In the book, Mice on Main, written by Kelly and illustrated by Wells, who sculpted the bronze mice on Main Street, Jimmy and his mice discuss his idea about bringing "Adventure," "Freedom," and "Sparkle" into their lives.
For his senior project at Christ Church Episcopal School in 2000, Jim Ryan proposed the idea of installing a family of nine unique mice sculptures in surprising places along Greenville's Main Street from the Hyatt to the Westin Poinsett Hotel. His original idea spun from the book, Goodnight Moon, which he and his mom read every night when he was small. There are nine mice pictured in that story. Count them yourself.
Ryan made his way through the red tape involved in any city project and then raised the money, with the assistance of donors and the mayor, to complete his project.
Multi-talented Greenville sculptor, Zan Wells, actually created the mice. She and Ryan became a team, and Wells sculpted nine individual bronze mice, each one with his own look, character, and special place on Main Street.
Ryan and Wells placed the mice in their permanent places, thus creating Greenville's fanciful downtown scavenger hunt for children of all ages.
How the Book Came to Greenville
One spring day in 2007, Linda Kelly and her granddaughter, Sara, were hunting for the mice. Sara asked, "Grandmother, is there a book about the mice?" When Kelly told about Goodnight Moon, Sara said she meant a book about Greenville's mice. "Why don't you write one?" she said to Kelly. And she did.
Ryan, Wells, and Kelly
Kelly contacted Wells and Ryan about the book, and the three of them decided to become partners. Sitting around Wells's kitchen table, they read the story and named the mice.
Wells agreed to illustrate the book. Thus, the sculptor who created the bronze mice became the illustrator of their book.
Mice On Main was presented to Greenville on August 23, 2008 at the Metropolitan Arts Council in the form of a celebration and signing.
Kelly and Wells sign books at the Metropolitan Arts Council celebration and signing. Thanks to the hard work of Alan Ethridge, Executive Director of MAC, who coordinated the publicity for the event, over 700 books were sold that day.
Mice on Main Mission
Because Mice On Main is about Greenville and for Greenville, proceeds from sales of the books, games, and t-shirts are contributed to a charity in the Greenville area.