Monthly Archives: September 2022

Happy Birthday, Christmas Child by Laura Sassi, Interviews by Kathy and Molly

Laura Sassi has been reading and writing stories and poems since she was a child. When she grew up, she became a teacher, and guess what subjects she loved best. That’s right—reading and writing! Her many books share messages of kindness, comfort, and faith with children and their families. Today Molly and I are happy to welcome Laura, along with her cockapoo, Sophie, to tell us all about their newest release, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child, A Counting Nativity Book.

Kathy’s Interview with Laura

First, I’m going to ask Laura to tell us 5 special things about herself. Then Molly and Sophie will woof about Happy Birthday Christmas Child. Translation to human provided, of course!

Kathy: Are you ready, Laura?

Laura: Yes, thank you. 

 Kathy: What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

Laura: Since we are talking about books, I would say one of my favorite memories is reading with my mom when I was the age of the readers of my books. We read aloud together everyday and not just at bedtime. Books were always around and we picked them up and enjoyed them often.

 Kathy: Your Mom gave you a very special treasure, indeed! Do you have a favorite place to read and/or write?

Laura: My favorite summer and fall writing spot is out on my front porch. In fact, that’s where I am writing right now and Sophie is right here beside me, keeping me on task. When the weather turns wintry, I like to sit at my desk in our foyer or in a cozy chair in our living room. 

 Kathy: Writing on your porch or from a cozy chair sounds delightful! Where did you get the idea to write Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Laura: The story is inspired by a favorite Christmas verse in the Gospel of Luke that describes Marys soul-filling wonder as the events surrounding the birth of Baby Jesus unfolded. It reads, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, ESV).  Likewise, I hope this simple counting story of the night Jesus was born will encourage littlest readers and their caregivers to slow down and explore and count and marvel on each and every spread. I hope readers will find the story soul-filling and fun in a joyful Christmas way.

Kathy: Slowing down to marvel at the wonder of Christ’s birth is so important, and I think Happy Birthday, Christmas Child will help children do just that! What is a favorite Christmas tradition in your family?

Laura: I asked my daughter to chime in on this one since I couldn’t decide. She said two things: decorating the Christmas tree (which involves much singing and reminiscing) and opening presents all together as a family Christmas morning. I wholeheartedly agree.

Kathy: I enjoy those traditions, too! What do you like best about school visits?

Laura: Oh, my goodness, I love everything about school visits. I used to be a teacher and there’s nothing like interacting with children using  a good book as the conversation spark. But if I had to pick one thing, I would say that my favorite part is the Q&A when we really get to interact.  I’m always impressed by the thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) questions children ask and the insightful observations they make. 

Kathy: As a teacher, I understand—children’s questions are so much fun! Thank you, Laura!

Okay the ball’s in your corner, Molly and Sophie. Go fetch it!

Molly’s Interview with Sophie

Molly: Whenever Kathy writes something, I feel a part of the project. I’m especially good at encouraging her to take breaks. I think it makes her a better writer, so I sit and stare up at her until she takes me for a walk! Sophie, what are some ways you help Laura with her writing?

Sophie: Funny you should ask. Laura recently shared about this on her Facebook Author Page as part of #FridayIntroductions Pet Edition! This is what she said: 

“Meet Sophie, adorable assistant to the author. Sophie enjoys curling up beside the author during work hours. She also enjoys reading, assisting with bookish photo shoots, delivering books to Little Free Libraries and more. Her favorite foods are kibbles and bunny poop (which we were sure she would outgrow, but she hasnt ). Her favorite Laura Sassi book?  Hmmm… not sure but maybe Bunny Finds Easter – because of her dietary tastes? In any event, she is delighted to meet you and hopes you will check out our books!”

Woof, that pretty much sums it up, with one exception. I would say that my new favorite book is actually her newest Happy Birthday Christmas Child because it’s about two of my favorite things:  Jesus and birthdays!

Molly: How about that! I help with bookish photo shoots, too, and Kathy also gets a little upset about some of my dietary choices. It sounds like you know all about Laura’s newest book, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. Can you tell us about it?

Sophie: Yep, like I said it’s about a very special birthday – Jesus’s! It’s told in counting rhyme.  If you can count to ten, you can help tell the story! If you can’t yet count, this book is a fun way to learn.

