BOOK TALK: What does a children’s author do now?

The clever What Does? series launched by Colwood-based author

Colwood author David McArthur shows off his book What Does a Doctor Do? It's one in a series of children's books penned by McArthur

David McArthur’s first book was born from playing with his son.

The Colwood author said his now four-year-old son would laugh out loud at the silly answers McArthur replied with, when asked what jobs a doctor did. A year later, What Does a Doctor Do? the first in self-published What Does Series, is coming to book stores and libraries on the West Shore.

“When kids sit down and read the books, you can’t help but be struck by the enjoyment they get out of it, because the story, the narrative, is very repetitive,” he said. “You are putting something they know to be in silly situations.”

Does a doctor fly in a rocket ship? or drive a race car? the book asks.

Colourful illustrations from Clara Spinassi accompany one-sentence pages that start by asking the question, “What Does a Doctor Do?”

Part two in the series, What does a Fairy Godmother Do? was released in January of 2015. Several more titles, including What does a Teacher Do? and What does a Hockey Player Do? are expected to be published later this year.

“The whole idea and whole premise is to encourage children to read and encourage interaction between parent and child,” said McArthur, a graphic designer by trade.

Being invited to read his book to preschool and kindergarten students at West-Mont Montessori school in Metchosin, where his son attends, was one of the turning points, he said. The children’s response motivated him to push the idea further.

“They were laughing their heads off at the book, shouting out the answer and almost reading it with me, even though they had never seen it before,” he said. “It was really surprising and heartwarming that this little idea was generating that much enthusiasm among the children.”

He got up to leave and the young preschool and kindergarten students asked him to read it again, and then again. He ended up reading it three or four times that day.

“I thought they were very simple and to the point and really cute,” said West-Mont Montessori teacher Megan St. John. “The kids really enjoyed them and he captivated them and we had them out on the shelf for a while. They would take them and read them by themselves. I think they would fit nicely into the early primary curriculum.”

Currently only available on, paper copies sell for about $10. McArthur hopes more local bookstores pick them up soon, along with the local libraries.

He fondly remembers his authoring journey starting with a simple game with his son.

“Max is the inspiration for the stories,” he said. “He just doesn’t realize it yet.”

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