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Parker's pen and paint brush take her everywhere in Mississippi

“Everywhere in Mississippi” by Laurie Parker

It’s been 16 years since this beloved book was first published. It’s back with a 2012 edition, and it’s still delightful, fun and so Mississippi. The author, Starkville poet and collage artist Laurie Parker, has taken artistic freedom with this latest version, keeping the same lyrical story — complete with whimsy — and updated it with visits to more towns in the Magnolia State.

“I can’t believe it’s been 16 years since ‘Everywhere in Mississippi’ was released,” Parker said. “It seems like just yesterday that I was pouring over maps to decide which towns to include in my story and going through tiny little yellow phone books from all over the state to locate florists and pharmacies in those towns who might sell the book.”

For this new version, Parker didn’t scan the original artwork but created new illustrations — and more of them. The story remains the same with a few minor tweaks. She includes a mention of the Biloxi Lighthouse as a way of paying homage to the Coast’s resurrection since Hurricane Katrina. There’s also a mention of Diamondhead, the state’s newest incorporated town.

“I am thrilled with this 2012 version,” Parker said. “The new artwork is more what I envisioned for the book. Creating it really reconnected me with the story I wrote all those years ago and brought back some very fond memories.”

Ideal for fourth-graders studying state history and geography, children who were fourth graders when the first version was published are now in their mid twenties. Parker hopes these young adults have children of their own who will continue to look for Skippy all over the state.

Once again this cute little dog, Skippy, is lost and his master must fire up his old gray truck and travel from one end of the state to the other to find him. Parker skillfully weaves the names of more than 300 Mississippi towns and communities into a story that can be enjoyed by children and adults. It’s a great gift for children and grandchildren even if they don’t live in Mississippi.

>> Everywhere in Mississippi By Laurie Parker Published by Pacifica Communications $18.50 hardcover

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