 Molly:  I love stories of Jesus’s birthday! Who are some of your favorite characters in the story?

Sophie: Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus are my favorite human characters.  I also love the spiders – all six of them!

 Molly: Wow, six spiders! God’s creatures are so interesting! God has given us dogs great hearing, and we love to listen. Does Laura sometimes read aloud to you and try out rhymes?

Sophie: Yes. I’m one of her most dependable listeners because I am always by her side.

 Molly:  We dogs are also known for our loyalty! How do you let her know when a rhyme is just right?

Sophie: I wag my tail!

 Molly: Well, you must be wagging a lot, because Laura writes such good rhymes! Do you know how to count, Sophie? Puppy kindergarten didn’t teach me, but I think children love to count. What are a few things they’ll count in Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: There are lots of fun things to count in the book.  My favorites are the spiders, the mice and the stars.

 Molly: Spiders and mice and stars, oh my! What fun!  Sophie, I like to use my nose to check out the presents under the Christmas tree. Do you? Kathy says children don’t use their noses as much. Instead, they love to look at pictures and point to things they find. What are some things children will enjoy finding in Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: Spiders, mice, bales of hay, lanterns, stars and so much more! You can catch a glimpse of them in this book trailer:

 Molly: Your book trailer is great! You know, we dogs don’t see as many colors as people, but I bet you still have some favorite illustrations.

Sophie: I love all the illustrations, but here’s one of my favorites.  I love how it shows that even though there was no room at the inn, the stable animals welcomed Mary and Joseph in.  And you know what, I’d welcome them into my dog crate too!

Molly:  I would, too, Sophie! What are Laura’s and your hopes for what children and their families will enjoy learning from Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Sophie: Laura already stated this in her part of the interview, but I know what her greatest hope is. It’s that the book will help children and their families pause to count and look and wonder and marvel at the real gift of Christmas —JESUS!

Molly: I know it will, Sophie ! I’ve really enjoyed woofing with you about Happy Birthday, Christmas Child. I love that God sent His son to be born in a stable with lots of creatures like us around. I hope someday we can share a bone. Well . . . maybe we can each have our own. God gave us dogs lots of skills, but sharing is something children do a lot better than us!

Sophie: Woof… it’s okay. I’m on a very strict diet, so I’d be happy to instead share a game. Fetch, perhaps?

Molly: Count me in! I love fetch and you and I are about the same size, so we’d be a good team!

Kathy and Molly: Hugs and woofs to you, Laura and Sophie, for sharing with us about your very special new book, Happy Birthday, Christmas Child, A Counting Nativity Book! Molly and I know children and their families will love sharing its colorful illustrations and beautiful message!

Where You Can Find Happy Birthday, Christmas Child

Kathy and Molly:  Where can our readers buy Happy Birthday, Christmas Child?

Laura and Sophie: It’s available wherever books are sold! If you place a pre-order before October 4th, be sure to visit the book’s landing page at to get your own activity kit that goes with the book!

Kathy and Molly: That’s terrific! Activity kits are so much fun! And, Readers, you can learn lots more about Laura Sassi and all her terrific books on her website, Laura Sassi Tales!

Before You Go

Molly and I have enjoyed learning about all these special children’s books this past month, and we hope you have, too! Our newsletter next week will recap all 6 books, so you can review them all in one place. And we’ll tell you about an amazing museum you won’t want to miss!

So be sure to sign up for our newsletter. You’ll also receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. 

In October we’ll be back to our regular schedule with activities and devotions centered around an art masterpiece. We hope you’ll join us!

You may also visit our website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands










Bedtime with Daddy by Nancy I. Sanders, Interviews by Kathy and Molly

Little ones love to snuggle with their mommies and daddies before bed, and Nancy I. Sanders’ board book, Bedtime with Daddy, joins her previous board book, Bedtime with Mommy, to help make those times extra special. Prayers and songs, stories and colorful illustrations about animal daddies and their little ones will send children off to sleep, feeling safe and loved.

Molly and I are thrilled to welcome Nancy and her kitties, Sandman and Pitterpat to our blog today!

Nancy and her husband, a retired elementary teacher, live in southern California. Nancy began writing when their sons were young. Today those 2 sons are grown, with families of their own, and Nancy is an award-winning children’s author of more than 100 books!

