It's been awhile since we've reviewed a book, and I’m pretty excited to share this review with you! First, a little back story: I was sent an advanced copy of the book to review with pupsters Wolf and Bandit back in the fall of last year. I had such a fun time reading it to them and doing a photoshoot with the book galley. Sadly, and unexpectedly, our dear girl Bandit journeyed to north of the Rainbow Bridge shortly after, and I needed to take some time off from blogging to be with Wolf and help him heal from the grief of losing of his sister and finding himself the lone dog left in our original FiveSibes pack family. So, this will always be an extra special review since it was the last with our girl Bandit.
Now…who doesn’t like a little bling in their life? Well, we here at FiveSibes have one that you will absolutely love—“Bling” the real-life Irish Setter dog! And what’s even cooler is that Bling the Dog has an award-winning book out that his hu-mom, the multi-talented artist Dawn Secord, has written and illustrated called, No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here published through Willow Breeze Publishing, and this is a book you’ll definitely want for your bookshelf, and to share with all the human kiddos you know! It is also the recipient of the Mom’s Choice Award and June saw its official book launch! (Okay, most of you know that as an author and editor myself, as well as being avid reader since I was a child, I do so love books, and ones featuring animals top my list! Doing these reviews are a favorite of mine, and I’m pretty excited about sharing No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here with you all)!
According to Dawn, the premise of the book is, “Bling
is not like any other dog. Quiet and mild mannered, she has inspiring
ideas of being a brave adventurer whose quest is not only in who she will be,
but in what she can do to help others. Left home alone in the family’s
absence, Bling is put in charge with only her trusted BFF, Sushi the goldfish,
as backup. Relying on teamwork, Bling is determined to capture monsters,
become the heroine and save the day. All of this must be done before the kids
Now doesn’t this sound like a must read to you?! As a grandmother to two toddlers, we’re all loving this book!
Speaking of bonuses, Dawn offers a FREE Parent’s Guide for parents and teachers so that they can use the book as an educational tool! Now that rocks! A little further down in this article, we’ll tell you how you can get this fab free guide!
DISCLOSURE Please note that this is not a paid book review. While I did receive an advanced digital copy of Dawn’s book, all thoughts, reviews, and comments about the book and Dawn’s artwork are solely my own.
In addition to her book winning the Mom’s Choice Award for 2021, Dawn is also an award-winning internationally collected artist, a grand prize winner of the American Kennel Club's inaugural poster competition. She has illustrated numerous magazine covers, and had featured stories in national magazines. She is also a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) "Maxwell Medallion" for Excellence Award recipient in 2015 and 2021 and a Cat Writers Association "Muse Medallion" Award winner. She is the illustrator of the children's book Show Dogs Escape to the Seashore,” and illustrated Under Sun, Stars, and Sails, an historical book about a New England whaling family.
To see more of Dawn’s beautiful fine artwork, you can visit her gallery on her website at: www.dawnsecord.com/GalleryHome.html
And be sure to check out her Art By Dawn Secord Facebook page HERE.
So, without further delay, I’m so happy and pleased to present my interview with the multi-talented Dawn Secord about her first published children’s book that she wrote and illustrated!
FiveSibesMom, Dorothy Wills-Raftery, Interviews Author/Illustrator Dawn Secord
FiveSibesMom (FSM): What inspired you to write No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here, your first children’s book?
Dawn Secord (DS): I'd always wanted (an Irish Setter) and my parents said “no.” My first private oil painting lesson was arranged by my mother when I was 10 years old. When I was 21 years old, I purchased my first Irish Setter—that was 36 years ago in 1984 (way before the Internet)! Something came over me when that first Irish came into my life, and I knew I wanted to do a children's book starring an Irish Setter one day.
FSM: You’ve been a career illustrator and now author. What made now the right time for your book?
DS: Reading and my animals were my life. Years went by and it was never the right time. In 2008, I met Marsha Hall Brown. She was an AKC judge at the time and had written a book titled The Essence of Setters among others. I needed a painting critiqued and an Irish Setter person suggested I contact Marsha. She did critique the painting for me, it was a painting of an English Setter. After that, we became friends and I'd ask her to critique paintings for me that needed to be breed specific of breeds other than Irish. For a few years, she would inquire now and then if I would be interested in illustrating a book for her. It was to have cartoon dogs in it. The book was a children's book. I decided to illustrate her book for several reasons. It sounded like a really fun project, and it would allow me to find out how a book went from idea to finished project. It was the opportunity for me to see if it was the right time for me to move forward with my goal of many years. Since then, I've illustrated a second book for Mrs. Hall Brown, it is historical nonfiction about the whaling industry.
FSM: How long have you been working on your book?
DS: I've been working on my book for six years. I've had to fit my personal illustrations in between my art projects and commissions. It has been quite a journey and I've learned so much. This past year, as I approached the completion of my book, I decided to self-publish…for many reasons.
FSM: What are your goals or vision for the book?
DS: Overall, with my book, there are two goals. My first goal is educationally based. As a child, I loved reading books - and still do. I wanted to give the dog fancy a book to promote literacy to children starting at a young age. Secondly, my goal was to promote the love of purebred dogs. Many times over the years people are negative towards my purebred dogs. Why would I have a purebred dog when there are so many rescues out there. My answer is always the same....the dogs' hearts beat the same - purebred or rescue…We love them all. I just happen to fancy the Irish Setter.
FSM: Can you tell us about free The Parent’s Guide? I think it is so cool you are offering this FREE to download for those who buy your book, and what a helpful mate to your book!
DS: The Parent’s Guide is for parents and teachers to utilize this story book as an educational book. The Parent’s Guide is informative, has verbal discussion exercises, a geography lesson, and an art lesson. A glossary accompanies the lesson plan to assist with building vocabularies. The Parent’s Guide is available to all who order the book.”
FSM: Well, congratulations on the not only the publication of the book, but also on it winning the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award! Also, a separate beautiful illustration called “Bling’s Cartoon” of Bling in the snow, was named a finalist in the 2020 Dog Writers Association of America’s annual competition. And you offer this a FREE downloadable print for those visiting your website. How wonderful!
Some Additional Exciting News from Dawn and Bling! “For any teachers or homeschooling groups, we are offering a free zoom session with Bling!” announces Dawn on her YouTube channel. During the Zoom session, Dawn will read from No Ghoulish Green Monsters Here and discuss lessons contained in the story! Check it out below:
So, if you pop over to Bling and Dawn’s social media, or order the book, be sure to let them know you read all about it here at FiveSibes! Happy Reading!