A son's gift becomes authors first book

KEENE VALLEY - All Betsey Thomas-Train really wanted to do was make a special gift for her son.

Now, that gift is her first published children's book.

"The Rock Singer," which was written and illustrated by Thomas-Train, recently became available through Shaggy Dog Press of Westport.

"I am very, very happy with how everything has come out," Thomas-Train said about the publication. "It is amazing how this has gone from having the look of a homemade gift for a son to a polished, public form that it is in now. So far, everyone that has seen it loves it."

Thomas-Train said the idea to have the project published came from just that, people who had seen what she had made for her son.

"This started out originally as just a gift for my son," Thomas-Train sad. "I have always been interested in children's books because I find them as a great source of wisdom and tenderness, and that is why I wanted to create one for him. Then people saw it and said that I should try and get it published, so I did."

Thomas-Train has had plenty of experience in the world of children's literature, working as an educator and in her private psychotherapy practice.

"I have used children's literature in my counseling and in my teaching," she said. "When I ask clients their memories of children's books, they're often overcome by reverie and gauge how influential these stories were in their development."

For the illustrations, Thomas-Train used her talents in creating unique collages to provide the images on the pages.

"That was the challenging part," she said. "I'm not an illustrator, but I was able to create some interesting collages that became part of the book. "I love collage because it requires you to represent things simply, to zoom in on essences. And I also love color and texture."

Plans for public readings and distribution of the book are in the works, but Thomas-Train said they will all happen after the holiday season.

Thomas-Strain said her book is about the connection that a young boy growing up in the Adirondacks develops with the rocks that are found throughout his life.

The Rock Singer is currently available for $8 through Shaggy Dog Press, P.O. Box 318, Westport, N.Y. 12993.

Copies are also available through the author at P.O. Box 41, Keene Valley, N.Y. 12943.

More information on "The Rock Singer" can be found at the Web site www.shaggydogpress.org.

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