Kathy’s Interview with Nancy

Kathy: Nancy, let’s find out a little more about you before we let Molly and Sandman and Pitterpat blend their meows and woofs to chat about Bedtime with Daddy. Have you always lived in California?

Nancy: I grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania. I moved out here to California when I was 20. I met my husband, Jeff, here and decided to stay!

Kathy: What a very special reason to stay! What are your favorite things to write about?

Nancy: I love writing about God and Jesus and prayers and Bible facts! Plus, I enjoy writing stories about nature and God’s amazing creation.

Kathy: Your books sure show those loves! What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Nancy: Right now I’m sewing a Farmer’s Daughter’s patchwork quilt along with one of my sisters. We’re each making our own Christmas quilt but following the same pattern of 111 different quilt blocks! I’m nearly halfway done. I also enjoy gardening and hiking with my husband. And, of course, spending time with grandchildren tops the list!

Kathy: I’ve never heard of that kind of quilt. It sounds amazing! Do you have a favorite place you’ve visited?

Nancy: For our 35th anniversary, Jeff and I took a Jane Austen tour and walked in her footsteps around England from birth to death. It was the dream of a lifetime.

Kathy: What a wonderful trip! What’s your very favorite animal?

Nancy: Cats. And birds. A funny combination, right? Southern California is an amazing place to live in if you like birds. Many migrate here for the winter and end up in our backyard. Others come for the summer. I’m trying to entice swallows to build nests in our eaves!

Molly’s Interview with Sandman and Pitterpat

Okay, Pitterpat and Sandman, Molly has promised she won’t chase you, so we’re looking forward to hearing from you about Bedtime with Daddy.

Molly: I love to lie next to Kathy while she works. And when it’s winter I keep her feet warm because I’m so furry. How do you two help Nancy with her writing?

Sandman and Pitterpat: We’re actually writers, too, so we help Nancy with all sorts of writing advice. We even have our own website with tips and freebies. It’s the cat’s meow! You can visit us at

Molly: Your very own website! I can’t wait to visit it! I also love cuddling with Kathy when she reads books. In this picture of her reading Bedtime with Mommy, I was enjoying the rhymes and prayers. Do you have favorite rhymes and prayers from Bedtime with Daddy?

Pitterpat: I like the seahorse rhyme where the daddy seahorse prays for his baby.

It’s bedtime in the OCEAN.

The water’s dark and deep.

My daddy prays a blessing now.

I settle down to sleep.

“Dear God, pour out Your blessings,” I hear my daddy pray.

“And teach my child to follow You

In every single way.”


Molly: I love seahorses! I think they’re so cool . . . water/cool . . . get it? And such a wonderful prayer for children! What did you think when you saw a lion, one of your wild cousins, on the cover of Bedtime with Daddy?

Sandman: That’s MY favorite! One day I plan to save up money from all the empty tuna fish cans I recycle. My bucket list includes going on a safari in Africa where I meet some of my lion cousins. It will be like a family reunion!

Molly: That will be a reunion to ROAR about! I especially love the penguins. Did you help Nancy choose the animal daddies?

Sandman: Of course! First, I helped her brainstorm the settings to choose the different habitats around the world. I even have a freebie that you can download to help you brainstorm your settings, too! You can download and print it out from this link:

Pitterpat: And I helped her pick the daddies for the different settings. I suggested she choose some of the best daddies around!

Molly: I like that the animal daddies and babies come from 8 different habitats. I think even my thick fur wouldn’t keep me warm in Antarctica. If you could live in a different habitat, which one would you choose?

Sandman: The grasslands in Africa. With my cousins, of course!

Pitterpat: The tundra. I’d love to watch the northern lights each night before I got to bed.

Molly: I think those would be great places to visit! Children sometimes have trouble settling down to sleep. I do, too, especially if there’s thunder. How do you think Bedtime with Daddy will help little ones feel safe and secure?

Pitterpat: Bedtime with Daddy helps remind families to pray, sing songs of praise, and read a Bible verse when they are settling down to sleep. This helps little ones end their day comforted and filled with peace that their heavenly Father is watching over them.

