I decided to name the main character Olivia Ocelot, and she lives in the Rainforest in Costa Rica. Olivia Ocelot is the one all her neighbors come to for help with their problems. There is a wide cast of characters in her neighborhood, including Sylvia the Three Toed Sloth, Ignatious and Isobella Iguana, Penelope the Oropendola bird, Bob Boa Constrictor, Horatio Horned Owl, Blossom Possum, and Howie, the Howler Monkey. There is also a large colony of Poison Dart Frogs all over the place as well as many orchids, a flurry of beautiful birds, and a whole jungle full of plants. In short, this book combines all of my favorite subjects.
As soon as I came up with the theme for this book, it began to play out and write itself. I wrote a novel several years ago in the espionage genre, and that book also got a life of its own after I got it started. Now everything I see gets considered for the book. Last week we saw an incredibly bright full moon one night, and I realized that would be the perfect backdrop for Sylvia for her meeting with Blossom Possum and her baby, Squeaky, since they are nocturnal animals.
The underlying theme of this book is how different animals raise their young, and I have been learning so much. The research for the book is awesome withthe Internet available. Even regular books are useful though. There was a table full of free books at our church last week, and there on the pile was a book on Poison Dart Frogs from Costa Rica. Synchronicity is at full tilt with this book.
One of Olivia Ocelot's Friends
OLIVIA OCELOT COMES TO THE RESCUE:
ADVENTURES IN THE RAINFOREST
My first children's book available now on my
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Creating children's books should have been a "No-Brainer" for me! First of all, I never grew up. Plus I love children and the ways they think. I love to paint things from nature, including animals, plants, trees, and flowers, and I love bright colors and dynamic designs. It all adds up, and in October 2014, I was invited to a Children's Book Illustrator Meet-Up. The coordinator of the Meet-Up asked each person to bring an illustration suitable for a children's book, and I immediately thought of a painting I had done of a young ocelot. I went to the meet-up, and the moderator, Solomen told me he thought it was a great illustration. That was all I needed to get my attention, and I was very inspired to try it.
My good friend, Carole Kersten had been at the Meet-up with me, and she shared information about an upcoming Children's Book Illustrator's Conference in Findlay, Ohio. I decided to go, and I asked my husband, Bill to go with me. Carole and her husband, Bob met us down in Ohio, and we had a great time. One of the guest Illustrators, Ashley Bryan is 91 years old, so there went my excuse that I might be too old to start a new career.
Eight months later in July 2015, I launched "Olivia Ocelot Comes to the Rescue: Adventures in the Rainforest", a 32 page paper cover book set in Costa Rica, and the following week I started the art work for "Olivia Ocelot Saves the Day: Adventures in the Saguaro Desert", which is set in the desert in Southern Arizona. Another fun filled journey. I am 3/4 of the way done with it, and recently my daughter-in-law, Janna suggested I write it as a blog. So cool!!! You can follow along as it grows, at https://oliviaocelotchhildensbooks.com .
Now, the third book in the Olivia Ocelot Series is starting to bubble up in my mind. The 3rd book will be set in Michigan. I am very excited. Please stay tuned! My goals with these books is to educate and entertain the reader, and also to empower them by giving them Olivia Ocelot as a role model. Olivia Ocelot is not only clever and beautiful, but she is also caring and brave.
Anne Jantz Designs
HONEY AND HOWIE HOWLER MONKEY
Two of Olivia Ocelot's Friends
Olivia Ocelot by Moonlight
Sylvia Sloth and her baby, Sly Sloth