Community - December 28, 2011

Bedtime stories with a message

Father, son collaborate on three books for children  

by Jane Knoerle

Peter Weck grew up enjoying his father's bedtime stories about Lima Bear and his friends. Now the father of three little girls, he has teamed up with his dad to capture these and other stories in print.

Peter Weck lives in Atherton. His father, Thomas Weck, lives in Wilmington, Delaware. They have collaborated on three books for children, ages 4 to 8, that not only make good bedtime reading, but carry a message.

"Lima Bear Press has a very straightforward mission: to publish children's stories that are engaging, imaginative, and humorous while each carries an important life message, such as tolerance, honesty, or courage," the publisher said.

In the first book in the series, "The Megasaurus," the bean-shaped bears of Beandom are under attack by a monster who loves eating beans. The kingdom's wise owls all have ideas on how to get rid of the monster, but an ordinary bear, L. Joe Bean, provides the solution. The message? Learn to follow your own convictions, even when others think differently.

Each book also includes an "extend the learning" page and an activity page.

"The Megasaurus," "The Cave Monster," and "How Back-Back Got his Name" are the first three titles in the Lima Bear Stories series published this year by Lima Bear Press. The authors are planning 10 books for the series.

The dust-jacketed hardcover books are handsomely illustrated by Len DiSalvo, who teaches art illustration and animation at the Art Center Design College in Tucson, Arizona.

Peter Weck, whose daughters are now 2, 4 and 6, grew up on the bedtime stories his father told about Lima Bear and his friends. "I memorized every word. And when he changed a story, even a little bit, I would correct him," he says with a laugh.

Mr. Weck, a resident of Atherton since 2003, has lived in the Bay Area since 1989. He grew up in Madison, New Jersey, and came west to attend Cal Berkeley.

After working at Hewlett-Packard, he founded his first startup company in 1996. He is currently CEO of StoryJumper, a web-based company that enables anyone to create and illustrate children's stories. He also serves on the board of the Menlo Park Library Foundation.

He says his goal is to help children foster a love for creating, reading and listening to stories.

Thomas Weck is the former president of Louis Berger & Associates, a consulting firm. He served in the Peace Corps and graduated from Harvard Business School.

Since retiring almost 10 years ago, he has been working on a number of projects including founding two companies with two of his children: DW Fitness and Lima Bear Press. "He wears a lot of hats," says his son.

The senior Weck recently appeared on the Steve Adubato show on PBS in a conversation about the Lima Bear stories.

Father and son collaborated on their series through e-mail and lots of phone calls. "My dad comes out three or four times a year, so we also worked person-to-person," says Peter Weck.

The books in the Lima Bear Stories Series are available at $15.95 each at Cheeky Monkey in Menlo Park.


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