Sandman: Plus, there are lots of snuggles and hugs in this book to remind them their own daddy loves them, too!

Molly: We’ve been reading Bedtime with Daddy and I get snuggles and hugs before bed! So much fun! I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, Sandman and Pitterpat! I feel like I’ve made some new friends that have changed my opinion of cats! If you’re ever in Colorado, we should hang out!

Sandman and Pitterpat: We’ll bring some doggie treats to share! We’ll ask Lira, our neighborhood corgi, to give us some of hers to bring along.

Kathy: Molly, I’m so proud of how well you and Sandman and Pitterpat got along! Thank you, Nancy, Sandman, and Pitterpat, for sharing with us about Bedtime with Daddy. It’s such a sweet companion book to Bedtime with Mommy, and we know it will help daddies and their little ones have lots of snuggly good times before bed!

Where You Can Get Bedtime With Daddy

Kathy: Nancy, would you tell us where we can learn more about you and find Bedtime with Daddy and Bedtime with Mommy, too?

Nancy: So many folks tell me they like to order batches of these little books. They’re perfect for baby showers, neighborhood new baby gifts, Christmas gifts, and for sharing in your local Little Free Libraries, too!

You can order in both books from your favorite local or online bookstore. Or you can order directly from the publisher (End Game Press often has amazing deals!) at

You can learn more about Bedtime with Daddy and Bedtime with Mommy at my website at:

Follow me on your favorite social media sites under Nancy I. Sanders and follow my blog for children’s writers at:

Kathy: those are such good resources and ways to enjoy Bedtime with Daddy! Thank you, Nancy, Pitterpat, and Sandman for visiting with us today!

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas from Molly and me for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

You may also visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.








Roxie the Traveling Rocker, by Becky Van Vleet, Interviews by Kathy and Molly

Do you have favorite family stories or treasures handed down from your parents, grandparents, or even great grandparents? Becky Van Vleet has a passion to create and preserve family memories and traditions as well as share family stories. In her traveling series of picture books, Becky has done just that, first with a little skirt, then a harmonica, and now a rocking chair in Roxie, the Traveling Rocker.

Becky is a retired teacher/principal, and she and her husband live in Colorado Springs. She was inspired to write her first book, Talitha, the Traveling Skirt, because a little plaid skirt had been traveling around in her family for three generations. That’s more than 70 years!

Kathy’s Interview with Becky

Kathy: So, Becky, are you ready to answer a few questions before we let Molly take over to interview Roxie herself?

Becky: Yes, Kathy. You first, then Molly!

Kathy: What were some of your favorite books as a child?

Becky: My absolute favorite books as a child were the Henry Huggins series by Beverly Cleary. I still have my Henry Huggins book I bought with my allowance money in my home today.

Kathy: How special that you still have that book! I loved Beverly Cleary’s books, too! What do you enjoy most about writing for children?

Becky: I like to write a book that will take children places in their imaginations. I want them to feel like they are right in the story.

Kathy: Well, I know they’ll feel part of your traveling series of stories! What was your favorite subject when you were in school?

Becky: No surprise here—it was reading!

Kathy: Mine, too. What else do you like to do for fun?

Becky: In this golden season of my life, I like to travel to places I’ve never been before, sometimes right in my city.

Kathy: You have several grandchildren. What is your favorite thing to do with them?

Becky: Oh, it’s hard to name one thing. We enjoy making caves and hideouts with blankets and flashlights and playing together outside. But reading books to my grandchildren is certainly at the top of the list!

Molly’s Interview with Roxie

Okay, Molly and Roxie, rock on!






Molly:  What was it like to ride home from the store in an old pickup truck?

Roxie: It was a bumpy ride, but very exciting.

Molly: I bet you were especially excited to arrive at the farm. I’d love to live on a farm and chase chickens and dig in the mud with the pigs. What was your favorite thing to do?

Roxie: The best thing ever was to rock and read with my children that I lived with.

Molly: That does sound like fun. Did you always stay on the farm?

Roxie: No. I traveled with my children to a small town, then to a large city, and my last place to travel to was a school. And I’m still at that school, rocking and reading with hundreds of children!

