Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals by Charles Ghigna

by Dianne White on September 25, 2016

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In just a few days, children’s author and poet, Charles Ghigna (who also goes by the name, Father Goose) welcomes his newest book – a collection of some of the world’s interesting creatures and animal oddities. Things like the blob fish, the mata mata, and the red-eyed crocodile skink. These STRANGE, UNUSUAL, GROSS & COOL ANIMALS will entice your favorite young reader to pour over and explore many of the weird and wonderful animals on our planet.

Kids will recognize some of the creatures: the (fat-tailed) scorpion or the (two-toed) sloth. Other animals, such as the Bobbit worm or Puss caterpillar will be unfamiliar. The short facts and photos on the page will pique your child’s interest, and then send them off to deepen their new-found knowledge with additional research of their own.

We hope you’ll enjoy this short interview with Charles about the making of STRANGE, UNUSUAL, GROSS & COOL ANIMALS:

Dianne: With so many fascinating creatures to choose from, how did you ever decide which ones to include? Can you share a favorite animal that didn’t make the cut?

Charles: The editors at Time Inc are a great team! They turned me loose to pick and choose many of the amazing creatures in this book. I welcomed their suggestions as well. Together we mulled over our broadening lists of animals, keeping in mind those we thought kids would most like to discover and explore. I really didn’t have any “favorite animal that didn’t make the cut.” ALL of the animals that made the final cut were my favorites!  😉

Dianne: Talk a little about the research for this book. It’s a broad topic, and you could have gone in many directions, but you settled on organizing the information into four different types of pages – Gallery, Featured Creature, Creature Collection, and Macroview. How did you decide what to include in each section – for example, what topics to cover in the galleries and which creatures to feature?

Charles: Great question! We started out with a general outline of charles-ghignacategories, then allowed the process todevelop and unfold in more of an organic way, letting the animals we chose tell us who were the “stars” and where they would fall into the four categories of Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool. We also knew we wanted to include maps and fun facts along with animals from the various groups of Fish, Mammals, Reptiles, Birds, Amphibians, Arthropods & Invertebrates. I also wanted to introduce each of the four sections with a light verse four-line quatrain, as well as inject bits of wit throughout with humorous quotes to catch the kids’ attention as they thumb through the book.

Dianne: Kids are often asked to research animals as part of a school project or report. What are your top three research tips for kids?

Charles:  As in entering any other creative process, scientific or otherwise, young researchers might want to begin with what animal fascinates them the most. Let that research take you to the next step, and the next, step by step until you have explored as much as you can about the animal. Don’t worry about order or outlines. Simply list as many fascinating facts as you can find. Then begin listing them into groups of information, such as where they live, what they eat, how they breed, who are their prey, and who are their predators! 

Dianne: How long did the research/writing of STRANGE…COOL take?

Charles: It was an amazingly fast delivery for such a hefty book. The research and writing of STRANGE, UNUSUAL, GROSS & COOL ANIMALS took nine months, the perfect amount of time to birth a beautiful “baby!”

Dianne: What’s next?

Charles: Lots of good inspiration swirling round up here in the treehouse* the past couple of years resulting in  several new books scheduled for release 2017 and 2018. The first books released this coming spring 2017are a six-book series for toddlers titled Father Goose: Animal Rhymes. Each book in the series comes with an accompanying CD song. The topics include Farm Animals, Zoo Animals, Pets, Wild Animals, Sea Life, and Bugs & Insects. 

*Charles’ office in the attic of his Alabama home, where he’s been writing poems and children’s books for 40 years!

Dianne: We’ll be anxiously awaiting these next books, Charles. Thanks for stopping by ReaderKidZ!

Charles Ghigna September 27, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Thanks, Dianne! I appreciate all your good work on this post. You certainly know how to make your fellow authors sound good!

Dianne White September 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Thanks for joining us on ReaderKidZ, Charles. Congrats on your wonderful book!

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