Busi­ness­woman pens ‘whale’ of a book for kids

The Advance of Bucks County - - NEWTOWN AREA - By Pe­tra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

NEW­TOWN BOR­OUGH -- First there was “The Ze­bra-Striped Whale with the Polka-Dot Tail.” Now, there’s a new page­turner for kids - “The Ze­bra-Striped Whale Al­pha­bet Book.”

Shari Faden Don­ahue has done it again, this time with an il­lus­trated chil­dren’s pic­ture book.

In her new book, tar­geted to pre-schoolHUV, NinGHUgDUWHnHUV DnG fiUVW DnG VHFRnG graders, not to men­tion their par­ents and grand­par­ents, Faden Don­ahue uses hu­mor­ous rhymes as she as­so­ci­ates each let­ter of the al­pha­bet with an an­i­mal be­hav­ing in a most un­real or un­usual way.

For ex­am­ple, B is for bunny bak­ing with honey. M is for mouse mop­ping at her house. And P is for par­rot paint­ing with a car­rot. Can you guess what Z is for? “AV Dn DGGHG ERnuV, NiGV finG WhHPVHOvHV lin­ger­ing on each let­ter of the al­pha­bet as they hunt for the tiny ze­bra-striped whale em­bed­ded in the art­work of ev­ery al­pha­bet page,” Faden Don­ahue said.

The book is whim­si­cally il­lus­trated by Thal­a­mus, the col­lab­o­ra­tive artis­tic ef­fort of Faden Don­ahue and her hus­band, Tom, who own and op­er­ate the pop­u­lar Ze­bra-Striped Whale Ice Cream and Cof­fee Cafe on New­town’s State Street.

“Tom al­ways loved to doo­dle but never il­lus­trated a book be­fore,” Faden Don­ahue said.

7hH FRuSOH, ZhR hDV OivHG in 8SSHU 0DNH­fiHOG 7RZn­ship for 18 years, en­thu­si­as­ti­cally ex­per­i­mented with Tom’s pen­cil doo­dles by scan­ning them into an Ap­ple iMac com­puter and bring­ing them to life with Adobe Pho­to­shop.

“AW fiUVW WhH iOOuVWUDWiRnV ORRNHG EDViF DnG UuGiPHnWDry,” she said. “How­ever, we could see that we had some­thing spe­cial in our com­bined artis­tic styl­iza­tion.”

For would-be authors, Faden Don­ahue said, “If you have the pas­sion for writ­ing or il­lus­trat­ing, fol­low your dream. Stick with it, don’t give up, and do your best to achieve ex­cel­lence.

“When you be­lieve in some­thing with all of your heart, you’ll ac­com­plish your goals,” she said. “Al­ways stay clear of naysay­ers.”

Faden Don­ahue opened her own pub­lish­ing com­pany, Ari­max Books, over 20 years ago when she pub­lished hHU fiUVW ERRN.

Her com­pany is named for the cou­ple’s two daugh­ters, Maxime, 27, and Ariele, 23.

Books were a ma­jor part of fam­ily life for the Don­ahues. “Our nightly bed time rit­ual was read­ing a min­i­mum of three chil­dren’s pic­ture books when our chil­dren were lit­tle,” she said.

“Ev­ery two to three weeks, my chil­dren and I would go to the lo­cal li­brary and ‘bor­row’ 30 or so chil­dren’s pic­ture books at a clip -- as many as our bags would hold!”

Her per­sonal fa­vorite is “The Very Hun­gry Cater­pil­lar” by Eric Carle, a col­lage artist. “I am a chil­dren’s pic­ture book col­lec­tor,” she said, not­ing that many chil­dren’s books can be found in ice cream shop and cafe.

Faden Don­ahue started writ­ing just af­ter her fa­ther passed away more than 20 years ago. “He loved books and was an avid reader,” she said. “My love and ad­mi­ra­tion for him sparked my de­sire to write and il­lus­trate in his mem­ory.”

She has pub­lished seven ti­tles through Ari­max Books to date.

There’s noth­ing more ex­cit­ing than writ­ing and il­lus­trat­ing a chil­dren’s pic­ture book, said Faden Don­ahue.

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