Molly:  Wow, a whole school of readers! I’m not very old, but I’ve seen that children grow bigger pretty fast. One little boy in our family shot up several inches in one year and his legs outgrew his pants. Did your children ever outgrow you, Roxie?

Roxie: No, when Mary and Sue and JD got bigger, I got bigger too, just like magic!

Molly:  Hmm, I wonder if that would work on my short corgi legs.

Roxie: Molly, with great imagination, I think you could have the magic too.

Molly:  I’ll have work on my imagination skills. But it sounds like fun. I had a doggie sister named Amber, who used to love when children read to her. And I have other doggie friends who go to schools and libraries to help children read. Do you think when your children read to you that it helped them learn to read and love books?

Roxie: Oh, yes, most definitely. Great question, Molly!

Molly: Thank you, Roxie, for telling me about your adventures. I hear there’s a surprise for you in your last home. I love surprises, especially special treats, like cheerios, cheese, bacon . . . Oh wait, I guess rockers don’t eat, but I sure hope your surprise is special, too!

Roxie: In my last home, the school, you would not believe my surprise. JD sat me in the corner of his classroom so I could rock and read with hundreds of children all the time!

Kathy: Thank you, Becky and Roxie, for sharing with us about this newest book in your traveling series! We know children will love reading Roxie, the Traveling Rocker and enjoying the super cute illustrations by Courtney Smith. You ladies rock!

Where You Can Find Roxie the Traveling Rocker and Help Libraries and Schools

Kathy: Becky, one last thing before you and Roxie go. Can you tell us where we can find Roxie, the Traveling Rocker, and your other books, Harvey, the Traveling Harmonica, and Talitha, the Traveling Skirt?

Becky: You can purchase all the children’s picture books in my “traveling” series at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’d love for you to check it out. But, Molly, there’s one more thing—guess what? If you go to my website and click on the tab, “Just for Fun”, you can fill out a form to request one of my books to be donated to your school or preschool. I love to donate books!

Molly: Bow WOW! That sounds like a great way to help out libraries and schools!

More about Becky: Becky Van Vleet is a retired teacher and principal. She and her husband make their home near Colorado Springs, where Becky enjoys oil painting, gardening, eating cotton candy, and hiking and biking in the great outdoors. Becky relishes spending time with her family and especially reading books to her grandchildren. Her website is devoted to creating and preserving family memories while connecting generations.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas from Molly and me for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

You may also visit our website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.




Review of Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes, a Zuggy the Rescue Pug Flip Book by Jean Alfieri

Jean Alfieri loves all dogs. Older dogs and puppies. Dogs with pointy ears and dogs with floppy ears! Dogs with long, bushy tails and dogs with short, curly tails! She loves dogs so much that Jean began volunteering at the Humane Society, and now works there full-time helping animals find forever homes.

But sometimes one dog takes up an extra special spot in our hearts. For Jean, that one was Zuggy, a little rescue pug, who became Jean’s constant companion and the inspiration for the Zuggy, the Rescue Pug stories.

Jean turned some of the fun experiences she and Zuggy shared into 7 picture books.

Today Molly and I are happy to welcome Jean and Zuggy’s younger sister, Princess Zoey, to our blog to tell us about their latest Zuggy book.

First, I’ll ask Jean to tell us 5 special things about herself, and then we’ll let Molly and Princess Zoey take over to have a good tail-wagging time telling us about Zuggy the Rescue Pug—Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes. Oh wait, pugs and corgis don’t have very big tails, so it’s more like a tail-wiggle!

Kathy’s Interview with Jean

Kathy: Are you ready Jean?

 Kathy: Did you have a dog when you were a child?

Jean: Yes. I grew up with a beautiful red Doberman, named Rumble. He came to our home as a pup when I was seven years old and grew to a 105-pound bemouth of a dog.

 Kathy: Wow, that is a large dog, and one with an unusual name, too! How many fur buddies do you have now?

Jean: My husband and I care for three vintage puppies: Reggie, our 6-pound toothless chihuahua. Don’t let his small size fool you. He’ll always be the biggest dog in the house and turns 16 years young this month. Princess Zoey, our precious 12-year-old blind pug who stars as Zuggy’s little sister. And Silly Sally, our 10-year old Airedale, who has her own claim-to-fame as a former show-dog.

