Area students meet ‘Arthur’s pesky little sister’

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 28, 2006

Law Lamar has done it again.

Thanks to the efforts of the Birmingham attorney,

Marengo County students received a special visit from “Arthur” character D.W. – in the flesh and free of cost.

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Although other Livingston and Birmingham schools were asked to pay a small fee to see D.W., Lamar wanted to make sure all Black Belt students had the opportunity to meet her, regardless of their monetary situations, after he stumbled upon the visit opportunity accidentally.

“I was looking for children’s books on the internet when I saw ‘Arthur’ books. I clicked on it and saw D.W. could come out, and I thought ‘This would be fun,’ he said. “I just thought of this opportunity as a Godsend because I didn’t even know who Arthur was and I just happened to stumble on to this.”

On Wednesday, April 26, Kim Brown, the sister of “Arthur” author Marc Brown, spent the day in the John Essex gym entertaining young students from

John Essex, Westside Elementary, U.S. Jones Elementary, Linden Elementary, A.L. Johnson and Marengo High School.

“I don’t have the words to describe it because I feel so humble to have her here,” John Essex principal

Loretta McCoy said. “Number one this is encouraging and inspiring to the kids and for me, it sparked and made me remember why I got into education because

making anyone feel like how I feel right now, is very rewarding.”

Although it’s been eight years since Brown began touring on behalf of her brother and has traveled from Boston to Hawaii and everywhere in between, this was her first trip to Alabama.

“A guy named Law Lamar called me. He organized everything and is helping out with the financial part. So that’s how it all started,” she said. “Alabama’s nice and things are going good here. I’m actually staying in a little bed and breakfast in Greensboro and I’m the only one there.”

As the inspiration for the cartoon aardvark character “D.W.,” Kim Brown was able to give first-hand background information on her brother, who based the main character “Arthur” on himself, and their family.

After admitting to the audience she was the reason for her brother to create Arthur’s “pesky little sister” D.W., Brown showed a slide with pictures of her family members who are also influences in the cartoon and read “D.W. the Picky Eater” to students and staff.

Guests also got a sneak peek of how an “Arthur” book was made from the sketches in the beginning and light board drawings to color proofs and the final product, and drew their own Arthur cartoon, which Brown stamped with her brother’s signature and “Arthur” character, before adding her personal John Hancock.

“Anytime you can expose the kids to someone who’s been this successful and can bring a program to the school that the children can really relate to, goes a long way,” Marengo County superintendent Luke Hallmark said. “All these children know the ‘Arthur” books and show, so just to have her come and speak to kids across the county is such a great thing.”

“Most schools in the Black Belt can’t afford to do much of anything,” Lamar said.

“They are the underdogs of underdog school systems of underdog counties of an underdog state. I want to help people who are usually at a disadvantage get the help they deserve.”

Hallmark said he hopes to bring more influential people into Marengo County to make an impression that anyone can become famous, no matter where they are from.

“I hope to do more of this,” he said. “We need to continue to bring people in that can exemplify that good character brings success and that hard work pays off.”