All kinds of experts recommend keeping children reading and applying other skills learned in school during their summer break in order to stay sharp.
Donald Everett Wood has one book that will be a good choice for your young student’s summer reading list.
Wood, a resident of Pine, has his first children’s book available, “The Adventures of Star & Hiccups of Happy Valley,” with beautiful illustrations by his daughter, Deborah Wood-Finley, which were crafted through e-mail collaboration.
There are a few copies of the self-published book around town, he said, including about a half-dozen he has, and they can be purchased from Amazon.com. Look for the book at Todd’s Books on West Main in Payson, Payson Feed, H B’s Place in Pine and Fossil Creek Creamery in Strawberry.
Wood, who has taken it to read in several classrooms, has already introduced some Rim Country children to the book.
The book is the first in Wood’s trademark series of “Learn a Lesson” books. At the back of the book are a series of questions that will encourage young readers to think about the choices they would make in situations similar to those in which the characters find themselves.
In addition to the current publication, he has planned out 17 more books. Some will be the continuing adventures of Star & Hiccups, characters based on Wood’s real horse and goat. The Star & Hiccups books are targeted to children in kindergarten through the third grade; others will be designed for younger children; and he has a series called “The Thing From Under the House” planned for older children.
“I started working on it about five years ago. I heard a news story about a boy separated from a group of Scouts who survived alone in the woods for several days. Something clicked and I thought using animals to tell a story of survival would be a good idea,” Wood said.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Wood went into the service and while in Frankfurt, Germany wrote articles for the Stars & Stripes newspaper. After leaving the military, he went into sales and eventually came to Arizona. He and his wife, Cheryle, retired to Pine about nine years ago. The couple have four children — two daughters in upstate New York and two sons in Arizona; plus seven grandchildren.
Wood hopes to have the second of his Star & Hiccups books available for Christmas. The book will be called “The Adventures of Star & Hiccups of Happy Valley and The Magical Train.”
To learn more about the books, Wood can be contacted via e-mail at don.wood502 @yahoo.com or www.learnalessonbooks .com.