LIVINGSTON, NJ - Angry Birds watch out! There’s a frisky goat on your tail. Stop the mindless games and encourage your young readers with a literary app from publisher MeeGenius! (www.meegenius.com). The book, “Silly Daddy and the Pet Goat” is one of the hot, new selections from Livingston writer, Julia Frankel.
From the time she was a young child Julia Frankel longed to become a writer and with the publication of her first e-book, her dream is now a reality. “I’m fulfilling my childhood dream at the age of 48,” she said.
“Silly Daddy and the Pet Goat” was published at the end of May by MeeGenius!, an e-publisher of children’s books. The story, based on Frankel’s own silly daddy, is about a father who takes his children to a garden store and comes home with a live goat. Said goat is returned to the store soon after devouring mom’s garden and the young daughter is left asking for a pet of a different sort, “Now can I have a worm please?”
The delightful story contains an audio track and each word is highlighted in yellow as it is read aloud. Whimsical and charming illustrations by Chelsea Lane, a Boston illustrator, accompany the text.
A book readable from a mobile device or a computer is a far cry from the handwritten then typed stories Frankel used to compose for her young children. “All the stories I wrote were inspired by true life experiences with my kids,” she said during an interview in her Livingston home. Frankel is not lacking for material with five children and a silly husband of her own. Her children range in age from 25 to 15 years old.
“My mom has more help than most because it’s her transcribing it into a different format,” said son Jamie Frankel, 20, a student at Colgate University. “It” being the crazy antics of young children and their wacky dads.
“I realized Dads do a lot of ridiculous things,” said Frankel. “They often see things differently than the moms.” She wrote a series of Silly Daddy books that have yet to be published.
She recounted the time when she sent her husband, John, to the grocery store with a shopping list. He returned with a lot of junk food that was on sale or looked interesting minus all the staples such as bread and milk from her list. That incident inspired, “Silly Daddy Goes to the Supermarket”. Or there was the time when he took an ugly six foot weed and secretly planted it one night in his friend’s pristine front yard. Then came, “Silly Daddy and the Big Weed”.
Until recently Frankel’s stories never went beyond family and friends. “It is impossible to break in as a new writer. There are no publishers interested in unsolicited manuscripts,” said Frankel. She was content to share her stories with friends or to read them in her childrens’ classrooms. Then came e-publishing and MeeGenius! accepted her first Silly Daddy book.
“We just found the whole take on daddy and the series about how daddy is with children and the role of daddy very intriguing to us,” said Wandy Hoh, co-CEO of MeeGenius! “We just loved her concept.”
“The e-book publishers are more willing to take a risk on new authors. They’re changing the face of book publishing,” she said. The publisher matched Frankel with an illustrator, edited her book, and supplied the voice of the narrator. Frankel was responsible for laying out the text and illustrations. The book costs $1.99 and she shares royalties with the illustrator. Sales are doing well, according to Hoh but the company wouldn’t reveal specific details.
“It was never about the money,” said Frankel. “It’s a passion for me. What I love more than anything else is making kids smile and laugh.”
While we celebrate dads this time of year they also give us lots of fodder for laughs. Julia Frankel witnesses the humor on a regular basis.
“I want to keep writing,” said Frankel. “I’m still getting new ideas all the time.” So look out area dads.
“I’m watching you,” laughed Frankel.