Animal Medicine: Advance Praise for Hmmm! M the Humdinger
The dream of every publisher, writer, and artist—an unsolicited endorsement.
Advance praise for Dorothy Lander’s musical botanical picture book, Hmmm! M the Humdinger, published by the healing arts publisher HARP The People’s Press, came from an unsolicited, unbiased, and unrestrained authority—the more-than-human Kiisa of Seattle, Washington State.
Kiisa lives with evolutionary anthropologist Ellen Dissanayake, author of What Is Art For?, Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes From and Why, and Art and Intimacy: How the Arts Began.
Kiisa was particularly taken with the hum-lines, which were created especially for the audio Flipbook edition of Hmmm by Cathy DeWitt. Cathy is an award-winning musician, harp therapist, and the Senior Musician-in-Residence with Shands Arts in Medicine, University of Florida.
July 25, 2019: John Graham-Pole & Cathy DeWitt
Reminiscing about the early days of Arts in Medicine at University of Florida
This is Ellen Dissanayake’s record of Kiisa’s review:
As I was listening to p. 8 on the computer in my bedroom, my cat, who had been sleeping in the living room, came in and jumped up on the desk beside me (as she often does). She heard a hmmmmmm and immediately became alert and looked at the screen with interest, then outside the window behind it. As other Mmmmms sounded, she got up and looked behind the computer. Throughout the story, whenever there were longish stretches of, to her, boring people-language, she lay down and went back to her usual thoughts. But when the various Mmmmms began again, she always showed interest and looked at the screen.
Kiisa’s review appears on the “experiential responses” pages of the Flipbook edition of Hmmm, along with the invited testimonials aged 4 to 84, which are grouped into categories: Art-for-Health Practitioners; Botany Creatives: writers and illustrators; Children and Intergenerational Readers, Musicians and Musicologists; and Dorothy’s Kin. Kiisa and Ellen Dissanayake fall into a category all of their own. Ellen’s testimonial begins:
Hmmm is like no other book, in several ways. First of all, its story is as “different” as its heroine, whose name is M. Unlike you and me, she does not talk. Instead, like nature’s hummers—bees, dragonflies, and hummingbirds—she hums, beautifully and musically.
Hmmm is an innovative and original contribution to the fields of arts-in-healthcare and music therapy. Its gorgeous floral pictures and beautiful sounds put the findings of arts-in-healthcare into practice. M’s experiences make clear that most people today live in“vocal deserts.” Humming, like music and immersion in nature, are good for us.