A new children's book, "The Tarantula's Trauma (A story from Coarsegold, California)" may leave you with a cuddly, warm feeling for the often unloved and misunderstood eight-legged insects.
The book is written and illustrated by Oakhurst resident Heidi Nelson of the area music group "Kit 'n Kaboodle," and is a new direction and exciting step for the musician.
The story came out of nowhere for Nelson, a strange and divine inspiration that popped into her head while weed eating one day -- causing her to put down the weedeater several times to scribble down lines for what would become "The Tarantula's Trauma."
Under the pen name of Heidi-Ho!, Nelson imbues the well-known Coarsegold tarantulas -- which take to the roads every fall in search of a mate -- with the sweetness of a beloved pet.
"If you could only understand the tarantula language, I would thank you! Thank you for not squishing me, for taking such good care of me and for giving me my freedom," says tarantula Harry in the book to the main character, a boy named Boydie. "I guess you could say, I love you!"
As Harry leaves Boydie to go on a long-awaited adventure after participating in the Coarsegold Tarantula Festival's Tarantula Race, Boydie calls out to him and says, "You're welcome. Thank you, too! I Love you, Harry!"
Stopped in his tracks, the little tarantula exclaims, "Maybe HE DOES understand the tarantula language. Kids are amazing!"
"The story actually relates to both children and adults," Nelson said. "We all have friends that you would call a 'forever friend,' a 'bff,' a friend that will always be in your heart, and a true friendship can last a lifetime, no matter who that friend may be -- a tarantula or dog or little girl or boy down the street. It's just a love between two living beings and it doesn't have to be human."
Nelson has loved animals all her life and admits that SPCA television advertisements bring her to tears. She has a 28-year-old talking Congo African grey parrot, and was once hired as a young musician in the 70s to play music performances as "Mother Nature" at a place called "Enchanted Village" for children.
She also wrote the script, music and directed her original Christmas musical, "Ebenezer's Big Night Out" performed several years ago by the Sierra Musical Theater in Oakhurst.
Nelson has been writing songs and stories for children since the early 80s, but "The Tarantula's Trauma" is her first self-published limited-edition children's book. Nelson is working on finishing up two sequels to the book, titled "The Tarantula's Wedding" and "The Tarantula's Family."
The book is available for $15 at Saturday's 15th Annual Coarsegold Tarantula Festival in the Coarsegold Historic Village, or by contacting Nelson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through "The Tarantula's Trauma" Facebook page.
The book is also available for $17.95 at Oakhurst Fruit and Nut, Mariposa Fruit and Nut, Good 'ol Daze, and the gift shop at Children's Hospital, Central California.