‘KARLY AND SHEILA’S WALK’
// Grandkids and family pets inspire children’s book
Mary Hale and Don Donahue have taken their love for their grandchildren, and for animals, and put it into a charming children’s book titled “Karly and Sheila’s Walk.” Hale did the writing and Donahue did the kid-friendly illustrations to tell the story of Karly the tail-powered dog and Sheila the sleepy iguana – two pals that just want to go outside for a walk together. Trouble is Sheila falls asleep if she gets too far away from her heat lamp, just as all iguanas tend to do when they get cold – sleep.
How can Karly and Sheila go for a stroll without a heat source to keep Sheila warm and awake? Herein lies the plot, and by reading about how the two friends solve their dilemma, children will learn important lessons about working together and cooperation, problem solving and doing nice things for friends. Young readers will also learn a thing or two about how iguanas live, their characteristics and preferred habitat. All of this is spun beautifully into a tale as delightful to read as it is to look at, thanks to Donahue’s colored pencil illustrations.
While these two Tacoma residents have never published a book before, Hale said she has been writing since third grade. Donahue, a poker dealer at The Point Casino in Kingston, said he draws for himself and enjoys other forms of art, but has never had his work published. Hale’s gift for working with animals changed all that. According to Donahue, animals are Hale’s best friends, and vice-versa. “Mary does a lot of animal rescuing – possums, crows, robins, sparrows, baby squirrels…a lot of animals have come through our house,” he said. She helps animals she finds that may be in trouble, and people bring her animals as well. “A lot of people know how Mary is so they bring her an animal, she rehabs it and lets it go.”
As head groomer at Auburn Valley Animal Clinic, Hale enjoys a career that is deeply gratifying to her. In fact, it was a dog’s wagging tail that sparked the concept for “Karly and Sheila’s Walk.”
“Dogs are like that: when they wake up, their tail starts before anything. So I saw this tail-powered dog and I had an iguana at the time,” Hale recalled of an iguana named Seth that fell fast asleep in Hale’s cold porcelain bathtub one day.
“Through the workday I put a story together, then I came home and it took me 45 minutes to write it.” Then Donahue got to work on illustrations, with the grandkids nearby for input. It soon turned into a fun family project, with Donahue drawing and the kids coloring.
“The girls sat there and colored their copies while Grandpa colored his. It was a lot of fun to do,” Hale said.
Through the publishing of her book, Grandma has a special message for her grandchildren, Hale explained. “I want them to know that if they try hard enough, they can make their dreams come true.” She has plans for future books as well, including a coloring book and a children’s book about wolverines, which are making a comeback in North America after years of steady decline.
Being new to the publishing world, Hale and Donahue chose to self-publish their book through Outskirts Press. “Karly and Sheila’s Walk” is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble, http://www.Amazon.com and from http://www.OutskirtsPress.com.
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