Monday, November 13, 2017

3 Picture Books by Patricia Furstenberg

Tea-Party with Animal Friends from Books
by Patricia Furstenberg

Ana lives in the “Rainbow Country.” Grown-ups and Teachers call it the ‘Rainbow Nation,” but Ana likes to think she lives under a rainbow. Not that it rains a lot, actually most days are sunny here and she loves it. You can have a picnic any day and not worry about the weather!

Last night she worried. “Do you think it will be sunny tomorrow, Ma’?” she asked at bedtime half knowing it will be, half longing for her mother’s confirmation. Whenever Ma' said “yes” it meant yes and that was good to know!

“Yes, all sunny weather for your picnic, Ana,” smiled Mom bending to tug her in. Her hair was soft as it brushed Ana’s cheek and it smelled sweet… like Ma'. “Will they ALL be coming?” Mom’s eyebrows went up, a little worried.

There was a party scheduled for tomorrow, a picnic in their garden, and Ana invited ALL her animal friends. The ones that live in books. You didn’t think she would invite REAL ones, would you? Ana lives in South Africa. Would you invite a real lion to your picnic? I didn’t think so… There would be nothing left to eat for the rest of the party!

Ana picked up her guest list. “Winnie the Pooh and Friends,” were at the top of the list. How else, she grew up with “silly, old bear” and learned her grade 1 spelling with “T-I double G-ER.”

“Honey, cake and carrots,” checked Mom on her own list.

“Joyful Trouble,” smiled Ana. “Grandad will be happy to see him again!”

When her grandfather was a young sailor in Simon’s Town, long, long, long ago, during The Second World War, he was in charge with a fantastic dog, a huge dog, a friendly dog, Joyful Trouble the Great Dane. He was the first dog ever to be enlisted in the Royal Navy! Ana had a stuffed dog looking exactly the same whom she lovingly called “Joyful Trouble.”

“Bones,” smiled Mom. “He’s always been an easy dog to please.”

“As long as he's not asking for fresh fish!” giggled Ana, remembering the story. Then, eyeing the smudge on Mom’s paper went on: “Paddington Bear!”

“Marmalade sandwich!” laughed Mom.

“Lion and Dog,” said Ana next, following her list and tapping it with a finger. Then she glanced over to Mom’s sheet. “Do we have enough meat? What if Lion is hungry?” Lion and Dog were Ana’s new friends from “The Lion and the Dog”, a story she enjoyed very much because it reminded her that size doesn’t matter when one makes new friends. She especially liked the last illustration where all the zoo animals gathered around the Christmas tree while children sang Christmas carols.

Mom didn't look worried, “he is a rather small lion, isn’t he? And he does chew an occasional bone… we have plenty of those! How many dogs are invited to your picnic?”

“Four!” laughed Ana. “Puppy is coming too and then there’s Dog, Cheetah’s best friend in the whole African plain!”

“Puppy is a sweet little fellow, we have milk but, knowing him, he’d like to taste a little bit of everything from the table!” Mom winked. They both enjoyed reading “Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles” at bedtime, one poem each night. It was fun to cuddle together and see how the little dog grew, one poem at a time. Ana enjoyed to find out what mischievous adventures Puppy happened to… fall into!

“What will we feed Cheetah, Ma?” Cheetah the cub befriended Dog in “The Cheetah and the Dog” proving that different souls can be friends even if they look different. People became so captivated by their unusual story that almost overnight “The Cheetah and the Dog” had been spun into an African folktale. Ana thought about the book illustration in which Cheetah and Dog shared a meal of steak and eggs cooked over a camp fire!

“I’ll make sure we have small bits of meat,” Mom pointed towards the bottom of her list where a big exclamation mark stood beside “meat!” “Anyone else?”

“Only The Elephant and the Sheep,” smiled Ana looking like a lamb herself. This was the third book in the collection and Ana had fallen in love with the gentle baby elephant and his friendly, yet curious lamb companion. Reading the book she was surprised to discover that an elephant calf can hold such a big secret. She loved the happy ending; it reminded her of her mom’s favorite song, “Imagine”. Just like the illustration depicting the two new friends enjoying a quiet African sunset together under the sparkling light of friendly stars.

“Grass for them and sleep for you!” said Mom as she kissed Ana good night.

“Ma’,” whispered Ana half asleep, “will you come to our picnic too?”

And Mom smiled just as the moon and the stars smiled in the sky. “Yes, I'll come," and Ana knew that she will.

3 Picture Books with
Animal Friends by
Patricia Furstenberg:

About the Author:
Patricia Furstenberg

Patricia Furstenberg

Patricia Furstenberg came to writing though reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents. She won two key legs (chapter six, "Someone is Missing" and chapter nine, "Reconstruction of the Crime") of the Write Your Own Christie Competition and was runner-up for chapter four. The Judges "were impressed by her thorough investigation and admired the strength of her narrative; they were impressed by her style" and congratulated Patricia on winning the penultimate chapter. "This was perhaps one of the hardest rounds of the competition and the judges felt that Patricia's chapter was confident and intriguing." The judges thought Patricia's writing style is "well structured, with a great sense of tension and suspense."

The Judges were Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie's grandchild involved in publishing and promoting her books since 1960s, David Brawn, Agatha Christie's Publisher at Harper Collins UK for the last 20 years and Daniel Mallory who works primarily with thrillers and crime fiction at Harper Collins US.

When she’s not writing Patricia likes to read, read, read, drink coffee and listen to music. One of the characters portrayed in her children stories is Pete, the yellow toy elephant. Not many know, but Pete exists and lives in Pat's home. This Romanian born writer is living happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.

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