Earlier this year, I got an out-of-the-blue email from a guy named Shawn Currie. He and his wife had recently launched Lookio Books, a new publisher of custom, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind children's books. In addition to practically being neighbors here in the area far North of Chicago, it turned out that Shawn is also a fellow "Rock Father" - the former keyboardist for The Blank Theory - a band that had a couple of hits back when I was still pushing records with Sam Goody (a lifetime ago). After chatting about mutual friends and shifting focus from music to kids, Shawn let me test-drive the Lookio System.
Custom Kids' Books have certainly changed from when I was a little one 30+ years ago. Somewhere in my "keepsake box" is a custom book that features a circus theme. Back then, they just dropped a name into the mix and called it "custom." Now, things are much more detailed, and the Lookio crew manages to put your child into the story through photos and text. While Lookio offers both illustrated and photo books, I went with the latter and chose "WHEN (NAME) GROWS UP" - retitled WHEN ADALYN GROWS UP for my oldest daughter.
After finding just the right photo, I hit the "character builder" to start tweaking how Addie would look within the book - a fun little tale that places her in various possible careers... veterinarian, pro skier, race car driver. A few bits of text changes here and there, and the order was placed. A week or so later, WHEN ADALYN GROWS UP arrived here at Rock Father HQ - a beautiful, hardcover book with bright, colorful pages.
It was a special experience to see Addie's reaction when she saw the book for the first time and realized that this story is for her. It's a favorite book, and one that will no doubt be stored in Addie's own keepsake box to revisit years from now when she's a grownup.
If you'd like to consider a Lookio Book for your little one(s), check out their official site. It's a local business - an independent business - and one that's rooted in rock.
You know... since mentioning The Blank Theory here earlier, I think it's only appropriate to fire up the DeLorean for a trip back a decade - 2003. That's when this video for "Middle of Nowhere" hit screens for the first time - the visual side of a song you might recognize from FREDDY VS. JASON or FINAL DESTINATION 2:
Disclosure: As noted above, The Rock Father received a Lookio Book for review consideration. All opinions are that of James Zahn, with influence from his children.
About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.