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Labrador author self-published children’s book a fun read

Lady MacBeth, the titular character of Thom Barker’s “Lady MacBeth Afraid of the Stairs” is a lovable Newfoundland dog.
Lady MacBeth, the titular character of Thom Barker’s “Lady MacBeth Afraid of the Stairs” is a lovable Newfoundland dog. - Submitted

Thom Barker’s book “Lady MacBeth Afraid of the Stairs” is a delightful, entertaining read.

Lady MacBeth is a loveable Newfoundland dog whose personality is as big as she is.

But, the precious pooch is afraid of many things – including the long stairs leading down into the basement of her family’s home.

However, with time and patience and a little courage, the dog conquers her fear and soon realizes that, the scary things she thought might be lurking downstairs (bicycles, shopping carts and vacuum cleaners and paper bags), weren’t there at all.

“Lady MacBeth Afraid of the Stairs” is a great picture book for parents and grandparents to read to young children. Young readers will also take pleasure in reading the book on their own and sentences such as “Lady MacBeth’s teeth grew so hard she could chew up sticks like they were marshmallows,” will have children creating their own sweet images in their mind.


Toronto-based artist Dave Rheaume is the book’s illustrator.

Rheaume is a self-taught, Toronto-based artist of Metis heritage. Since 1985 he has worked as a television director and editor but, from an early age, he had a passion for art. Several of his pieces have found their way to private collectors in North America and Europe.

The pictures Rheaume has created to accompany Barker’s words are both eye-catching and realistic.

When Lady MacBeth dreams of beds and blankets and bunnies and balls and bones (great alliteration by Barker), Rheaume paints all those things on one page. The ball will remind grandparents reading the book to their grandchildren about their own childhood of bouncing a similar red, white and blue sponge ball off a brick wall or playing catch in a neighbour’s yard.


Barker is an artist, musician, and journalist (you can read his columns in “The Labradorian.”) He lives in Postville, Labrador with his wife Lorraine, their Newfoundland dog and their three cats.

He started an online fundraising campaign to raise money to publish his book.

Barker said he was delighted when people contributed about $4,500 towards his project.

“I was thrilled we were able to raise enough money to get the job done. I was told repeatedly it would be an uphill battle. But I did the research and I knew I should offer something in return (for their contribution),” Barker said in a recent phone interview.

Those who contributed to the fundraising initiative received a free copy of the book as a thank-you from the author.

Barker is now marketing his book through social media (Lady MacBeth has her own website) and has already sold a couple of hundred copies.

He is also following his publisher’s ( marketing plan and is optimistic that he’ll do well selling the book.

Feedback has been good so far, Barker said, and indications are that people are enjoying the story.

Thankfully, for those readers, they will likely get to read a lot more about the adorable dog’s adventures – from taking a bath to uncovering a dinosaur bone.

“If the marketing plan works out and we sell enough books to make it worthwhile... there are more books in the plans,” he said.

For more on Barker visit

Lady MacBeth’s website is

Rheaume’s work can be found at

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