JoCo children’s performer ‘Mr. Stinky Feet’ pivots in pandemic with virtual concerts and kids books

Jim Cosgrove, a kid-rocker and author from Mission also known as Mr. Stinky Feet, has released his third children’s book this year. Photo courtesy Jim Cosgrove.

Mr. Stinky Feet is back and just in time for the holidays.

The kid-rocker and author from Mission, who’s real name is Jim Cosgrove, has released his third children’s book this year. 

Cosgrove teamed up with Ascend Books of Overland Park to publish, “Hark! It’s Harold the Angel.” Illustrated by Rob Peters, the story is based on Cosgrove’s popular kid song about an angel who doesn’t think he can sing well. With some encouragement, Harold discovers his voice and gets chosen to deliver some big news to the world.

The book release comes ahead of the 10th annual Bright Light Friday concert by Cosgrove and his band, The Hiccups. This year’s concert will be virtual and is set to start at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving.

The concert is part of Cosgrove’s effort to pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many artists and musicians, their 2020 concert schedule was wiped out due to the pandemic.

“We had to be flexible and get creative, and part of that was finally publishing some books that we’d been talking about for years,” Cosgrove said, noting his gratitude for Ascend Books, which collaborated on the project.

So far, they’ve been able to lead a mix of virtual and socially distanced concerts for families, classrooms, daycares, libraries, hospitals and companies locally and across the country.

“It didn’t make up for all of the shows that we lost, but it certainly helped, and it really helped us stay engaged with my fan base,” Cosgrove said. 

Cosgrove said he learned how to connect with his young fans in different ways through virtual programming.

“It’s worked; it’s not what we expected, but we’ve made it work,” he said. “And I think, even when things get back to normal, or when we can perform, I think we will continue to do virtual shows, just as a way to reach people that we can’t reach by doing live shows.”

The concert on Friday will be streamed live on Cosgrove’s Facebook fan page. Donations of cash and adult-sized winter clothing items that are raised from the concert will go to Artists Helping the Homeless, a local charity.

This year marks Cosgrove’s 22nd year making music for children and their families around the Kansas City metro.

Details about Cosgrove’s other books published this year — “Bop Bop Dinosaur” and “Sullen Sally” — are available on his website. Cosgrove noted that his book “Sullen Sally” is especially relevant for children going through the pandemic.

“It certainly serves well in a time when a lot of kids are feeling stressed and anxious and grumpy and sad,” Cosgrove said. “It’s a good tie-in for a time when kids are especially anxious, and it’s a reminder that it’s OK to be sad and grumpy and anxious, and it helps if we talk those things out.”

The books can be purchased on his website or from local retailers, including The Learning Tree in Corinth Square, Unique Finds in Overland Park, Euston Hardware in Prairie Village and Rainy Day Books in Fairway.