'Two Cups of Milk' a playful Christmas tale of Mrs. Claus

Staff Reports
"Two Cups of Milk" is a playful book centered around the idea of "The Night Before Christmas," but not from the traditional standpoint of Santa Claus’ activities, but from the oft overlooked perspective of Mrs. Claus.

PENN YAN — Local singer/songwriter and composer Jo-Hannah Reynolds, MFA in Music Composition from Vermont College of Fine Arts, recently embarked on a new venture of writing a children’s book. The holiday book entitled Two Cups of Milk is a playful book centered around the idea of The Night Before Christmas, but not from the traditional standpoint of Santa Claus’ activities, but from the oft overlooked perspective of Mrs. Claus.

Reynolds teamed up with fellow artist and Penn Yan native, Caitlin Pallischeck, BFA in painting from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, to bring the book’s fun, fun take on starting a new tradition for Christmas Eve to life. Reynolds and Pallischeck share a deep love for their hometown, and even more so, Keuka Lake. Pallischeck even went so far as to put Keuka Lake into one of the illustrations.

Jo-Hannah Reynolds

“It was important for me to tell this story of Mrs. Claus who no longer toils behind the scenes without acclaim or accolade," Reynolds says. "In my story, she finally gets what I feel is long overdue credit for running the assembly line of Christmas, and even goes as far to say as she’s the one who drives the sleigh. I loved Caitlin’s portrait work that I had become familiar with online and approached her to illustrate this story. Initially she had hesitations as illustrating was a newer medium for her, and I urged her to reconsider as I saw a whimsy in her work that I thought would tell this story perfectly. And, I really wanted a female perspective in all parts of bringing this story to life, and am happy to say that I accomplished that.”

Caitlin Pallischeck

Pallischeck has found success as a professional artist working in a variety of mediums, but prefers oil painting, and is continuing her portfolio on making mixed media work. “I was so enamored with Caitlin’s initial sketches that I just knew the final results were going to be perfect for this project," Reynolds explains, "and I absolutely think her work brings this story to life brilliantly down to every last detail.”

Reynolds self-published her book in 2020 and has been selling from her website as well as locally in Penn Yan at The Nest Egg on Main Street. You can pre-order the book until Dec. 1 at www.johannahreynolds.com/store and a portion of all proceeds from those book sales will go to benefit Yates Christmas Program which provides children and families with new clothes, personal care items, toys, books, and family games all of which are funded solely by donation. Reynolds can be contacted via email at www.johannahreynolds.com/contact, or you can follow her @johannahbrey on most social media platforms.

Pallischeck is available for commissions and can be contacted through email at caitlin@pallischeck.com or you can follow her account @StumbleMouth on Instagram.

DONATION UPDATEAn anonymous donor has stepped forward to put a challenge out for the community:

For every copy of Two Cups of Milk that is purchased to donate to the Yates Christmas Program, the anonymous donor will match book-for-book up to $1,500; meaning a total of 120 books could be placed in the hands of children. If you are interested in joining this challenge to help foster a love for literacy, support local art, and looking for a way to give back directly to your community, follow the link to www.johannahreynolds.com/store to pre-order your copy. Reynolds will still donate a portion of the proceeds from all of these books directly back to the Yates Christmas Program to help with other gifting needs.

"Please consider helping and donating --buy a copy to keep and a copy to give," asks Reynolds. "Thank you so much to this anonymous family for their heart and generosity during this season of giving."