Many people never realize their dream of writing a book, because the task seems too daunting. But nothing would deter Chelsea Perry from her Bristle Whistle dream, and only 15 months after having the idea, she held the completed book in her hands.
Although she says she is very left-brained, she was working as the creative director at Momentum Church when she developed the idea.
She attributes a very relatable problem as the inspiration for her book: the tooth fairy forgot to come. The Perrys’ oldest son lost his tooth and didn’t tell his mom. Feeling a little despair over missing this detail, she knew other mothers must have experienced the same situation. “And whose idea was it to put the tooth under the pillow, anyway?” She questioned.
Many children respond differently to fairies and legends, but for the Perrys’ son who is on the autism spectrum and has a diagnosis of ADHD, some traditions and abstract concepts can have a different outcome.
Following this experience, she wanted to make lost teeth easily accessible and create another layer of reasoning for the parents to be notified of the event.
The book Bristle Whistle: The Secret of the Tooth Fairy, is a beautifully illustrated and packaged book and gift set that includes a flute-like whistle and a bag. By having the child play the whistle to notify the tooth fairy, the parent hears and knows the tooth has come out. The child then puts the tooth in a bag to hang on the bedroom door.
Friends have joked that people would be mad at her for including a “noise-maker” with the book, but much like another popular children’s Christmas book and tradition – children are not allowed to play the flute unless they’ve lost the tooth, or the fairy won’t come when they really do lose their teeth. And in keeping with the theme, the special flute is called a Bristle Whistle after the bristles on a toothbrush.
Although Chelsea is very talented and has vision, she recommends hiring professionals if you are interested in creating an illustrated book. She had a very specific person in mind for the illustrations, Caitlin Travis.
Travis, a former student of Perry’s from ten years ago, made quite the impression with her artistic skills while she was still in high school in Perry’s geometry class. Although Travis now lives in Orlando and is a cast member for Disney, the two worked diligently together to create a beautiful book. “I gave her direction and she knocked it out of the park,” Chelsea exclaimed. She also worked with graphic designer and Milton resident Darnay Smith to lay out the book and packaging, before partnering with a manufacturer to create the final product.
Beyond solving some basic parenting problems, she wanted to create a book that represented the people she loves the most. In addition to featuring children with unique needs, it was also important to her that there was the representation of a family with a minority parent and bi-racial children.
Perry and her husband, Rickie, have been married for 12 years and have three children, two boys and a girl. “We’ve learned a lot as parents, but most importantly, we’ve remained as open-minded and teachable as we can while we learn our children together,” she says of parenting three children.
Perry grew up in Maryland and lived in South Carolina before the military brought them to the area in 2011. She graduated from the University of West Florida a year later.
Perry now serves Momentum Church as the campus leader for Navarre in a role that includes project management and events, skills that were certainly beneficial in creating the specialty book she hopes to see in both big box retailers and local boutiques and bookstores.
She has a meet and greet scheduled at the Bodacious Bookstore and Cafe on June 10, where the book will be available for sale.
It is also for sale on Amazon, but Perry hopes the book, which is created by locals, will be picked up in boutiques locally like Bodacious and La Luna Children’s Boutique in Grand Boulevard – two of the first local retailers to feature the book in-store.
To learn more about this beautiful gift book and set, visit https://www.bristlewhistle.com/