 Kathy:  Such a great variety—I’m sure they keep you busy! What’s one of the funniest experiences you and Zuggy had?

Jean: It was that time Zuggy got an unpleasant surprise when he rambled off the sidewalk during one of our walks. It was an early January morning. The sun was out but a thin layer of snow had fallen overnight, so we could see our breath. Zuggy tugged on his leash, barreling off the sidewalk and stepped directly into a big dog-poop. Just slightly frozen, his back paw slid in, and the stinky poop glommed on. The embarrassing story (and its funny conclusion) is captured in Zuggy’s “Six Tales” book.

 Kathy: Yikes, that is embarrassing! Let’s move right on to Zuggy’s favorite toys and treats.

Jean: He and Princess Zoey have very similar snack preferences. You’d better be willing to share your popcorn, and don’t try to take the hedgehog away!

 Kathy: Hedgehog toys are precious here, too. Do you and Princess Zoey have a favorite place to read and/or write?

Jean: Yes – the office couch. It sits right in front of a window that looks over our front yard. Reggie sits on a pillow atop the couch, surveying his domain and barks at everyone who comes to pick up mail from the community mailbox. Silly Sally lays on the floor, while Princess Zoey curls up on either end of the couch (her choice, and it varies). I get comfy on the opposite side with a book (preferably hard cover) or my notebook (yes, I still like longhand) and get to it … while she snores!

Molly’s Interview with Princess Zoey

 Kathy: Okay, Molly and Princess Zoey, take it away!

Molly: (after bowing) Thank you, Your Highness, for graciously meeting with me. I’m a rescue corgi, but some of my relatives live in Buckingham Palace in London, so I know how to talk to princesses!

Princess Zoey: Ooooo-la-la. Wait, that’s French. I love pizza. Errr, umm. That’s Italian. I’m sorry. I don’t know ‘princess.’ Let’s just doggie-talk!

Molly: Doggie-talk sounds good to me! Can you tell us about your newest book about Zuggy? Kathy told me it’s a flip book. How do Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes works as a flip book?

Princess Zoey: Sure thing! When Momma-Jean read it to me, she started with Baby’s First Friend. I was worried it wouldn’t have a happy ending, but it did! Then she closed the book, gave me a kiss on the top of my head, and flipped the book over and upside down. Just like magic – it was a whole different book! (Don’t tell, but I think the trick was the kiss on my head!)

 Molly: It sounds like Baby really loves Zuggy at first. But something happens. Can you tell us a little about that? 

Princess Zoey: I don’t know, Molly. Sometimes family dynamics (that means, how we all get along) can be hard. I’m still not sure why she was a-scared of Zuggy, but I’m so glad they worked it out.

Molly: I’m glad, too! I love being around my family, and they help me when I’m afraid of storms or strangers. Does Baby have someone to help her when she’s afraid?

Princess Zoey:  Yes, baby always has the love and support of her family. We all get afraid sometimes. It’s good to have people (and pups) that offer us comfort.

 Molly: Pups are the best! Is Baby’s First Friend told in rhyme like other Zuggy books? And Rocking Chair Rhymes has lots of fun poems, too, right?

Princess Zoey: Yes – and Yes. So many fun poems! And remember, you and I are offering a FREE copy to whoever wins our raffle because we want everyone to enjoy it.

 Molly: A free copy? Wow, that’s even better than a doggy biscuit . . .ummm . . . er . . . well, I guess that’s true for our readers! Do you like to help Jean write rhymes? I bet you snuggle while she reads them aloud to you.

Princess Zoey: To be honest, I’m pretty much stretched-out napping while she works. But I’m quick with the constructive feedback when she’s at the ‘read-aloud’ stage. And I’m always there to help when she needs a snack!

 Molly: For us dogs, books don’t have much to smell, but children like pictures. Which pictures do you think children and their families will like the most? Which ones would have the best smells?

 Princess Zoey: This one of Zuggy in a bunny-costume! It’s a classic, for sure. And the one with the pug (who shall remain nameless) getting a kiss on the lips by a frog. Ewwww – can’t you just smell that!


Molly: Ewwww, is right! What do you and Jean hope children will enjoy the most about your new book?

Princess Zoey: The “flip” feature is really so super-great. You have to check it out. (But remember to kiss the top of my head before you try to make it work!)

