CHANDLER, ARIZ. (September 2017) – The word “desert” typically evokes pictures of dry, hot sand and lonely spaces. Yet, the Sonoran Desert experiences monsoon thunderstorms in summer, making it one of the most diverse climates in America – and the perfect home to the desert tortoise, hero of a new children’s book by first-time author Carol Hageman.
Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert (Nina Story Books, LLC), skillfully illustrated by Nathaniel P. Jensen, follows Bubby, a desert tortoise, from the moment a young girl lifts him out of a shoebox and sets him down in his special grassy habitat for the first time. The small tortoise is delighted with the patch of grass, cozy burrow and “puddle pond” his owner, Erin (named after Hageman’s daughter), has prepared for him. The habitat becomes the site for Bubby’s budding friendships with other desert animals. As these unlikely “pals” learn to work together for the benefit of the group, Bubby realizes how brave he can be.
The story is a mix of fiction and true events from the author’s own life. Having grown up on a farm in Vincennes, Indiana, the author spent most of her youth playing and working outside. Hageman has always been fascinated with wildlife.
“Being raised on a farm gave me a greater appreciation and love for nature. I want to kindle some of that same curiosity and wonder in children who read my book,” Hageman said.
Though she left the farm when she married, the love of nature never left her. Hageman applied her gardening skills to learning floral design, eventually opening her own florist shop in Henderson, Kentucky, before she moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1989 and discovered the wonders of the Sonoran Desert.
Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert introduces readers to the language of the landscape. The text highlights such words as “mesquite” and “gecko,” then defines them in a glossary. A curriculum guide and fact sheet will help teachers and parents use the book as an educational tool.
It is illegal to capture desert tortoises in the wild in Arizona, so Bubby’s Puddle Pond also includes information on how to adopt one. As way to support the Arizona Game and Fish tortoise adoption program, Hageman will donate one dollar from every book sold to the program.
Produced by Story Monsters LLC and edited by award-winning science and nature children’s author, Conrad J. Storad, Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert (ISBN: 978-0-9989851-0-7, $14.95, paperback, perfect-bound; eISBN: 978-0-9989851-1-4; $4.99, e-book) is slated for national release on October 24, 2017 and is currently available for purchase on Amazon. For more information about Bubby’s Puddle Pond, visit www.NinaStoryBooks.com or email Carol Hageman at email@example.com.
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Author: Carol Hageman
Illustrator: Nathaniel P. Jensen
Publisher: Nina Story Books, LLC
Price: $14.95 (print); $4.99 (e-book)
Trim: 8 x 8 (paperback, perfect bound, 36 pages)
Pub Date: October 24, 2017
Audience: Ages 3 to 8
“Books aren’t made of pages and words. They’re made of hopes, dreams, and possibilities.”
WHAT IS THIS BOOK ABOUT?
Children who learn how to rely on friends and themselves when they’re young turn out to be happier adults. Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert tells how Bubby, a young desert tortoise, moves outside his solitary shoebox and into an unfamiliar world, making friends who band together for safety, comfort and companionship. Along the way, Bubby realizes that just as he can trust his friends, he can trust himself, too.
WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK UNIQUE?
Based on a mixture of fiction and the real-life behaviors of animals, Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert takes place in a geographically unique part of the world, the Sonoran Desert. The author uses simple yet evocative terms to paint a picture of the American Southwest’s unusual flora and fauna. Intending the book to be used as a learning tool, Hageman highlights these terms and defines them in a glossary. She also provides a fact sheet and curriculum guide at the end of the book for use in the classroom or further enrichment at home.
“I gained such an appreciation of the outdoors during my childhood,” Hageman said. “I want children today to get curious about places and animals they’ve never seen. Maybe it will encourage them to go exploring in the outdoors around them.”
- You seem to have wanted to write a children’s book for quite some time. Why now? What changed?
- In what ways have you seen animals act that are like what you describe in your book?
- The young girl in the book who owns the turtle, Erin, is based on your daughter, also named Erin. How did you impart a love of animals to her?
- What surprised you most about owning a desert tortoise?
- Tell me about your experience as a school volunteer helping second-graders write their own books.
- The book was dedicated to Martin Mares, can you tell me about your connection with him?
- Why was it important to you to include a glossary of new words, a curriculum guide for teachers and a fact sheet about the desert tortoise?
- You include information about how to legally adopt a desert tortoise. Are they endangered, and is there a problem with people in Arizona and elsewhere illegally owning them?
- What do you hope children and families take from your book?
- Do you have plans to write more books? What is next?