7/27/12

Are You Taking Your Kids To The London Olympics? Check Out Cooper's Pack London Travel Guide For Kids And An Interview With Brandon Kyle Rudd


Your children will be enthralled and engaged along the entire olympic
journey with the Cooper's Pack London Travel Guide. Cooper makes an excellent companion to join your child during his Olympic journey.


Cooper’s Pack™ was created by author Brandon Kyle Rudd in conjunction with graphic designer, Martin McCann (Groot), in 2004. After returning from a trip to Thailand in 2003, Brandon sketched the original New York City book in one afternoon and an idea was born—children’s travel guides based on stuffed animals traveling around the world, city by city.

Each book follows the journey of the main character Cooper, as he ventures through a city with a new friend, a member of his “pack”. Look for L.L. (Little Lambie, the London hipster) in the London book Phinney the bear in NYC, Elliott the Sea Otter (who works at the Space Needle) in Seattle, Zoe the fox (and perfumery mogul) in Paris, Demitri for the Athens book and many others. The books also include an interactive education and activity section plus look for hidden secrets or “buried bones” that can be found on most pages. The interactive books for the iPad and Android platforms have advanced buried bone hunting with over 100 buried bones just in the Seattle book alone.
Brandon Kyle Rudd is responsible for the concept, writing, photography, art direction, and business management and Martin McCann creates the corresponding graphic designs and assets, bringing Cooper to life in print and on the web.

Meet Brandon Kyle Rudd, the author behind Coopers Travel Guides

Carol and Stacy: Have you been to every destination you wrote a travel guide about?

Brandon: Absolutely! That is the best part about the job…planning and then exploring every new location. To be honest, I usually visit each location more than once to ensure we capture everything, photograph major events (where applicable) and to standardize weather. If anything, we have more travel guides to write than time allows. Some of my favorite storylines that are yet to be published include Cape Town (South Africa), Tokyo (Japan), Santiago (Chile), Portland (Oregon) and Angkor Wat/Siem Riep (Cambodia).

Carol and Stacy: How did you create the photos and illustrations in your book?

Brandon: The artwork shown in Cooper’s books are culled from a variety of sources, starting with the actual onsite photo shoots of each city/region. From there, we select the most viable shots for each page in the story then the work begins. Utilizing Photoshop, we fold in multiple layers and imagery to build the page along with placing the characters. Some of the illustrations are hand-drawn and others are simply invented as needed. The one standard across all books is that we utilize a new character for each city/region and ensure we have them physically in-hand prior to shooting the book. This way we can also have a spread in the activity section that shows the real characters in the real city (instead of just relying on Photoshop).

Carol and Stacy: Do you have any children of your own?

Brandon: You would think so but alas, no. Because traveling has taken much of my time over the last 10 years, the timing just hasn’t happened yet. I do completely enjoy sharing my adventures and stories with kids through the school systems I visit along with friends and family. Someday…

Carol and Stacy: Have you written any other books besides the travel series?

Brandon: I've contemplated writing several books over the years, both fiction and
non-fiction however haven't tried to actually publish any of them. Instead
I often find myself making up songs and trying to map them to the guitar or
piano...songs about odd-holidays, made-up characters and the like. If I did
focus on writing a separate book, it would be focused on motivational
behavior and how the glass is always half-full.

Carol and Stacy: Is there a T.V. show in the works? This could easily be a TV show for kids. The potential is endless.

Brandon: The proverbial “nail on the head”. This is one of our main goals as Cooper’s Pack is completely scalable for television. Think about the fun and educational possibilities by having a regular show featuring Cooper’s travels and his “pack” of friends? We can focus on world regions, cities and places along with activities (for example: Cooper’s Pack—Fishing or Cooper’s Pack—Sculpture). We’ve been working on the theme song for Cooper that includes a wonderfully repetitive line that goes: He’s Cooper…He’s Super-Duper! As of now, we’re still trying to figure out how to break into the TV world and are looking for help if anyone has some suggestions…

Carol and Stacy: Is Coopers favorites really your favorites?

Brandon: I’ll answer this one level deeper…I am Cooper. So yes, his favorites are mine, though as anyone knows, favorites can change with time. Therefore I try to update Cooper’s favorite music in every other book to show that he has changed/grown. I should also mention that his Pack of friends are also built off of friends and family, therefore their favorites…

Carol and Stacy: Who is Groot and Kyle?

Brandon: Kyle is my middle name (Brandon Kyle Rudd) and Groot is Dutch for large. Martin McCann who helps produce the Cooper graphics is fairly stout and also loves Amsterdam and the Dutch people. When I do school presentations, I often describe Groot as similar to Harry Potter’s Hagrid character (black long hair, large, big). That is Groot. Together we decided we didn’t need our names on the books and preferred to have some fun with the publishing.

Carol and Stacy: What is next and how can your audience connect with you?

Brandon: We are aggressively working on updating our London eBook to coincide with the 2012 Summer Olympics. In addition, we’re finally getting ready to release our Paris book who features our first female character, Zoe the Fox (she’s from Paris and owns a Perfume Empire—studied both botany and chemistry in grad school). I started shooting Cooper’s Pack—Hawaii in May which should be complete by the year’s end (featuring a surfing cat). I plan on scouting our Tokyo book sites in September/October and solidifying the Tokyo character. From there, we are simply trying to get the word out about Cooper and our books. Anyone who has ever seen them seems to love them and want more. I know we have a great product, we just need help getting people to see them.

If anyone wants to learn more about Cooper’s Pack, they can visit our website at http://cooperspack.com/ to see our latest releases and purchase books or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CoopersPackTravelGuides.
In addition, we’re starting to release weekly video updates on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CoopersPack/.

Carol and Stacy: Is there any messages you would like to pass onto the parents buying your books or reading this interview?

Brandon: Cooper’s Pack is geared towards 4-12 year old audiences, however I am continually amazed with our fan comments that include adults who love the books or from their 2-year olds that won’t let them read anything else when they go to bed at night. The books also include over 100 “buried bones” (hidden secrets) in each book that can help entertain on a long road-trip or plane flight. I should also mention we try to push the following travel goals in each book produced:

  • Have fun and take pictures.
  • Be courteous and respectful to others.
  • Be smart and learn about new cultures.
  • Make new friends.
Cooper’s books are also available for the Apple iPad as an interactive book that unlocks Cooper’s “buried bones” found in both the print and eBooks, along with video animations and extended fun facts. More information on our eBooks can be found at  http://cooperspack.com/store/interactive/

Carol and Stacy: What are you reading right now?

Brandon: I’ve got 3 in-process books right now that take up space in my luggage when traveling:

-Keith Richards Life
-Lonely Planet 1000 Ultimate Experiences
-Philip Matyszak Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day (in preparation for writing our Cooper’s Pack—Athens book that has already been photographed)

We want to send out a big thank you to Brandon for sharing his time with us and for Cooper for putting a smile on so many children's faces. Good luck on your adventures and keep us posted. ~ Carol and Stacy

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