A Walk in Pirate’s Cove

Come along to Pirate’s Cove, where everyday magic lives in stones, shells, and the spacious sky. The enchantment of childhood comes to life on every page of this charming tale as three young children enjoy a summer’s day exploring in the splendor of the seaside and the natural world around them. Join them as they hunt for wishing stones, sea glass, and other simple treasures and drink in the brief but enduring beauty of a seemingly endless day in July. Marisa Hochman’s lyrical poetry and the warmth of Bette Woodland’s oil paintings evoke a beautiful truth: that simply looking and finding and being are the grandest adventures of all.

About the Book
Marisa Hochman wrote A Walk in Pirate’s Cove for her three children, taking their make-believe adventures and sense of wonder as her major sources of inspiration. Coupling years of family excursions at the lake with the nostalgia of her own childhood memories, Hochman honed a timeless story evoking the magic of a summer day spent by the lake or sea.

Readers will be interested to know that Pirate’s Cove is in fact a real place (although not located on your average map). Named by the author’s children, Pirate’s Cove can be found along a small stretch of Lake Winnipeg shoreline in a town called Winnipeg Beach. Home to a thriving artist community, Winnipeg Beach is a truly magical place for cottagers like Hochman who grew up summering there and continue to return year after year to relive the magic with their children and grandchildren.

The book’s illustrator Bette Woodland also has a longtime history and love of the lake. For the past 20 years, Woodland has painted figurative works set in various locations along the southern basin of Lake Winnipeg, deftly capturing the beauty of the light and shadow interplaying on its sandy shores.

A Unique Collaboration

A Walk in Pirate’s Cove is the first published work of fiction by Marisa Hochman, and the first illustrated children’s book by Bette Woodland. Both writer and artist shared a strong sense that the book produced from their collaboration should be a true reflection of the scenery and the children that inspired the original text. By a combination of luck and good timing, during the creation of the book’s illustrations, Hochman’s children were only a year older than they were when she wrote A Walk in Pirate’s Cove.

Throughout the summer of 2010, Woodland made many journeys to Winnipeg Beach, photographing the lake, marsh, and the Hochman children while accompanying them on their usual outings and adventures at these various settings around the lake. Over bonfires, moonlit rambles on the pier, and while sipping cold lemonade in the sunroom on hot sunny days a strong bond of friendship was formed between Hochman and Woodland.

During the photographing and planning sessions, Hochman and Woodland gave careful consideration to an array of details, such as the children’s clothing. In order to provide consistency throughout the book, it was essential that the children be wearing the same, or very similar outfits and hats each time that Woodland visited for a photo session. Additionally, the time of day is a crucial element in the book’s text. Consequently, expeditions to the beach, marsh, and pier were scheduled so as to capture the appropriate quality of light necessary for each set of scenes in the book. The full July moon was a special treat.

In the fall, Woodland began working on the individual paintings for the book, carefully constructing scenes that complemented and enhanced the text. This work required the use of multiple photographs, sketches, and drawings to produce each individual template that Woodland would use for her paintings. Working to exact scale, using oil paint on Multimedia Artboard, Woodland successfully navigated the complexities inherent in creating paintings for a picture book.

At each stage along the way, Woodland and Hochman met to discuss the rough sketches and share ideas, making A Walk in Pirate’s Cove a truly collaborative process.

About the Lake
A Walk in Pirate’s Cove, while set in a universally appealing lake or seaside location, is in fact based on the real activities of the author’s children and is inspired by a real-life location in Winnipeg Beach, set on the southern basin of Lake Winnipeg.

It is a beautiful story full of childhood memories, love, and of course the lake. Unfortunately, the beauty of nature that we depend on to help create these memories that we hold so dear is being jeopardized by a variety of complicated factors. Generations of children have grown up playing at the beaches and in the waters of the once pristine Lake Winnipeg; a lake that is now endangered. Students of any age may use A Walk in Pirate’s Cove as a starting point for discussions and research into lake and wetlands ecology, water quality issues, and the science behind conservation efforts.

4 comments


  • Scott Watson

    November 30, 2011

    The book looks lovely. I look forward to buying a copy soon!

  • Lisa Morantz

    December 1, 2011

    Marissa,
    Mazel Tov to you on your first book. I am Darcy Morry’s sister and we have met a few times. I just wanted to let you know how impressed I am with what you have created!
    Lisa Morantz

  • Jannah Rittberg

    December 1, 2011

    I am so excited to get my copy! I know Phill and I, as well as my students, will enjoy reading and celebrating this wonderful piece of Manitoban literature.

  • Diane Shindleman

    February 23, 2012

    Marissa,
    We are so happy for you and can’t wait to get our autographed copy. I regret that I won’t be able to attend the reading and book signing tonight. Mazel Tov!

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