September 23, 2018
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  • Jane Ferguson has published three books about the humorous situations her dogs get into.
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Jane Ferguson has published three books about the humorous situations her dogs get into.

Arnold Artist Creates Children’s Books

Maya Pottiger
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January 11, 2018
Jane Ferguson Authored And Illustrated A Book Series About Her Dogs, Izzie And Maxie
Most known for her note cards and paintings, Arnold artist Jane Ferguson is now focused on a new project: her children’s book series.
The series centers on Ferguson’s two dogs, Izzie and Maxie, and the trouble they get into. The books are largely based on things that happened, Ferguson said, but there is a “little fantasy,” too.
Ferguson said it was her 8-year-old grandson, Harrison, who inspired her to write the book. While Harrison was in a timeout, Ferguson told him a story about her dogs being “naughty” and having to punish them for it.
This story became the series’ first installment, “Izzie Did It.”
“After I finished that story, he said, ‘You have to write it down for me in a book,’” Ferguson said.
He gave her a July deadline, and Ferguson followed through. The first draft was sent as an email, and Ferguson’s oldest son, Andy, then helped her get it bound in print.
“The puppies reminded me so much of when my kids were 2. They would get into all this trouble,” Ferguson said. “You either have to tear your hair out or laugh with them, and I always chose to laugh. These puppies are doing the same thing.”
Unique to the books is their mix of illustrations and actual photographs of the dogs.
“I was putting it together, and I really was going to illustrate the whole thing, and I simply ran out of time,” Ferguson said. “I take a ton of photographs, so I slipped in the photographs.”
Before she started writing, Ferguson researched how to write a children’s book. She learned there is a general formula to follow: 12 pages front and back, a maximum of 1,000 words, and a problem-and-solution storyline.
“That’s not a lot of words,” Ferguson said, “and it’s not a lot of pages to present a problem, ramp it up, and solve it.”
Ferguson said she has a board at home where she pins 24 note cards to map out the stories. Sometimes she’ll start with the last note card and work her way back or switch the note cards around until they tell the right story.
This isn’t Ferguson’s first experience with writing for youth. One of her first jobs was as a columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal, where she wrote about teen activities.
Now, Ferguson is a professional artist. She has been teaching for 12 years out of the Seven Rivers Studio in her house, but is on a yearlong “sabbatical” to write her books.
Ferguson said she has three more books in the works. They will feature Maxie and Izzie traveling through Annapolis, going to the beach and a “more serious” book about the meaning of Christmas.
Ferguson said she hopes children learn from her books to see the value in how unique they are.
“I hope that they learn that they are so special all by themselves. Their differences make them special,” Ferguson said. “You should never try to change those differences. I don’t understand why that theme isn’t pushed more. Everybody wants to be like everybody else. Just be yourself because that’s what people love about each of us.”
The books are available on Amazon for $7.50. They can be purchased in a gift pack from Side Street Framers and the Historic Annapolis museum gift shop. The gift pack includes a copy of the book, and a framable, matted picture of Maxie and Izzie with a positive message for children.


Posted 12/31/1969 07:00 PM

My grandkids love reading about Izzie and Maxie. They never get tired of hearing about the two of them get into trouble. Whenever it happens, they giggle and immediately say "Oh no!" Just like in the books.

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