Children's book explores magic of the Kingsport Carousel

Matthew Lane • Jun 13, 2018 at 7:30 PM

KINGSPORT — A new children’s book about the Kingsport Carousel is now available for pre-order.

Copies of “Ups and Downs of the Merry-Go-Round” can be reserved at the carousel gift shop or at www.engagekingsport.com until June 22. This special, limited edition book (which also doubles as a coloring book) costs $25. Checks can be made to Engage Kingsport.

All books be available for pickup at the Kingsport Carousel’s Birthday Bash on July 7, and both the author and illustrator will be at the event to sign copies. The books will be available only via pre-order and will each have an authentication number that will be inserted and marked by the author and illustrator.

“Ups and Downs of the Merry-Go-Round” is written by BB Joyner (of Franklin, Tenn.) and illustrated by “Buffalo” Joe Pilkenton, the man responsible for carving the well-known buffalo that was used to promote the carousel project.

The book tells the story of what happens with the animals after the lights go out and the doors have been locked.


Joyner and Pilkenton became friends years ago during their college days at the Art Institute in Atlanta and have remained so ever since. Joyner was a commercial artist who created advertisements for Kroger, then later became a truck driver for UBS.

“Joe was telling me about his wood carvings, so we went over to see what he had going and to see the carousel,” Joyner said. “One thing led to another ... and Joe casually said why not write a story about the carousel? I said I could do that.”

Joyner has drawn pictures and written stories and poems for his granddaughter for years, but he has never done anything quite like this book.

“We got to talking about the carousel and I did a story for him, sent him a book and he liked the stories. Next thing I knew, (Joe) called and said he was turning it into an adult coloring book with my story,” Joyner said. “It’s my first and it might be my last, but I’ve been in advertising so I’ve got skin like a duck.”

Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Kingsport Carousel. For more information, visit EngageKingsport.com, or call (423) 392-8414.

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