Dog-Gone Amazing!

My staff & I didn’t make it to the Museum of the Dog today due to other commitments, but rest assured that we will very soon. And we’ll provide you with all the exciting de-TAILS!

My ever vigilant staff did find some amazing canine art work on the web today. No, not more portraits of dogs–rather art work BY a dog! Yes, that’s right. The world famous Tillamook Cheddar. Tillie has brought scratching and chewing to a whole new artistic level. She’s had exhibits in Europe, New York City, Los Angeles, and more. Tillie is a Jack Russell Terrier from New York City with a special gift for using her “teeth and claws” to create masterpieces. Tillie even has her own biography, Portrait of the Young Dog as an Artist by F. Bowman Hastie III. Click here to see more pictures of Tillie. The first picture shows her at work on a canvas.

What’s that? Oh….my dog Holly just padded into my office with a paint brush in her mouth. I believe she’s ready to create her own painting. Now if I can just stop her before she tries to open the paints…….

Museum of the Dog

Here are my staff–(from left to right) Herman, Holly, and Henry–working hard as usual.

In celebration of DOGGIE DAY CAMP and its wonderful illustrations by Kit Grady, they discovered a very special canine location–the MUSEUM OF THE DOG. This museum in St. Louis, Missouri, has the “world’s finest collection of art devoted to the dog.” More than 700 paintings and other art work–all about dogs!

Since the museum is close by, my staff has suggested a field trip. Check back next week. We hope to share with you our artistic dog adventures when we visit the museum.

In the meantime, why not try your hand at creating some dog art of your own. The library should have illustration books as well as books on all different kinds of dogs. I’ll ask Kit how she came up with her illustrations for Bubba and his friends in DOGGIE DAY CAMP.

And if you just want to read a totally silly dog book, try Dav Pilkey’s DOGZILLA.


I’m very pleased and excited to tell you that DOGGIE DAY CAMP: VERB AND ADVERB ADVENTURES, the second book in Guardian Angel Publishing’s The Pet Grammar Parade Series, will be coming out soon. DOGGIE DAY CAMP explores verbs and adverbs with Bubba the dog.

Kit Grady created the amazing illustrations for the book. And like the first book in this series, KITTY KERPLUNKING: PREPOSITION FUN, this book also provides a study guide and lots of great activities. Already the teachers who have seen book love it and plan to use it in their classrooms.

Here is a clip from one review, Doggie Day Camp: Verb and Adverb Adventures is not only an entertaining story, but also an excellent resource to introduce grammar concepts to young readers and reinforce the use of verbs and adverbs to older readers. I’m looking forward to more books in Cynthia Reeg’s grammar series.– Kelly Secrease, 6th Grade Language Arts
Nettleton Intermediate Center
Jonesboro, Ar.

Walking on a Rainbow

Today I am excited to welcome my writer friend, Mayra. She’ll share a bit of her literary journey with you–and celebrate the release of her new picture book, CRASH!

Walking on a Rainbow: How I Became a Children’s Book Author
By Mayra Calvani

I used to think writing children’s books was boring. Writing for those demanding, whining creatures? Are you kidding? Not for me. No thanks.

That was a few years ago.

Now, nothing fills me with more joy and excitement than writing a picture book or a novel for tweens. Writing for children is like stepping into a fresh, magical, innocent, marvelous world of color and words. Writing for children is, in fact, like walking on a rainbow.

So how did the change happen?

Easy. I had children.

I recently read an interesting post by another children’s author about how in order to write good children’s stories, one must know children. Of course, as always, there are exceptions to the rule, but in general, I find this observation to be true. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one must have children in order to write great children’s stories, but it does mean that one must interact with them, know their fears, fantasies, dreams. In sum, one must have a clear idea of what goes on inside their little heads and hearts.

In my case, having children brought out a tender, gentler part of me to the surface, a part I didn’t know I had. Suddenly, as I read to my little daughter every night, picture books, with their beautiful and evocative illustrations, began to appear very appealing to me. I don’t remember when the exact moment happened, the moment when I thought, ‘I want to write a children’s book.’ But I do know I went from extreme to extreme: from chilling horror to sweet picture books. Two very different worlds, but I’m able to switch from one to the other without much problem. On the contrary, each one serves as a refreshing break from the other. So I may work on a lovable children’s story in the morning, and dive into a disturbing werewolf scene in the afternoon. It’s fun, like having split personalities, without the crazy element (or at least, I hope so!).

So far, I’ve written four picture books. Two have already been published: The Magic Violin ( and CRASH! ( The other two are in the illustrating stages and will be released next year. I also have a finished tween novel in the editing stages and another one in progress.

The world of children’s book publishing is extremely competitive, to say the least. It takes hard work, dedication, perseverance and commitment to become a published author. I know the stakes, but once you step into that magical rainbow, there’s no turning back.

Mayra Calvani ( is a multi-genre author, reviewer, dog lover, and animal advocate. A regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and American Chronicle, she is also the author of CRASH!, a children’s picture book about a little boy and how he learns to care and find the perfect name for his new golden retriever puppy. Check out her ‘Crash the Puppy’ blog at