Wednesday, June 3, 2009

BOUNDING FOR BOOKS: Dotty's Topsy Tale


Blog Tour Interview With Donna Shepherd

Dotty’s Topsy Tale

Shari: Donna, your rhyming books are delightful and Kevin Collier’s illustrations are so colorful and complimentary to the story. Are all of your books written in rhyme?

Donna: Thank you, Shari. Yes, so far everything I've written has been in rhyme. I sing and write music so writing stanzas comes more naturally to me. That isn't to say my rhymes don't need a lot of work. I sweat over every single word and re-write many, many times before I'm satisfied.

Shari: Dotty’s Topsy Tale is about accepting others. What prompted you to write about prejudice?

Donna: One day while brainstorming with my daughter for ideas, she asked, "Isn't Dotty pink? What if she wanted to play with purple hippos? Would that be a problem?" I decided, yes, it would, but not for Dotty - only those around her, and more specifically, the grownups. Sweet Dotty cannot for the life of her figure out why skin color matters. After all, her best friend is green!

Shari: Your characters are always a color that doesn’t occur naturally. I especially love the green monkey, Chizzy. Does he have his own book?

Donna: When Kevin illustrated Topsy Turvy Land, he chose to put a monkey on the front of the book. It seemed only natural that I give him his own spotlight. He's a mischievous monkey, and in Chizzy's Topsy Tale, he sneaks out with Dotty for a nighttime treat and they end up in all kinds of trouble.

Shari: Do you ever hear from children about your oddly colored animal characters?

Donna: A grandmother told me just last week that her granddaughter's favorite character is the pink hippo. A father emailed me that his two children fight over my first book. It tickled me to death when he said they take turns putting it under their pillows at night. In OUCH! Sunburn, I asked Kevin if he would put Chizzy in the book as a stuffed animal on the bed of the main character. The little boy even matches Chizzy since he's green from having aloe spread all over his sunburned body!

Shari: What do you want children to get from your books?

Donna: I love it when a child smiles and giggles, either at the story, the colorful illustrations, or when he or she finds one of the hidden hearts – my way of putting love in every book. Children are young for such a short amount of time and if I can bring some joy in a child's life, that's heaven for me.

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I've started a fan page on Facebook and am having a drawing Wednesday, June 3. Here is the link to the Fan Club.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Donna-J-Shepherd-Writer-Speaker-Singer/48116041378

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Dotty's Topsy Tale, the newest in the Topsy Tales series written by Donna J. Shepherd and illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier, features Dotty, a pink hippo that doesn't quite fit in. With help from her best friend, Chizzy, she finds she can be happy with herself no matter what her color. The book introduces a purple baby hippo, Violet, to gently explore the topic of discrimination. Suggested age for readers: 2-5.

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Review: Dotty's Topsy Tale is a book that has all of the features our family looks for when shop for books. and is published by a great Christian publishing company that caters to families with younger children. It is highly recommended as a self-esteem booster and affirmer for kids and is part 2 of a sequel. It delves into the topic of discrimination and supports community-building values and living by a higher standard. It espouses the value of change -- we don't always have to live the way we were raised to live, especially when that was based in untruth or ignorance. These are much needed topics of discussion for children to understand while they are young and developing a foundation for their character that will carry them through the rest of their living years in this world. In the face of all of the infamous leadership failures we've all witnessed in recent years, high-quality character development really needs to be at the top of the list of priorities for all educators in public, private, and home schools. Bravo, Donna! The illustrations are stunning due to Kevin's use of contrasting and complimentary colors. Our oldest is an aspiring artist and really enjoyed the pictures. This is our official review as we have added this book into our homeschool curriculum for 2009. - Donna Johnson, WWAHM.com, JKidsCrew Butterfly Homeschool Journal (
http://jkidscrew.tumblr.com/post/104695435/here-is-a-book-that-has-all-of-the-features-that)

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Link to trailer on Blazing Trailers:
http://blazingtrailers.com/show.php?title=15
Topsy Tales - http://www.topsyturvyland.com

Dotty's Own Blog:
http://www.dottystopsytale.blogspot.com

GAP Page:
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/dottys-topsytale.htm

Other books:

Topsy Turvy Land
Chizzy's Topsy Tale
OUCH! Sunburn
No More Gunk!
The Lonely Lightning Bug

Coming soon!

Poodle and Doodle
Bradybug
Sully's Topsy Tale

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Donna Shepherd will be visiting http://goingbeyondreading.blogspot.com on Friday June 5th.

Join me on Friday June 5th right here for an interview with Kim Chatel!

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12 comments:

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Thanks for allowing me to share Dotty with your readers. She's a sweet character to write about.

Mary Cunningham said...

Delightful illustrations, delightful story. Thanks for sharing this interview, Shari and Donna!

Mary

http://www.cynthiasattic.blogspot.com

Mayra Calvani said...

I joined your fan club, Donna!

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Thanks, Mayra! Drawing is in about an hour. I downloaded a program to help called 'The Hat' with a drum roll and everything. I'm having my son come in to be the witness. Fun!

Margot Finke said...

Great job Donna and Shari. I love the idea of a drum roll Donna. Sounds like fun.

Shari dug deep and came up with Donna "Gold!"

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Reluctant Reader Books
http://www.margotfinke.com
http://margotfinke.blogspot.com/

Jennifer Gladen said...

Great interview. I love how you tie all tour talents into your writing. They all flow well together.

Kim Chatel said...

I'm learning more about you, Donna! I didn't know you were a song writer too. Makes sense. Your writing is delightfully lyrical.

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Thanks, Mary, Mayra, Margot, and Jennifer. Kim, I love that - delightfully lyrical.

Joy said...

Donna's books are adorable! I like the tie in with Chizzy in Ouch! Sunburn. Thanks Shari and Donna for sharing.

Joy Delgado
Illustrator and publisher of bilingual children’s books
http://goingbeyondreading.blogspot.com/

Kalemba said...

Shari,

I liked your answer to the last question in a recent interview; your advice to writers for children: "Don't stop being a child." Indeed, if stop being a child you're out of touch and your writing can't sing.

Vukani

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

Vukani

Exactly! You must hold on to a little bit of your childishness to be a children's writer. Thanks for stopping by.

Shari

J. Aday Kennedy's A Writing Playground said...

My family has scolded me for being such a big kid for years. Now that it's paying off, they're not giving me so much grief. Thank God I write children's books.
Blessings,
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Children's Author
www.jadaykennedy.com
http://jadaykennedy.blogspot.com/