Day 1 of my Children's Book Week tour of Ontario was superbly, fantastically, dazzlingly, out-of-this-worldly . . . I just ran out of words to adequately describe the day I had. Thanks to my wonderful hosts at the West Lorne and Aylmer Libraries along with three audiences of enthusiastic, thoughtful young readers, the day was a memorable one. And not only that, I had my name on a marquis for the very first time. (Apparently, at night, the marquis flashes brightly and projects the message across passing clouds. The people of West Elgin are truly amazing.)
Between readings, it was great to be driven around the countryside. I really felt at home in this rural area of sprawling farms and quaint communities– very reminiscent of the Spallumcheen Valley where I live.
One of the highlights was seeing the statue of Jumbo the circus elephant in St. Thomas. Jumbo was struck by a train here in 1885 and died. Barbara Smucker has written a great novel about this amazing elephant.
This is the Aylmer Library. What a great old building it is, although the library is jammed into a very small area on the lower floor. The upper floor is a theatre where John A. Macdonald once spoke. Here's a photo of the ceiling:
Thanks to everyone for making it such a great opening day of my Book Week tour, including all 160 students.