An evening of sitting around with her imaginative children led a Vancouver Island mother to write a book and bring it to life on her family farm with the help of her husband.
Rina and Jeff Puska, owners of Itty Bitty Acres in the Yellow Point area north of Ladysmith, have created an interactive experience to pair with an original children’s book of the same name.
“We wanted a place where people could just put their phones down and have this magical experience where they can see there is a children’s book and there is the character,” Jeff said. “It’s kind of her vision of the place and we just brought it to life.”
The couple is expecting to have print versions of the book this week and plan to have a large grand opening for their boutique and “cuddle farm.” The story is about tiny farm animals who do not have a purpose on a regular farm and stars Kevin, a highland cow who wears a headlamp to overcome his fear of the dark.
“They are scared and timid but they have this caretaker and she says every day to them that they are mighty, they just have to believe in themselves,” Rina said.
Itty Bitty Acres features various animals that can be played with, as well as a gift store where people can purchase stuffed animals based on the characters. The book also features a couple of sheep, donkeys, chickens and a St. Bernard — all of which can be found on the farm.
“We wanted it so that people could afford to come out and just see some farm animals, feel magical, get a book read to them if they want,” Rina said. They also plan to set up their ice cream truck for customers and organize storytime for children.
Rina wrote the book between homeschooling her daughter and working as a nurse. She has since taken leave to focus on the project and de-stress. “I’d rather spend time in a happy setting than come home tired and upset and scared,” she said.
The couple had support from their parents to have the book published and used the dedication page to thank them. “To all the little ones thinking they can’t and to all the moms behind them telling them they can,” it says.