Pokeweed Press* is a division of Bungalo Books**, the little Canadian kids’ publisher that was launched in 1986 by two friends who wanted to create goofy books for young readers. Between 1986 and 2002, the editorial duo sold almost two million copies of the 38 books they produced.
John Bianchi was a freelance cartoonist and magazine illustrator living on a farmstead in eastern Ontario. Frank B. Edwards was his occasional editorial boss at Harrowsmith and Equinox magazines — and later, Camden House Books — near Kingston, Ontario.
By 1990, Frank had quit his day job so that he could work full time turning John’s zany ideas into printed books. At first, they shared a drafty studio/office in an old limestone school house in the picturesque village of Newburgh — free to drink coffee, eat donuts and bat around strange ideas without driving their wives crazy. A few years later, John took his family to Tucson, Arizona and figured out how to create digital artwork that could be transported to Frank via the new-fangled worldwide web (AKA the internet).
When the North American book landscape took a nose dive around 2000, Frank and John pulled back from adding more unsold books to the recycling bins of the world. John got serious about his landscape art and Frank became an educational consultant working with museums and various government agencies. In 2012, he started creating interactive multimedia books.
This website is an online store designed to sell John and Frank’s old books and some new material that is being created (in both digital and printed formats) by the newly revitalized Bungalo Books.
Sadly John passed away in spring 2017 after a long tussle with cancer, leaving behind his wife Marg, two daughters and three grandchildren. But his spirit lives on in the books that he and Frank created.
The site is managed by Frank and is dedicated to the memory of his friend and colleague John Bianchi (1948-2017).
Bungalo Books is named after John’s first book characters, the Bungalo Boys. They were a family of ranchers who rode trees instead of horses.
Pokeweed Press is named after the fictional Pokeweed Public School that featured in Snowed in at Pokeweed Public School.