Featured Author of the Month

waylon

MARK D. PENDERGRASS

There are certain authors that tend to grasp their readers and at the same time give them knowledge, Mark D. Pendergrass did just that for me when I picked up a copy of The Green Man. He and his wife came together recently to create stories that young children can learn rewarding principals from at an early age. My hope is to help this couple get their children’s books into the hands of many children. I also would like to promote one of Mark’s books that deeply touched my heart and one I feel every pastor should read. The Miracle of Leon Mackilroy, is such a gripping tale and one that can be read in a day. It captures the readers heart. A tale set in the days of the turn-of-the-century Alaskan gold rush brings nuggets of gold to any heart willing to hear!

While interviewing Mr. Pendergrass I learned his favorite children’s author has always been C. S. Lewis. He said, “although I was not exposed to his work until High School; first with The Screwtape Letters; and then The Chronicles of Narnia. Of course, it is difficult to categorize the Narnia series as strictly children’s literature. In fact, there is much evidence to argue that it is not. However, as I like to think of myself as a child, at heart, I guess it’s irrelevant either way. His words appeal to the child in me, as well as the adult. Shortly after discovering Lewis, I read J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, followed by The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I consider them similar in texture, but for me, Lewis’ series is closer to the heartbeat and imagination of a child than is Tolkien’s, and in my humble opinion, Lewis has a better grasp on interweaving poignant moments that affect the soul and character of the reader. This is very important to me, and has greatly influenced everything I write. Just for the adults, if you can get your hands on a copy of Lewis’ short novel Till We Have Faces, and read it through, you will be a better person for having done so.”

Here’s what the author had to say about Waylon & Stogie!

Concerning the Waylon & Stogie children’s book series: My wife and I have a dog. He is a tiny Chihuahua named Waylon, and he’s as cute and friendly as any dog could possibly be. There was a time when my wife, Rhandi, was raising dogs. Her love for both miniature Chihuahuas and small French Bulldogs lead her to develop a miniature version of offspring she named the Mexican Frenchie. One of those offspring, we named Stogie. And the rest, as they say, is history. Ha. Well, not exactly. But for a few years Rhandi thought that it would be awesome to write a children’s story featuring Waylon and Stogie. And finally, she convinced me to do just that. Being a graphic artist, and having illustrated many children’s books over the years, I designed a cartoon version of our two heroes—faithful likenesses, if you ask me—and went to the task, with a considerable amount of Rhandi’s input, of writing a story. We wanted it to be fun, educational, visually exciting, and something that would afford a valuable message to children. Out of that desire was birthed The Scavenger Hunt; so innocent on the surface, yet rich in import. Waylon & Stogie in The Scavenger Hunt is a lesson in the joy of giving, revealing in an unassuming way that there are those less fortunate than us in the world. Though the concept that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” is right out of scripture, it is devised for a general audience, and could as easily fit into a secular school library as a church curriculum. It is my view that there is no time too early to open a colorful picture book before the eyes of a wondering child, and allow their ears to hear the words of narrative that accompany them. That being said, this book is most appropriate from birth to approximately 9 years of age. However, with adults so infatuated with the cartoons, books, records, toys, and memorabilia of their childhood, love for such literature can last a lifetime. The second book in this series is titled The Slippery Slope, and features Stogie, who, through a series of bad choices, finds himself in a precarious situation. Set in a winter wonderland of snow and ice, the subtle lessons of keeping promises, helping others, and the potentially disastrous results of a stubborn will are all contained in this magically suspenseful story. ”

As for the Waylon & Stogie series, I would love for every home in the world to have a copy, and if I had the resources to make that happen, believe me, it would. Not because it is the end-all of children’s books, but because all any of us can do are the little things God has given us to do. In this case, Rhandi and I are doing the little things. Give us more resources, and we’ll do bigger and better things. The sky is the limit: Cartoons, greeting cards, toys, musicals, you name it. Am I dreaming? Of course. Because, when I’m awake, I cannot see nearly as clear.”

Thanks Mark and Rhandi for sharing your books and vision. I pray God blesses the work of your hands mightily!

Tekoa Manning

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