One for the Books
Move over, Beatrix Potter! Peter Rabbit, which has sold an astounding 45 million copies in 36 languages since being written in 1893, has got some major competition.
Santa Barbara author Margarita Fairbanks just launched her first book, How It Came to Be, in a planned 10-book series on Valentino, the Love Bunny, a charming three-pound Netherland Dwarf rabbit, which has a distinctive black heart around its eye and a heart on his left cheek.
The series also features a cuddly canine, Sparky, two black standard poodles, Miro and Lucca, and a horse, Pandereto.
“In a tough, fast-paced world, it is essential to teach young children universal messages about love, tolerance, patience, comfort, confidence, hope, good manners, accountability, nature, spirituality and charity,” says Margarita, whose husband, Chuck Lande, is a former player at the Santa Barbara Polo Club.
“Valentino takes us along on his magical adventures which evolves into a global journey teaching values, spreading love and good will, and protecting the Earth.”
The series includes colorful illustrations by Santa Barbara artist Suzan Duval.
“They are designed as family heirlooms to be treasured and passed down from one generation to the next,” adds Margarita, whose books are complemented by Valentino plush toys designed by Hansa, which can be purchased separately.
Future plans include books translated into multiple languages, a retail product line, special-edition characters, and an animated children’s series for TV and the web.
To launch her new book, First Republic Bank hosted a 150 guest bash for Margarita, a trained hospice volunteer and court-appointed special advocate, who has worked with children at the local Juvenile Hall, at the State Street headquarters, just a tiara’s toss from the Granada, converted into an art gallery featuring original canvases featured in the new book and books to come.
Guests, who included David Edelman, Jane Maurer, Dana Hansen, Michael Weisbrock, Jeffrey Baldwin, Roger and Keiko Dunham, Irwin and Sally Eve, and Mark Scott-Paine, were greeted by a life-size version of the bunny character.
“Valentino was years in the making and was first sparked in a conversation with my dear late mother, Bibi Fairbanks, who told me my message of love had to be shared with the world,” explains Margarita.