A father and son have taken something special and tweaked it for the next generation.
Local artist Lowell Davis of Red Oak II wrote “The Book on Chickens,” in 1992. It re-entered the market in a new fashion Sunday, Aug. 5, as an interactive audio book under the application “Big Jack,” accessible through iPads or iPhones with the help of Lowell's son, Phillip. Last week, Phillip was able to come home to Missouri from Florida to spend some quality time with his father. Besides studying some genealogy, the two have discovered they can transition books to the digital age together.
“The beauty of the book is the animals were real, they were living on the farm,” Lowell said. “The buildings were actual places, nowadays, nothing you read is real.”
“The book gives them (the animals) personality,” added Phillip. “I wanted to make sure this book lived on. Five years from now, I don't see kids carrying around books. You can hand them an iPad, and everything they need will be on it.”
Fusing unique, country art with modern technology savvy, Lowell and Phillip reunited with the project.
“I'm real happy with it,” Lowell said. “It's great working with my son, he has the computer knowledge and I have the art. He's 1,500 miles away and we finally found something we can work together on. I hope our work is successful so he could move back.”
The book features 30 extra touch sound effects on the pages. As readers of any and all ages swipe the screen, the story appears before them while a narrator takes them through a love story between two chickens on the Davis farm. Phillip said the format of the book was perfect for an iPad or iPhone screen. Also, the voices of the characters might sound a little familiar to locals.
Rose, Lowell's wife, asked members of the congregation at the Salem Church at Red Oak II to use their Ozark voices for the book. Local adults and children are heard throughout the book as readers imagine animals talking to each other on the farm. The voices belong to Jim Comer, Phyllis Harpole, Wendell Hayes, Patty Johnson, Betty Rosenthal, Donna Hayes, Joy Grace Leaming, Jerry Harris, Carl Cleveland, Zachary, Ian and Grant Geters, Reagan Nell Davis, Mr. Bittick and Joyce Bittick and of course, Lowell Davis.
The hard copies of the book, which feature Lowell Davis hand paintings and lettering, are still available on Amazon.com.
How did Lowell come up the idea for the book 20 years ago?
“Someone asked me 'Lowell, do you know anything about chickens?' and I said, 'Are you kidding? I wrote the book on chickens!'”
And that's how the title came to be.
Anyone can access the audio book through an application called “Big Jack,” on iTunes for $1.99. The proceeds of sales from the book will go directly to the new metal sculpture garden Lowell Davis hopes to install by the Blacksmith's Shop at Red Oak II.
Page 2 of 2 - “When people buy the book, they're also making a donation to local art,” Phillip said. “It's been great that we can put our talents together like this – we have six more projects lined up.”
Soon to come, the children's book, “Blossom and Sheldon,” will be available in similar form. And, a coloring book, where children can fill in their colors in the black and white pages, or see Lowell Davis' coloring on the same page.
Phillip, 48, said it was good to be home, even if it was for a brief visit.