Hermosa Beach's John Perkinson's first children's book, “The Cow Who Said … Wow!” tells the story of a curious bovine.
“It's for young readers learning about the world through the eyes of this cow ... I really want kids to be engaged,” Perkinson said.
In the educational board book, the cow takes the readers around the farm learning about her many friends, including horses, lambs, pigs, ducks and the farmer and his son. The next two books, which Perkinson is currently writing, will take the cow to the city and then the beach.
“I fully intend to build a whole series, maybe take her to the jungle and outer space,” Perkinson said.
Originally from North Carolina, Perkinson, who has also been an actor for 20 years, is currently a music teacher for youngsters and has taught a children's theater class. It was in the theater class where he came up with the book idea. The children enjoyed the repetitive nature of “The Cow Who Said ... Wow,” Perkinson said.
He began the process of writing the book in January 2016, and later found an illustrator, Mike Motz, online in Canada.
“I wrote to him 'Hey, can you draw me a cow? I'll pay for it. I want a nice, happy go lucky cow,'” Perkinson said. “He drew that cow and it was love at first sight.”
One challenge was finding someone to make the sound module that he wanted to say “Wow.” One company in the U.S. wanted $20 a book, so he turned to China and found a company that charged $2 per module.
“I did the first 'Wow' sound,” Perkinson said. “I tried to emulate the moo sound, but I thought to myself, 'This button in the hands of a child is going to be pressed many, many times.' I was trying to look out for the parents and minimize the annoyance factor, so I found the sound on a music library online.”
Fresh off the printing press, Perkinson took his new book to BookCon in New York where he had his own table. He said it was an expensive trip, but “plunging head first” had its benefits.
“Once little kids got it, you heard 'Wow' over there … people would come up and go 'Oh, you're the 'Wow Cow' guy. We saw your book over there.'”
Perkinson also hopes one day to write a “The Cow Who Said” book for every state, highlighting its popular attractions.
“The Cow Who Said … Wow!” can be purchased at local bookstores and at Amazon.com.