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The Listeners / These Train Tracks

Music and animal hijinks come together in a handmade children's book by Breathe Owl Breathe

by James Thorne in Culture on 15 November 2011

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For a child, the ritual of bedtime reading is as important as the story. They enjoy the togetherness, the feel of the pages and the imagination that the illustrations inspire. It's refreshing to hold something that looks and feels like a family treasure, which is exactly what Micah Middaugh of the band, Breathe Owl Breathe has given us in his new children's book "The Listeners / These Train Tracks."

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Structured as two stories that read from either cover into the middle, the endings culminate at the centerfold where a seven-inch vinyl record awaits, holding two musical renditions of the stories by Breathe Owl Breathe. Everything from the canvas cover to the pages—hand-printed from wood blocks—was made in Michigan by Middaugh, the final product a result of three years' work.

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"The Listeners" is a comic tale of the friendship between an ostrich and a mole who meet by chance one day in a hole. The mole with sightless eyes and the bird with flightless wings join to form a band called "The Listeners," and perform together in an underground concert for their friends. "These Train Tracks" is a story of metamorphosis, in which a set of train tracks transforms into everything from a caterpillar to the night sky to a set of pajama buttons. Its mood is both whimsical and soothing, a perfect end to a child's long day.

"The Listeners / These Train Tracks" is a limited-edition production and is available from Breathe Owl Breathe's website, shipping in time for the holidays on 6 December 2011.

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