Georgette Shandler, known as Poppy, has been part of the Peak family since the newspaper was formed in 1995. Originally from Toronto, she moved to the coast with her family as a girl.
“I’ve been in Powell River since the Peak opened,” she said. “I was one of the first employees.”
Her aptitude and interest in art precedes her career in the warehousing and delivery departments of the publication. She studied animation at Vancouver Film School and has been an artist her entire life, she said.
“I don’t know how to describe it; I guess I just had a talent for it,” said Shandler. “My mom said that when I was little, like two, I was drawing faces.”
For many years Shandler has been hand painting objects such as shells and eggs, which she gives as gifts and sells at local craft fairs. The book illustration was a new artistic outlet, she said.
The first book, When I Was Little, is written by her late cousin David Stallard, and looks at some of the humorous misconceptions that can occur when the English language is taken too literally. The drawings, done in pencil crayon, are large, vibrant and whimsical interpretations of his words. She was given free rein to interpret as she saw them, she said.
“I like pencil crayon; it’s bright,” she said. “The scenery is west coast, because that is my inspiration.”
The second book, The Extraordinary Tale of Sammy Snail and Other Silly Stories was written by her mother, Bernice Ramsdin-Firth, and retells droll and delightful bedtime stories Bernice’s father, Herbert, shared with his own children and grandchildren.
Although Shandler’s children are adults now, having these family stories brought to life in book form is a happy ending for everyone.
“My grandkids are in their teens now,” she said. “But they love the stories.”
Shandler’s books will be available at Cranberry Crafts Fifth Annual Winter Fair on November 23 and 24 at Cranberry Seniors Centre, as well as the Peak office.