 Molly: Do you think it’ll work if children kiss the top of their dog’s heads? One last question that I’ve been dying to ask you. I’ve always wondered about the curly tail pugs have. Do you have to curl it each day when you get up?

Princess Zoey: It’s really more effort than you’d expect. When I’m sad it unfurls into an unremarkable long, straight tail. I can’t do a thing with it. But when I’m happy (which is most of the time) it zings right into place. Don’t even need to think about it!

 Molly: What a great tail–it tells your moods! Thank you so much for joining me today, Princess Zoey! I think we should get together to play sometime! But we should probably bring our own hedgehog toys! PAWS-atively. I’d love to!

 Kathy and Molly: Lots of tail-wiggling thanks to you, Jean and Princess Zoey, for telling us about your new Zuggy the Rescue Pug book–Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes! Molly and I know children and their families will love finding out how Zuggy and Baby become friends again!

A Giveaway and Where to Find Jean and Zuggy’s books

Kathy: How can readers enter the giveaway for a copy of Baby’s First Friend and Rocking Chair Rhymes?

Jean: Enter our raffle to win a copy of Zuggy’s new book by answering this question:

Zuggy’s favorite breakfast is doggie donuts and pupacinos! What is YOUR favorite breakfast?

Answers from either pets OR hoomans are welcome!

One answer per household. Reply (in the comments) or via email: by midnight on September 17, 2022 and be entered in a raffle. Winning name selected and announced on September 18, 2022 and contacted via messenger or email. Will mail within the continental US.

Prefer Kindle reading? The new Zuggy book is FREE to kindleUnlimited users! Check it out on Amazon. (Zuggy the Rescue Pug – Baby’s First Friend: Rocking Chair Rhymes – Kindle edition by Alfieri, Jean. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @

You can also learn more about Jean, Zuggy, and their books on their website here.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

You may also visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.





Interview with Glenys Nellist and Little Mole from Little Mole Goes to School

Hello, Glenys and Little Mole! Molly, my artsy corgi, and I are so glad to welcome you to our blog today. We’d like to get to know you a little bit, Glenys, and then Molly will take over to talk with Little Mole about your newest picture book, Little Mole Goes to School!

Interview with Glenys

Author, Glenys Nellist

Kathy: Glenys, could you tell us a little about yourself and how you began writing.

Glenys: Thanks so much for chatting with me, Kathy. I’m excited to be here. I’ve always loved to write but it wasn’t until I worked as a Children’s Ministry Director in a small church that the door into the publishing world opened for me. Since curriculum was expensive, I decided to write my own. In rewriting the great stories of the Bible, I just found myself falling in love with the creative process, and how there’s always a new way to tell the old, old stories.

Kathy: It’s so wonderful how God gives each one of us creative gifts. What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

Glenys: I was a real tomboy when I was young! I loved to climb trees and bounce around on my pogo stick, but I also loved to read.

Kathy: Climbing trees and bouncing on a pogo stick sound like fun! What were some of your favorite childhood books?

Glenys:  I imagine that most of your American audience might not have heard of these books, but my absolute favorite stories as a child were called The Famous Five, or The Secret Seven, written by the prolific Enid Blyton. They were adventure stories, and the children in the books always had mysteries to solve. A good writer will draw you into the story so that you feel like you’re part of the tale. I vividly remember joining those characters on their adventures and devouring every book in those series (of which there were many!)

Kathy: Those stories sound exciting! What do you like to do for fun?

Glenys: My husband (who is a pastor) built a small wooden houseboat that we enjoy floating around in (and sometimes living on) during the summer. It’s also my favorite place to write. When I’m not on the houseboat though, I love to spend time with my four young grandchildren.

Glenys and her husband on their houseboat

Kathy: That’s so special that you sometimes live and write on a houseboat! What is something not too many people know about you?

Glenys:  Unless you’ve heard me speak, most people don’t know that although I live in Michigan, I was born and raised in a little town in northern England, and even though I’ve lived here for twenty years, I still call England home.

The Inspiration for The Little Mole Books

Kathy: Molly and I understand how important home is! Little Mole Goes to School is the third book in a series. Little Mole is such an adorable character. Where did you get the idea for the stories about him?

