorite subject matter.

“So I already had a bit of experience,” he said, adding that he’s done mostly mascot and branding design.

The books are available locally at Pink Peppers, where the crew will be autographing copies from 12:30 until 2:30 p.m. today, Thurs., Aug. 1. They also are available online at thesleepyanimals.com.