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Children’s author sees 
stories everywhere
Newest releases include animal tale, Civil War story

By MELISSA RIGNEY BAXTER - 
Sepcial to TimeOut 

November 19, 2008

 

Janet Halfmann


Janet Halfmann never knows where her next idea is going to come from. Writing a children’s book about lizards gave birth to "Little Skink’s Tail," a fictional book for young children published by Sylvan Dell Publishing. The book is illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein.

Recently, the South Milwaukee author led an interactive reading and craft project at The Children’s Play Gallery in Delafield.

With a box of different animal tails, she read the story to preschoolers while they acted out the different animals in the book - rabbit, squirrel, skunk, owl, deer and turtle.

"My story ideas come from everywhere," Halfmann said.

After the reading, Halfmann helped the children make tails of their own in the craft area.

Trying on different types of tails is at the heart of the story. Once Little Skink loses his tail to evade a black crow, he walks through the forest imagining all types of other tails and how they might work for him. In the end, his own tail grows back.

The story certainly held the attention of the small group - with Halfmann’s creatively led interaction along with beautiful illustrations.

Although Halfmann trained to be a teacher, she worked as a reporter in the early stages of her career and then worked in Wisconsin for Reiman Publications and Golden Books, where she was the managing editor for their activity books.

Now, she’s the author of more than 30 books for children of all ages. Her most recent book is for older children. "Seven Miles to Freedom" is the story of Robert Smalls, a slave steamboat wheelman who became a Civil War hero.

"Little Skink’s Tail"

By Janet Halfmann

Sylvan Dell Publishing

hardcover, 32 pages, $15.95

"Seven Miles to Freedom"

By Janet Halfmann

Lee & Low Books

hardcover, 40 pages, $17.95