A rooster, a prairie dog and a porcupine learn about bullying
ORANGE >> Children’s author and Milford educator Bonnie Feuer loves the idea of children standing up for one another, so that’s just what the rooster, prairie dog and porcupine do in her new book “Voice from the Woods.”
“Because I work in the school system, I see and hear about bullies too often,” she said. “I really believe in the concept of standing up for one another.”
In this, her fourth children’s book overall, and the third in a series of animal learning adventures, the setting is a Texas farm and the main characters set out to stop a bully from imitating their natural sounds.
They go into the woods to talk about it. When the animals realize they’re all victims, they find release and relief, they encourage each other, and each feels they’re no longer alone, Feuer said.
The three explore problems and feelings kids might experience from bullying: frustration, feeling “awful” and wishing it would stop, she said.
The book, published by the Connecticut Press, is filled with colorful, vibrant illustrations by Sharai Platt who grew up in Orange. It is dedicated to Feuer’s grandson, Joey Boemmels, 11, of Hamden, because he’s a kind person who would come to the rescue of others, Feuer said. The other two animal books are dedicated to her granddaughters.
There is also a special mention of Milford student Andriana Bruno, 10 at the time when she inspired Feuer’s porcupine scene. It was after an episode with writer’s block, and Feuer asked students: “What should come next?”
Feuer’s other animal adventures are “Wallaby the Wannabe,” about a young wallaby’s journey through Australia learning lessons in diversity, acceptance and self-discovery, and “Goliath’s Secret,” about a silent frog that one day surprises the other West African animals who feel sorry for him because he can’t communicate.
Another book, “I Hear a Red Crayon,” is the story of what it was like growing up in the 1960s with a brother who has autism, at a time when little was known or said about the disorder. She actually had started “Voice from the Woods,” before “I Hear a Red Crayon,” but put it aside when inspired to write the latter.
In her latest book, there is a twist when the animals learn who their bully is.
Just as in the other animal books, Feuer used a combination of prose and rhyme in the new release.
“I think children just warm up to animals,” she said. “There’s something inviting about an animal that can express itself.”
The latest book was released Friday and can be purchased on the Connecticut Press website, on Amazon.com and hopefully soon through Barnes & Noble, Feuer said.
Feuer is such an avid reader and writer that one day she had this exchange with her supportive husband, Harvey Feuer.
“I have to finish a book today,” she said, to which he replied, “Reading or writing it?”
Now Feuer is working on her memoirs.