Glenys: The inspiration for the first title in the series came from a book of Bible stories I was writing, where I explored the idea that hope is hiding, even in the darkest place. In taking that idea a little further, I was inspired to write my first fiction story about an animal character who lived in the dark, and who was able to find hope. That idea became the premise of Little Mole Finds Hope, where Little Mole and his mama go on a walk together and discover that hope is everywhere, if you know here to look. The second book, Little Mole’s Christmas Gift, is a simple story of kindness and finally, Little Mole Goes to School celebrates our unique gifts and using them for the common good.

I know, Molly. Hang on. It’s almost time for you! One last question for Glenys:

Kathy: Oh, Molly and I like how Little Mole and his mama discover hope everywhere, and we’ll look forward to reading both of those books! That’s so important for children and adults to remember. And that leads me to this question, Glenys. In each of the three books Little Mole has concerns and fears just like children everywhere. I love that in each book you’ve ended with discussion questions and helps for caregivers. What further suggestions do you have for parents or grandparents to help children with their concerns?

Glenys:  The publisher of the Little Mole series, Beaming Books, has a plethora of useful discussion guides on their website. That’s a great place for caregivers to find resources.

Kathy:That will be such a help to caregivers! Okay, Molly. I know you and Little Mole are getting impatient to talk, so it’s your turn!

Molly and Little Mole Talk Together

Molly: I don’t know much about moles. What kind of house do you live in?

Little Mole: A lovely one, under the ground. It has different rooms inside, my favorite of which is the kitchen, where I have a huge stack of worms piled up for my lunch.

Molly: I like the kitchen, too. Lots of treats there! But I prefer cheese to worms! Outside my house is my fenced-in yard.

Molly in her yard

I love to bark at dogs who go by. What’s outside your house, and what do you enjoy doing there?

Little Mole: Outside my house is a lovely wood where I dig lots of tunnels, hunt for worms and play with my friends.

Little Mole in the Woods

Molly: Digging tunnels sounds like so much fun! I once had a golden retriever friend named Amber. Who are your friends?

Little Mole: My friends are Little Hare, Little Squirrel and Little Lark. You can meet them in my new book!

Molly: My friends and I like to chase balls and each other. What do you and your friends like to do?

Little Mole: We like to chase each other too!

Molly: How about that! I think many children like chasing games, too, like tag! When I was younger, I went to puppy kindergarten. I was pretty scared at first. I wondered if I could learn to sit and come. I’m pretty good at those now, but, as you saw, I’m still trying to learn more patience! Was there anything that you worried about learning in your school?

Little Mole: I was worried about everything! But Mrs. Badger is a great teacher, and Little Lark helped me learn my ABCs.

Molly:  My human, Kathy, stayed with me and helped me when I was afraid. What helped you get over your fears about school?

Little Mole: Well, it helped that I had a great first day, because once I got over that hurdle, I knew that I’d be fine. I didn’t think I was good at anything, but on the very first day, I used what I’m good at to help my friends out! (You’ll have to read the book to find out what happened!)  But you can go here for short videos about my books.

Where You Can Learn more about Glenys and all three Little Mole Books AND a Free Activity Pack

Kathy: Glenys, where can readers learn more about you and your upcoming projects?

Glenys: You can learn all about me at my website:

Kathy: And where can readers find your books?

Glenys: You can visit my Amazon Author page here, or find my titles wherever good books are sold.

Kathy: Glenys, you and Little Mole also have a colorful activity pack to download. Would you tell our readers a little bit about that?

Glenys:  The free download contains colorings, a maze, fun activity sheets, games, and tips for helping a child learn the alphabet.

Kathy: Thank you, Glenys, for telling us a little about yourself and your writing.

Thanks to Molly and Little Mole, too, for talking with us about friendships and school. Those are super important to all our readers and we know they’ll enjoy Little Mole Goes to School!

Before You Go

This was such a great interview about Glenys and Little Mole! And Molly and I hope you’ll come back next week for another fantastic interview and picture book review by Molly the Artsy Corgi and me! Sign up for our blogs above.

You may also be interested in a children’s devotion I wrote for DevoKids this month. DevoKids is part of Christian Devotions Ministries. Here’s link to  “Little Flowers with Super Powers.”

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.