Dog Days Afternoon
Cape May MAC published a children’s book late last summer, complete with book signing—a first for an organization that continues to evolve even with a core focus on the past. “Publishing a children’s book had been a Cape May MAC project in the making for nearly two years,” said MAC’s Marketing Director, Eliza Lotozo. “We are so excited to finally see this dream come to fruition and are thrilled at the response to the book.”
Dr. Physick’s Dog Days of Summer was written by MAC curator, Ben Ridings, and illustrated by local artist and MAC Digital Marketing Assistant, Steven Olszewski. Based on the true-life story of Dr. Emlen Physick—the original owner for whom the house and outbuildings were built, and which is home to both the museum and MAC offices—it charmingly captures the adventures of Dr. Physick’s life in Victorian Cape May with his many dogs.
A book-signing with both the author and illustrator was held on a picture-perfect late summer Sunday. “We were so pleased at the turnout of our first book signing event, which really celebrated the creative team behind the book,” Lotozo said. “Furry friends, visitors, and children turned out to meet Ben and Steven, get their copy of the book signed, and enjoyed a sunny afternoon on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate.”
Although the book is written and illustrated to bring a real figure to life for children, it is accurate. “What is cool about the stories that make up this book is that they are all true,” said author Ridings. “Dr. Physick had compassion for dogs, something which many of us share. I am fortunate to have Steven Olszewski illustrate the book. His colorful, creative drawings are quite remarkable.”
As for Olszewski, this is hopefully the start of something, not the completion. “The coolest thing about this project for me was taking a living, breathing figure and translating that character to be relevant and approachable for young readers,” Olszewski said. “Next, I’d like to explore using these characters in our branding to broaden MAC’s reach to a younger audience, while opening up their world to local history.”
And that is in line with the mission here. “Cape May MAC is continually looking for ways to make Cape May’s history relatable to audiences of all ages,” said Lotozo. “It is our hope that Dr. Physick’s Dog Days of Summer is the first of many.”