30 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY october 19-25, 2023 www.montereycountyweekly.com LIT This is not your regular children’s book. Addressed to readers ages 5 to 10, it can be read by everyone from preschoolers to adults. The story—of Curious Li’l Lilli: The Lamb of Amazing Grace—is over 2,000 years old because the imagery and the archetypes come from the Christian Bible. But its message—the necessity of keeping faith in curiosity—is also applicable beyond a codified religion. “I write two to three children’s books a year,” says Karlene Kay Ryan, an author who splits her time between her native Fresno and Carmel. Perhaps you have heard about her other children’s series, about red-headed Genevieve, or maybe you know Ryan as an inspirational writer. When entering her house in the Hatton Fields area of Carmel, it becomes obvious that Ryan is an artist, too. But despite years of experience with design and the fact that she paints herself, Ryan entrusted her curious little lamb to an experienced illustrator, friend and collaborator, Rich Brimer. “I loved Curious George,” Brimer says. “I grew up being curious. It’s important to have faith that everything will be OK, that it’s OK to be curious and chase butterflies and become yourself.” Not that it’s critical to the message of the book, but Lilli is—according to Ryan and Brimer—a denizen of the fields at Mission Ranch. Once you have the book in your hands, you’ll find the familiar landscape. “We just kind of clicked,” Ryan says, sitting next to Brimer at a big dining table. They both smile and it’s clear that there’s great energy between them. “We read the same books, the same poetry. It was easy to sit down and talk.” From those conversations, Curious Li’l Lilli was conceived. “I just went home and started to write it,” Ryan says about the beginning of the process in 2019. “It took her a week,” teases Brimer, with admiration. The artful illustrations he created for the story, while simple and moving, were more time-consuming. He spent hours working with hand-carved linoleum block prints, initially working in black and white. “Lilli is a [Scottish] black-faced sheep which is unique in this region,” Brimer says. “It gives her some personality.” Curious Li’l Lilli: The Lamb of Amazing Grace by Karlene Kay Ryan and illustrated by Rich Brimer is available in local bookstore,s including River House Books in Carmel. DANIEL DRIEFUSS The Curiosity of Lambs A children’s book about Lilli the lamb applies the framework of faith to the act of being curious. By Agata Pop˛eda Rich Brimer and Karlene Kay Ryan collaborated on the children’s book Curious Li’l Lilli, all about the necessity of keeping faith in curiosity. 8000 VALLEY GREENS DRIVE, CARMEL | quaillodge.com/events