Story last updated at 7/1/2009 - 11:57 am
Reading bedtime stories to children and grandchildren is common in many homes, but sometimes these tales can take on a life of their own as a local woman recently found out first hand.
"It was totally unplanned," said Phyllis Adams, in regard to her recently released 32-page book, "Alaska Gingerbread Moose - An Alaska Outdoor Animal Adventure," published by Publication Consultants in Anchorage.
An Alaska Native who was born in Fairbanks, raised in Nenana, retired from teaching in Anchorage and ultimately retired to Soldotna, Adams said her love of Alaska's beautiful countryside and sharing it with her three grandchildren led to the book's inception more than a year ago.
"Alaska Gingerbread Moose evolved when my grandson, Owen (Kelly), and I began to ad lib after reading and telling other bedtime stories. I was reading it to him at about 2 to 3 years old," she said.
Adams' story is essentially an adaptation of Owen's favorite traditional tale, "The Gingerbread Man," but given an Alaska twist, she said.
"We made up our own little story about a boy and his brothers and cousin who go to their grandparents and bake sourdough gingerbread cake, when a moose comes to life. It runs out the door and the children follow on an adventure," she said.
Adams' grandchildren like it so much that Owen asked her if she would make the story into a book. She agreed and had great fun over the following month imagining the characters and developing new ideas for it.
She said the children in the book meet a lot of Alaska animal characters along the way, including a beaver, snowshoe hare, eagle, and the main protagonist, a polar bear, who eventually gets won over by the children.
"The bad guy becomes the good guy. That's one of the things I wanted the book to teach kids - that you don't have to be enemies with people who are different. They can work things out in the end," Adams said.
The book is fully illustrated, and in addition to the main story, includes a section with natural facts about all of the Alaska animals mentioned, as well as several recipes for making gingerbread, to further teach children.
Adams added that improving literacy for young readers was also a goal of putting the book together, and she believed her story would be good to read to children under three, or to be read independently by children older than three.
"This book is proof of what can happen when you read to children. Their literacy goes up and good things happen," she said.
Adams said the only problem that has resulted from writing the book is that since it was published, she now has another granddaughter.
"So now my grandkids keep asking me when I'm going to write another book," she said.
Joseph Robertia is a reporter for the Penisula Clarion. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.