Reid Genauer, long known as the voice and guitar behind Strangefolk and Assembly of Dust recently published his first children’s book, Jeffery’s Jungle.
The 24 page book for kids ages 4-9 was written by Genauer and illustrated by Alan Close and tells the story of a young boy who turns up the thermostat while his mother is off running errands and a jungle sprouts in the midst of his living room.
Reading through the book, the rhyming story builds in a Jumanji like way, compounding the jungle that grows through his house with each creature that appears while the temperature increases. The excitement and suspense of the book is perfect for reading to kids and allows their imaginations to take the story to another level.
The illustrations are vivid and perfectly visualize the story and convey the emotions expressed in the story. The art pops off the page, evoking AJ Masthay through his animals plants and Bob Montana’s ‘Archie’ through Jeffery.
A natural story teller through his music, Genauer channels Shel Silverstein, Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter through the origins of Jeffrey’s Jungle:
“All of that said at a young age I found that creativity – for me specifically writing – is a place where sensitivity is rewarded. It’s an activity where you can unleash your senses and let them scream. I would not have had the words to describe it back then but after reading Shel Silverstien’s “Where The Sidewalk Ends” at about age 9, I was inspired to start writing. Even though most of Shel’s writing is funny, there is emotional presence within the playfulness that I found familiar and inspiring. So at the age of 9 I started writing Shel Silversteinian rhymes as a creative outlet and I’m still doing it.
“With Shel, Hunter and Garcia as role models I have spent most of my life trying to channel myself into my writing as a way to connect with the world with the intent of being emotionally present but stylistically relevant. For 20+ years I have focused publicly on expressing myself through song and I intend to continue. But my journey started with trying to imitate good ole Shel Silverstein.”