Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Animal Andy by Kathy Sattem Rygg
Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. There are rumors the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo.
Excerpt from ANIMAL ANDY:
Andy’s knees wobbled and buckled as he stumbled off the carousel’s platform. He thrust forward, collapsing into a heap on the ground. Shaking his head a few times, he flinched when a snort escaped his mouth.
A flash of turquoise caught his eye. He scrambled up as a skinny-necked bird with short legs and a long, plump body strutted over. It stopped a few inches away and let out an ear-splitting squawk. Only a peacock could make that sound.
“What are you doing over here?” the bird asked. “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know this is the kind of thing that gets all of us into trouble?”
Andy froze. He was sure the peacock had just spoken to him.
“Well, don’t just sit there, zebra, we need to get you back to the pen,” the bird snapped.
Andy whipped his head from side to side. Nobody was around, and he didn’t see a zebra.
“Did you just talk?”
"Don't get all high and mighty on me," the peacock said. "It's socially acceptable for a peacock to speak to a zebra."
"Why do you keep calling me a zebra?" Andy narrowed his eyes at the bird.
“Well, I don’t see any other escaped animal standing in front of me,” the peacock said. Andy lowered his gaze and saw four black and white striped legs beneath him. He craned his neck and saw a thin, black tail swishing behind him. Puzzled, he glanced at the carousel and saw an empty brass pole where the zebra had been.
He stumbled backward. "No, no, no,” he said, shaking his head. "How…it can’t be,” he breathed.
“There’s just no way. I…I…I’m a zebra!”
ANIMAL ANDY is available as an ebook from Muse It Up Publishing and the print version is available on Amazon.
View the ANIMAL ANDY book trailer!
Q) What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write a book for 7-10 year olds that transported them to another world, and I chose the world of animals. During a visit to our local zoo, my kids wanted to ride the menagerie carousel there. I decided a carousel would make the perfect device to transport a character into that world. From there I interviewed zoo keepers at the zoo to get behind the scenes information about working at the zoo as well as amazing animal anecdotes that became part of the final story.
But this story is more than just about exploring the world of animals; it’s also about a boy trying to find the right balance of independence, as so many ten-year-olds do, and about kids learning to listen to their instincts—that little voice that tells you when it’s important to act on something.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love the fact that I can’t think about anything else while I’m writing (kind of like trying to walk and chew gum at the same time!) It’s very relaxing, and if I haven’t accomplished anything else that day (like cleaning the house) then at least I was productive in some way! My day never feels complete unless I’ve written at least one page.
Q) What is your favorite candy?
I’m not a fan of milk chocolate so candy bars are out. But I can’t resist a piece of dark chocolate. I also love cherry flavored Jolly Ranchers. To be honest, if I had to choose something sweet, I would prefer a piece of cake over anything else!
Q) What is your favorite cartoon?
Growing up, cartoons were only on TV on Saturday mornings. They started at 7 am with Super Friends and I would watch all morning—Scooby Doo, the Hair Bears, etc. I love that some of the original Scooby Doo episodes are still on and my kids like watching them.
Q) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote short stories as early as kindergarten. They usually involved princesses and witches, and I’d try illustrating them too. I wrote my first book with dialogue when I was 8-years-old. I made the cover out of cardboard and string, and I still have it. I like to say “writing isn’t what I do; it’s who I am.”
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m currently writing a middle grade fantasy series that revolves around the sport of Geocaching—a real life treasure hunt. I love the middle grade market—it’s definitely my comfort zone!
You can follow me online at: www.ksrwriter.com
Facebook: KSR Writer
Goodreads: Kathy Sattem Rygg
Kathy Sattem Rygg is Editor-in-Chief for the children’s publication Knowonder!, and an active member of SCBWI. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked for the McGraw-Hill Companies’ business publications division in New York City. She was also the editor in chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. She currently lives in Omaha, NE, with her husband and two children.