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Sean J. Cuttino’s new picture book makes traditional fairy tales more diverse and inclusive

Animator, illustrator and storyteller Sean J. Cuttino today launched the Kickstarter for his first picture book, The Storybook Traveling Adventures of Little J. and the Wonder Key. Available now, with an exclusive early bird special running until May 2, it tells the story of a little boy who adventures into the realm of fairy tales and helps beloved storybook characters.

Fresh off his recent appearance on the Creative Boom podcast, where he discusses the fast-paced world of animation and how to stay ahead in changing times, Sean gives us a taste of what we can expect from his first picture book and his big plans for the future. series moves forward.

The book tells the story of Little J. and his faithful stuffed bunny companion, Professor Chester, and sees the pair magically transported into familiar stories with the help of a magical key gifted by the Great Fairy Godmother. It’s not only a brilliant and exciting story idea in itself, but also a clever storytelling device that adds a much-needed touch of diversity to some fairly homogenous classics.

“In this particular adventure, he helps Little Red Riding Hood deliver spices to her ailing grandmother and encounters challenges such as the devious plans of the Big Bad Wolf,” Sean explains. Through courage and quick thinking, Little J. ensures a happy ending before returning to his bedroom for bed.”

The book represents a departure of sorts for Sean, who had previously focused on creating fan art and other projects. But with Little J. and the Miracle Key he could tell his own story in his own style. In fact, his art underwent a transformation.

“Previously I worked in a digital graphic style with ink and color, while now I have embraced digital painting,” he reveals. “The response to this change was tremendous – far greater than any response I received for my coloring book or other past projects. This overwhelmingly positive feedback reaffirmed my belief that this project was the one I put my heart and soul into collapse, making ‘The Thing’ for me.”

This new art style aligns with Sean’s desire to update the canon of fairy tales for a modern audience. He does this by introducing fresh and diverse characters like Little J into the worlds of stories like Little Red Riding Hood. “Reimagining stories like Little Red Riding Hood through the eyes of Little J. makes the story more relatable and inclusive, and resonates with today’s readers,” he explains.

“Additionally, the book offers representation often lacking in traditional fairy tales, by featuring a little black boy as the main character, contributing to a more diverse literary landscape.”

Creating the book is not only an enlightening experience for readers; even Sean found himself on a journey of self-discovery while making it. “Through this project I learned the importance of embracing my true passions and not limiting myself to an artistic framework,” he says.

“Previously I limited myself to certain styles and media, but this book allowed me to break free from those limitations. It made me realize that the world of creativity within me is vast and limitless, much bigger than any world. This realization encouraged encourages me to share my unique voice and vision with the world, knowing that it is something special worth expressing.

“Storytelling has helped me discover the power of imagination and the joy of connecting with others through the stories we tell. It has taught me to be unapologetically myself and share the wonders of my imagination with others, allowing both my life as well as theirs is enriched by the process.”

Entering the world of Little Red Riding Hood is just the beginning of Sean’s plans for Little J. Audiobook versions of his adventure are already in the works, along with an animated follow-along experience that will allow readers to further immerse themselves in his enchanting story. world.

“Ultimately, I aim for ‘Little J. and the Wonder Key’ to capture audiences’ attention beyond the bookshelf, in hopes of being adapted into a film or television series,” Sean adds. “As for his next adventures, I plan to develop ‘Little J. and the Wonder Key’ into a series, with each episode delving into a different fairy tale or story, offering readers a diverse range of magical adventures .”

If you like the sound of Little J. and the Wonder Key, you can make it a reality. The project is now live on Kickstarter with a fundraising goal of $9,000. Sean realizes he’ll need the help of many donors to bring this magical story to life, but he has plenty of perks in store to reward those who donate, including an early bird deal that runs from May 1 to 2 only.

“Backers can expect a range of exciting benefits, including digital content such as wallpapers and eBooks, exclusive bundles including the hardcover book, stickers, keyrings and soft toys, as well as signed editions and deluxe tiers of bespoke artwork,” he concludes.