GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -In the literary world, it's not often that an author finishes her first children's book with publishers clamoring for it.It's even more rare for an author to possess the skill to write both a children's book in formal verse and to fully illustrate it in the rich, deep colors of alcohol inks.Still more rare is the advent of a publisher allowing authors to both write and illustrate their books, when editors generally create books by selecting the artist and the writer, and pairing the two.And the rarest of all is when a small press invests in bringing out a special hardback edition of such a first book, in addition to paperback copies, an edition already expected to become a collector's item.And yet that's just what has happened to Grand Junction poet and painter Wendy Videlock, whose third book, and first children's book, "The Dark Gnu," has just been issued by Able Muse Press.On Saturday, Feb. 2, the Western Colorado Writers' Forum will host the highly acclaimed author in a 4 p.m. reading of her new illustrated book of verse at SpringHill Suites, 236 Main St., in the Main Street Room.The reading is open to all; parents and families are especially welcome, and any child wearing any type of critter headband or hat will receive a prize. (Hint: Many, many critters live in the pages of "The Dark Gnu," from owls to rabbits to the great gnu himself, the beast). Reading $5 (free for children). Questions from all ages will follow the reading, followed by refreshments, meeting the author and book-signing.Videlock will also teach a writing workshop, 1:30-3:30 p.m., "What the Light Will Guess and the Dark Knows," for all levels of writers, at SpringHill Suites. The workshop ($50, and $45 for Forum members) includes a ticket to the reading. Videlock describes the workshop as one in which writers will "explore the many arresting rhythms, images, angels, daemons and archetypes which tug at our subconscious and invariably emerge in the name of childhood, dream, art, and poetry. We will discuss the stories, books, and poems which excited our imaginations when we were children, and move on to a variety of writing exercises. You don't need to wish to write children's poems to enjoy and learn from this class. All skill levels welcome. Bring a notebook, a pen, and an open mind." Videlock's visual art can be found at The Blue Pig, Raw Canvas, and Working Artist's Gallery. Her poems have appeared widely in national literary journals, most notably in Poetry, Quadrant, and The New York Times. She is a well-reviewed author of a recent poetry collection, "Nevertheless" and a book of poems, "What's That Supposed to Mean." Videlock describes The Dark Gnu as:An odd little boofor the drifters and dreamers,the tygers and sages, and the children of allinconceivable ages.For information, see www.westerncoloradowriters.org/events-classes/ or contact Destiny Breckenridge at 970-201-0303. Reading tickets will be available at the door at the SpringHill Suites. Tickets for the writing workshop (limited to 35) are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at Crystal Books, 439 Main St.