New Book, Old Friends

I met adventure photographer Pat Morrow a few months after starting my first job as an assistant editor at Ottawa’s Canadian Geographic (then known as the Canadian Geographical Journal) in the mid-1970s. The Kimberley, B.C. native had bought a Greyhound bus pass in order to roam around for a month to show eastern photo editors his portfolio.

That day, I bought two photo essays to liven up the magazine’s (then) dreary pages — hang gliding in the mountains and frozen waterfall climbing in the Rockies — and took him home to crash on my couch for a few days.

Five years later, Pat was preparing to climb Mount Everest and I was the executive editor of Equinox, Canada’s hot new magazine of discovery (headquartered Continue reading

Pat Morrow

Sharon Wood and Pat Morrow. 2012.

Sharon Wood and Pat Morrow. 2012.

Pat Morrow was born in Invermere and grew up in Kimberley, British Columbia, the son of a construction carpenter. His parents taught him their love of the outdoors and he began hiking and climbing as a teenager. At age 19, he almost died with two friends during their winter ascent of Mount Assinboine when they got caught by darkness just below the summit and had to spend a night on the mountain with no tent or sleeping bags. The experience did nothing to discourage his love of high-altitude, winter ascents.

After a brief stint as a photographer with the Calgary Herald, Pat studied photography at the Banff School of Fine Arts. He quickly learned that photography could support his love of mountain climbing and he made a name for himself as an adventure photographer willing to go anywhere in the world for little more than expense money and rolls of film.

He met Bungalo publisher Frank B. Edwards in early 1976 after dropping into the offices of  Canadian Geographic (then called Canadian Geographical Journal) where Frank was working as a junior editor. Frank bought Pat’s first magazine features (frozen waterfall climbing and hang gliding) and the pair became lifelong friends.

When Frank went to work at Harrowsmith magazine and helped launch Equinox, Pat found enthusiastic buyers for his work. His features in Equinox included mountain adventures in China, Tanzania, Indonesia, Argentina and Nepal.

Pat and Lhakpa Tshering. Everest. 1982.

Pat and Lhakpa Tshering. Everest. 1982.

In 1982, Pat became the second Canadian to summit Mount Everest (two days behind expedition colleague Laurie Skreslet). He then spent several more years becoming the first climber to top the world’s Seven Summits (highest peak on each continent) including Australasia’s Carstenz Pyramid, an accomplishment later repeated by international climbing star Reinhold Messner. Pat’s book Beyond Everest: Quest for the Seven Summits was published in 1986 by Camden House Publishing.

Pat now lives in Wilmer, British Columbia with his photographer/writer wife Baiba. Their house overlooks the Columbia River and is surrounded by mountains.

Visit his Facebook page.

John Bianchi

John Bianchi is an illustrator, cartoonist, artist and a children’s book author, now living and painting near Tucson, Arizona. He grew up in Rochester, New York, and moved to Canada as a young man where he learned to put his natural creative talent to work at animation studios.

In the late 1970s, he became Harrowsmith magazine’s favourite cartoonist and developed a following across Canada for his illustrated antics of would-be back-to-the-landers (beekeeping, dry walling, wood cutting, etc). He also contributed scientific illustrations to Equinox magazine and a number of renewable energy publications.

In 1986, he created a whacky kids book about a family of bumbling cowboys known as the Bungalo Boys. When he couldn’t find a publisher for his unusual story (the boys rode trees instead of horses and feuded with the Beaver Gang, a band of herbaceous tree rustlers), he joined Frank B. Edwards in the launch of Bungalo Books. Edwards had been his editor at both Harrowsmith and Equinox before moving to the magazines’ book publishing arm.

Princess Frownsalot book coverOver the next 15 years, John and Frank created 38 kids books together. As author and illustrator, John’s titles include:

  • The Bungalo Boys: Last of the Tree Ranchers
  • Princess Frownsalot
  • Penelope Penguin: The Incredibly Good Baby
  • The Swine Snafu
  • The Toad Sleeps Over
  • Snowed in at Pokeweed Public School
  • The Lab Rats of Doctor Eclair
  • The Artist

John illustrated all of Frank’s kids picture books, including:

  • Mortimer Mooner Stopped Taking a Bath
  • Melody Mooner Stayed Up All Night
  • Robin Hood With Lots of Dogs
  • Treasure Island with Lots of Dog
  • The Greatest Zoo on Earth
  • A Dog Called Dad
  • Frogger
  • Snow: Learning for the Fun of it.
Frank and John. 1993.

Frank and John. Newburgh, Ontario. 1993.

John moved to Arizona in 1993 with his wife, Margaret, and two daughters. Today, John spends much of his time painting desert landscapes in the mountains near his home.

Visit John’s website.

Frank B. Edwards

Frank B. Edwards. 2012

Frank B. Edwards. 2012

Frank B. Edwards (the “B” is for Brian) grew up in Whitby, Ontario when his neighbourhood was more trees and empty fields than houses. His father, a veteran of the Second World War, worked on the assembly line of General Motors in nearby Oshawa.

Book an author visit for your school with Frank.

Frank studied journalism at Ottawa’s Carleton University and became a magazine editor at the Canadian Geographical Journal (now Canadian Geographic) in 1975. He later moved to Harrowsmith magazine and, in 1981, helped launch Equinox, Canada’s magazine of discovery. Both magazines were named Canada’s magazine of the year during his tenure.

In 1985, he became publisher and editor of Camden House Books, the book publishing division of the two magazines. In 1986, he and John Bianchi started Bungalo Books as a part time enterprise — a vehicle to publish John’s whacky kids picture books.

Frank left Camden House in 1990 to run Bungalo Books full time. He also started his editorial/consulting company, Hedgehog Productions, at the same time.

Over his career, Frank has written about 30 books, a mix of children’s picture books, adolescent novels and non-fiction history, science and biography. He also writes occasional feature length obituaries for the Globe & Mail.

Mortimer Stopped Taking a Bath cover

His books include:

  • Mortimer Mooner Stopped Taking a Bath
  • Melody Mooner Takes Lessons
  • A Dog Called Dad
  • Robin Hood with Lots of Dogs
  • Downtown Lost and Found
  • Nightgown Countdown
  • The Zookeeper’s Sleepers
  • The Cottage Book
  • The Biography of Robert Munsch
  • Close Up: Microscopic Photos of Everyday Stuff
  • Snow

In the past decade, Frank has travelled across Canada and the U.S. visiting schools to talk about his love of reading and writing. His presentations have taken him to the northern coast of Labrador, the Mackenzie River Valley in Northwest Territories, Houston, Qatar and Bahrain.

Frank lives beside a quiet lake in rural eastern Ontario where he works around the clock on his latest projects, including the conversion of the Bungalo backlist into iBooks for the Apple iPad.