Two naughty dogs who like to escape from home and wander the hills of Waimumu may find fame as characters in a book.
Te Tipua School teacher Bella Aynsley has published her first book Maggie and Otis’s Adventure telling the story of the dogs.
The book was launched at the school on Friday.
About three years ago the dogs, Maggie (6), a Jack Russell Maltese-cross, and Otis (4), a dachshund, started leaving the farm house, sometimes not returning for about a week, Mrs Aynsley said.
The family tried to keep the dogs from wandering but they became good at escaping.
On one occasion a spraying contractor on the farm saw the dogs on the top of the hill which was several kilometres from the house.
At news time on a Monday morning Mrs Aynsley would tell the class about the latest adventures of the dogs.
While it had never been one of her goals to write abook, her sister in-law encouraged her to tell the story.
The idea seemed like a good one to her, Mrs Aynsley said.
‘‘I love reading and I’ve got a passion for literacy.’’
She included the pupils in the planning of the book.
‘‘It was also a good way to show the children at school like if you have a great idea you can actually write a book.’’
The pupils made helpful suggestions including what the title of the book should be.
While it did not take her long to write the book, it took about a year to organise the layout details and get it published.
She was really happy with the end process.
‘‘I love it. ‘‘I think the pictures are gorgeous.’’
She was looking forward to the day when she could read the story to her grandchildren, she said.
She had printed 300 copies of the book and at the launch Mrs Aynsley gave a copy of the book to each family.
Artist Catherine Jane de Klerk, from Kaiwera, drew the illustrations.
Acting principal Diane Walker said Mrs Aynsley was very modest about the book, telling the staff ‘‘it’s just a little story I’ve written myself ’’.
‘‘When I heard it read today it’s obviously been beautifully crafted and she’s put a lot of work into it,’’ Mrs Walker said.
The watercolour illustrations ‘‘added to the story’’.
‘‘They’re so lifelike’’.
It had been a practical learning experience for the pupils being part of the story writing to publishing process, Mrs Walker said.
‘‘It’s really important kids see that process of how a book’s put together.’’
The children could also see that anyone could be a writer.
‘‘We all have experiences, good stories to tell.’’
The teachers in the school were enthusiastic about literacy and helping children achieve.
‘‘We’ve got more than 90% of our children reading at or above [their age level].’’