“Happy Smallidays” at the Botanical Conservatory is definitely Fort Wayne!

A new holiday exhibit at the Föllinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory brings a valuable lesson to young and old alike. The exhibit is a collaboration with local author/illustrator Talitha Shipman. The Happy Smallidays exhibition is inspired by a recently published children’s book of the same name.

It tells the story of how it feels to be very small when the plans, events and celebrations around you are very big. Shipman, who grew up in Leo, was thrilled to be working with a place she likes to call her second home. “It’s a fun story because we love the Botanical Conservatory and come here often.”

“We carried Talitha’s book ‘Finding Beauty’ in our gift shop,” said Nate Cardelli, general manager of the Botanical Conservatory. “That’s actually how we found Talitha. We reached out to her when we realized we had this great local author in town and we were very fortunate that when we asked if she would be interested she said an emphatic ‘yes’.”

Author/Illustrator Talitha Shipman with children at the Happy Smallidays exhibit at the Botanical Conservatory.

Shipman says the wheels in her head started turning when an opportunity arose to take advantage of a space she knows well. “I was super excited to work in a 3D environment while creating a book. You can walk through the story and I think that really helps bring it to life.”

Shipman tells the story from the point of view of “Little Mouse”, who lives in the conservatory. “He noticed that all the adults were rushing around during the busy holiday season. He wished they could slow down and enjoy the falling snow. He came up with the idea of ​​shrinking everyone to the size of a mouse when they enter the show garden.”

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“Little Mouse” takes you on a journey through the winter forest.

The exhibit takes you on a journey through the winter woods where Little Mouse meets Wren, a bird trying to learn to skate, and a squirrel trying to build a giant snow mouse. “Little mouse can help his friends, but in the end his friends help him, so it’s a wonderful story.”

The exhibition opened on November 19th and runs until January 8th. Cardelli says it has been very well received. “People who take the time to slow down and enjoy our story really benefit. The whole point of the story is to embrace the magic of winter and enjoy your family.”

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Children stroll through the winter forest in the Happy Smallidays exhibit at the Botanical Conservatory.

Shipman says it’s a message that resonates with adults. “Sometimes you just have to stop. Take a deep breath and relax. Don’t let everything slip away so quickly. I think it helps to take a little time to slow down and just walk through the garden and enjoy. That’s what the little mouse wanted from the start.”

Shipman will be signing copies of her book on Saturday, December 17 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Botanical Conservatory. It’s an opportunity to meet the author/illustrator of several picture books who seeks to encourage curiosity and creativity in children of all ages.

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The little mouse’s message to the people.

The Botanical Conservatory has also partnered with the Allen County Public Library to offer free admission for a family of four if you borrow the book and drop it off at the front desk anytime while the exhibit is open. “ACPL is pleased to partner with the Botanical Conservatory to bring both the Happy Smallidays book and exhibit to our library patrons,” said ACPL Director of Community Partnerships and Programs, Beth Boatright. “The holidays are the perfect time to celebrate with our families, enjoy great books, and connect with all Allen County has to offer.”

https://www.wane.com/news/happy-smallidays-reminds-us-to-enjoy-the-little-things/ “Happy Smallidays” at the Botanical Conservatory is definitely Fort Wayne!

Dais Johnston

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