I write DOG ON A LOG Books for my daughter. Although their main function is to provide her with decodable books where she can practice her reading, I want them to be so much more. I want her to be entertained and I want her imagination to soar. I also want her to remain a sheltered little girl who is free from so much negativity in the world for just a little bit longer.
The families in the DOG ON A LOG books are strong, loving, and supportive. The children are polite, respectful, and cooperative. Siblings and friends get along. Everyone is kind and helpful.
Most of the stories fall into two categories: Family activites or Imagination turned real with some silliness thrown in for fun. I was working on a book while watching my kids and their friends swimming shortly after I started writing this series. I wrote about Jan and her mom going to a hat shop. The phonics worked, but it just seemed boring. Who cares about a hat shop? So I made it The Hat And Bug Shop and even added a rat who is friends with a bug. Hopefully the unexpectedness of that will keep struggling readers reading.
Two of my favorite books are Trip To The Pond and Lil Tilt And Mr. Ling.
In Trip To The Pond, Jan and her family go camping. In the middle of the night Jan wakes up to go sit by the shore of the lake with her father. They watch the mist over the pond and then see it evaporate as the sun comes up. That is exactly the type of activity my daughter and husband share and it fills me with happiness.
In Lil Tilt And Mr. Ling, Lil and her mom go to visit an elderly neighbor. They help him feed his frogs and he invites them to a “Wing Ding Shin Dig.” They go to his party and dance to his drumming. Something about the warmth of their friendship keeps this my favorite book.
Then there’s the imagination books. In The Ship With Wings, a brother and sister turn a box into a ship that goes to the sun. (Since the phonics includes -ng the kids naturally attach wings and fangs to their ship.) In Chickens In The Attic (still in production) a group of friends turn a bathtub that is stored in the attic into a raft. In their game they shove off into a lake and end up in the ocean where they help a distressed whale.
Kindness and service are always present in DOG ON A LOG Books. In Bake A Cake, Jan and her mom bake a cake for Kate Tate who broke her hip (can you tell it’s a silent e book?) In the upcoming Chicken Bus Express, Jan and her friends help Kate Tate again. They use their wagon named The Chicken Bus to bring her more food and take out her trash. Of course, they need to make sure to bring their bike helmets because they will need them for Chicken Bus Hill.
I try to not put too much peril in DOG ON A LOG Books. Since many kids who read them are already struggling with just reading the words, I don’t want to add possibly challening emotions on top of already present frustrations. Of course, in Tolt The Kind Cat, I seem to have made it a little scarier than I expected. The family cat finds some abandoned fox pups who need their mom. By lucky chance the mom’s job is to rescue injured wildlife and she is able to reunite the pups with their mom. During the reading of it, my daughter gave me a note that said, “This is sad.” I assured her there would be a happy ending, but she didn’t seem too sure about that.