Author: Auralee Arkinsly
Genre: Children’s Picture Books, Gift Books
Books: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole, Before Long: Let’s Move
Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree episodes. Kids 4-8 learn about opposites, homophones, and similes as two animals roll into fantasy land. @AArkinsly #picturebook #kidlitTweet
Writing with the Seriousness of Humor
Interview by Jenny Fulton
Auralee Arkinsly is an author who writes in good humor about serious subjects “because kids of all ages can learn a lot from laughing.”
Her first book, Before Long: Let’s Move, is a housewarming gift book.
“It’s a funny look at the problem of discontent,” Auralee said. “Just when we think we have everything we’ve ever wanted, we decide there’s something better around the corner, and so we keep moving.”
Auralee’s second book is a child’s early reader picture book in the style of folklore that reads somewhat like Little Red Riding Hood.
“But this story has a Hollywood ending because I hail from America,” she noted. She also pointed out, in wry humor, that the book’s central character is a hedgehog, which is mostly found in other parts of the world.
Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole is Auralee’s first early reader chapter book. It’s full of lush illustrations which she “wooed from a highly gifted 9th grade girl by offering good trade in exchange for the artist’s first published works.” Adding to the efforts was the girl’s graphic artist mother who formatted the book with beautiful headers and footers. The result was a beautifully well-done first for a team of gifted creatives.
“What inspired you to write a children’s book?” I asked. “What do you like about this genre?”
Auralee’s enthusiasm bounced off the page. “I like family friendly, awe-inspiring children’s literature because of how well the words are married with artistic images,” she said. “Each book is lingered over as a piece of art. As I’ve grown older, some of those old stories began to appear to me as more than just a friendly line of storytelling rolling out like a wild hair. Many are allegories of real-life dangers, personal values, and sometimes they are about political forces being imposed upon an author’s life at the time of writing.”
“Why a hedgehog?” I asked. “Do you have any personal experience with them?”
“Well, I have only seen a living hedgehog once that I know of, but it was so darling, that I went home and looked up ‘hedgehogs’ and read about a hedgehog’s special traits. Did you know that a hedgehog rolls up like a pill bug when it is trying to protect itself? In a similar fashion, there are many aspects of a person’s personality or physique which can become natural defenses to harmful things in life, or at least perceived risks and harm.”
As with many artistic endeavors, Auralee began writing Darling Hedgehog with one theme and mind and then saw it develop into something deeper.
“At the beginning, it was just going to be a sweet story of self-discovery in the wide wonderful world,” she shared. “One morning, however, I woke to the thought that this world is not always so wonderful, and that anyone can be taken in and compromised by someone else who does not have our best interest at heart. That person can look very charming and attractive. A person may dress impeccably and offer us wild experiences or fun treats. I know that at times, I’ve been wooed by a person’s personality which hid some wickedness behind the mask.”
The more Auralee lay in bed and considered these easily deceptive tactics of a person whose desire is their own appetite, the more she realized the ending of this story had to change.
“I decided to send little Darling on an adventure where she innocently begins to explore, becomes distracted, is groomed and almost imprisoned in Miss Fox’s pantry, and just before dinner, wakes up and does what any cunning hedgehog would do in a panic.”
What does Darling do? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out…
“What do you hope kids come away with after reading your book?” I asked.
“I hope the story inspires children to be wise and heroic when it comes to rescuing family members from danger. We can all be taken in unaware by unforeseen strangers and circumstances, but thankfully, this storyline is just the beginning. We can help each other out of harm’s way; even a child can be a hero.”
“How did writing this book impact you?” I asked.
“It’s harder to write a children’s story than you would imagine! There are only 32 pages in the official format of a picture book, though some go longer. Being able to craft an empathetic story with only a few words on each page is dependent upon a combination of divine inspiration, acquired skill, good editing, and the teamwork of an intuitive artist. I was exceptionally fortunate to work with such a talented mother-daughter team.”
A writer’s journey from lover of stories to published author is a surreal experience and is something this author never forgets.
“Growing up, I used to sit on the porch and tell stories to kids in the neighborhood,” Auralee mused. “And now, I’m writing them! I’m constantly reminded that I don’t need a lot of words to communicate, just the most effective ones.”
As with many art forms, a good story can be interpreted in a variety of ways depending upon who is reading it. Auralee’s reviews of Darling Hedgehog display a range of interpretations and variety of people who connect to and understand the book from their own perspectives.
“Since I often buy other people’s award-winning books as gifts for friends and family, I found it a really special landmark when Darling Hedgehog collected a ‘RECOMMENDED’ seal from US Review of Book,” Auralee said. “They didn’t have to do that and often, don’t.”
You can read that review here.
If you think hedgehogs are cute and are interested in some unique gifts, check out some of the book’s bling/swag at booksforbondinghearts.com
Or, if you know a realtor or someone who has recently moved, you might consider giving them the housewarming gift of Before Long: Let’s Move.
Book Blurb for Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole
Darling Hedgehog goes on an adventure to look for her parents who dropped out of sight.
Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. Learn about opposites, homophones, and similes as two animals in nature roll into fantasy land. For children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.
Darling and Miss Fox come to life as Darling introduces herself to the strange animal who is Miss Fox. Miss Fox gives her gifts so that Darling is distracted from her mission. The two animals look for things to do together in fantastical attempts to be friendly. When Darling enters Miss Fox’s kitchen, she realizes that by nature, not all strangers are good for you. Will Darling save the day when it’s already dinner time?
Pictures similar to Charlotte’s Web and the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.
This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.
Book Blurb for Before Long: Let’s Move.
A HUMOROUS TWIST ON DAVE RAMSEY’S MONEY PHILOSOPHY
Contentment is a virtue, maybe, but home-buying is sheer romance. Dave Ramsey has said, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
Wouldn’t it be grand if laughing about mistakes could help people make better decisions for homes and other investments? How do you get them to do that?
BEFORE LONG, LET’S MOVE! is just such an opportunity.
You can purchase it in the economically sound-minded paperback version, or the wasteful and shiny hard copy for a house-warming gift.
This story portrays human behaviors, and what goes right while something is going wrong. Reading like Groundhog Day, Wonderland, and Garfield, the story of Ernst and Esme’s succession of house-buying remorse will tickle your funny bone. Initially, the couple rides into the sunset grasping new house keys, but neighborhood adventures come nuanced with shocking side-shows you may remember from personal experience. Follow these home buyers through Plan B, C, D, E, and F! Before long, Ernst and Esme learn some valuable tips for investing in a dream.
Laugh at your own desires to move and the home-buying experiences that ensue. Will there be any relief to your longing? Improve the odds of redirecting your passions for buying the perfect house with this 70-page comical, illustrated person business guide.
Purchase the Books
Connect with Auralee
Although Auralee isn’t on social media much, you can email her at AuraleeArkinsly@gmail.com, occasionally connect with her on Facebook and find out when she publishes a new book by following her author profile here: https://www.amazon.com/Auralee-Arkinsly/e/B07PDTLPQQ/
Beautiful and insightful review. Loved both of your books.
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Really… what’s more darling than a hedgehog??? I love this book, both the story and the delightful illustrations. What a great children’s book! And I enjoyed reading this interview with the author.
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