A mother of two mindlessly picked up a paintbrush in late March 2020, and started painting the cover of one of the books she had read to her children earlier in the day -- and said she incorporated some “cartoonified” COVID themes, to try to make the situation less scary.
“And then I just kept going — until I used up all of my daughter’s paint!” Stefanie Trilling said in an email.
-- Just here to see the book covers? Scroll down! --
Trilling’s work has turned quite a few heads. She’s been posting her paintings in a Facebook album called “Children’s Books for Pandemics,” which, at last check, had been shared more than 130,000 times on the booming social media platform.
Trilling started working on the paintings just a few weeks into self-isolation. She said she was “trying to create a distraction for (the kids) — and me — from the uncertainty we faced.”
Trilling’s children, at the time of our interview, were 5 and 2. The family lives in New York City.
Trilling has switched from her daughter’s washable paint to proper paints, brushes and paper. But that’s about all that’s changed.
“To be perfectly honest, I’ve always had a creative streak, but I had never really painted before,” Trilling said, adding that she has been overwhelmed by the support she’s received.
“Initially, my friends and family were the only audience, but now I feel honored to bring joy to millions of people at such a confusing, often dark time," she wrote. "I started posting these paintings online to entertain my friends and create a bright spot. ... I’ve gotten lots of requests to purchase prints, so I am working on that right now, and a way to ensure a percentage of every purchase benefits at-risk children who have been impacted by coronavirus-related school closures. My goal is to publish a book that compiles the parody covers and demonstrates through stories how social distancing brought people together.”
We can’t get enough of the captions in the Facebook album. Take “Oh, the Places You Won’t Go!," for example:
They’ve closed the Great Places! We isolate day after day! Your couches are waiting, so... get ready to STAY!
Or “The Very Hungry Coronavirus":
”On Monday he ate one can of beans, but he was still hungry. On Tuesday he ate two frozen pizzas, but he was still hungry. On Wednesday he ate three cookies, but he was still hungry. On Thursday he ate four Pop-Tarts, but he was still hungry. On Friday, there was no food left, because he couldn’t get an Amazon Fresh delivery slot."
It’s neat to flip through the Facebook album and read in the comments which covers are resonating the most with people, who will sometimes even drop their own reimagined book copy and parody lines.
Without further ado, here’s Trilling’s work -- we’ll include some of her captions, as well! All photos/artwork used with her permission.
“You must be a socially distant friend. I’ve always wanted a socially distant friend.”
“A told B, and B told C, ‘We’ll all stay inside where it’s nice and cozy.’”
"There is a time when the self-isolation ends
And before the schools begin,
And there the crowds are sparse and light,
And there the bleach burns crimson bright,
And there the doctor rests from her plight
To cool in the togetherness wind."
"Other things people do all day at home:
* Argue with their roommates
* Parody children’s book covers
* Lysol their groceries and mail
* Watch reality TV in the bathtub"
“If you give a mouse a virus, he’s going to ask for a dose of remdesivir.”
“I do *so* like to wash my hands. Thank you! Thank you, Sam-I-Am!”
“An Elephant & Piggie COVID-19.”
"From there to here,
and here to there,
latex gloves are everywhere."
“And NOW do you like my mask?”
“Unless someone like you scrubs a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get cleaner. It’s not.”
“Where’s Covid? Spoiler alert: IT’S EVERYWHERE.”
“Her mother stopped picking and said, ‘Now, Sal, you run along and pick your own toilet paper. Mother wants to take her toilet paper home and store it for the next pandemic.’”
We’ll leave you with this:
“We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another quarantine snack. “Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a stress-baked slice of banana bread, “we need will power.”
Aren’t these cute? We love the details -- scroll up again! Hope you caught some of the tweaked illustrations and author lines.
What’s your favorite cover? Be sure to tell us in the comments below.
This story was first published in May 2020. It has since been updated.