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New Outskirts Author’s Children’s Book a Real Quack-Up

Precocious best friends Alex and Luke try to keep a wild duck as a pet and get much more than they bargained for in “Sam’s Surprise,” the new book from Outskirts Press children’s author Ryke Leigh Douglas.

Pittsburgh, PA, January 30, 2008 --( The latest book from children’s author Ryke Leigh Douglas shows what happens when two boys try to keep a non-domesticated animal as a pet and end up hatching a whole lot of mayhem—in addition to one very messy goose.

Just launched by Outskirts Press, the full-color “Sam’s Surprise,” beautifully illustrated by renowned children’s book artist Kevin Collier, is now available through the author’s Web site at’sSurprise. The book introduces readers to best friends Alex and Luke, who one day stumble upon what they think is an abandoned duck egg. But for Alex, the discovery means one thing: A new pet, assuming he can hatch it. His mom thinks he’s gone quackers, but Alex proves her wrong when his feathered friend pokes out of the shell.

Soon enough, the new arrival is wreaking havoc in Alex's room, around the house, even in the backyard. Overturned plants, broken furniture and incessant honking make it clear this isn't your ordinary house pet. As the bird grows, Alex and Luke wrestle with what to do with their charge, who's too unruly to live at home, but not quite wild enough to exist on its own. Can they find a way to help the goose learn to fly and join a flock—all before school starts in August?

With a silly goose at its center and a theme of responsibility, “Sam’s Surprise” is sure to appeal to parents, teachers and children alike. What’s more, adults can use the book to generate discussion about animals, their care and the work that go along with owning a pet—one of the most important formative experiences a child can have. But kids will most likely get lost in the boys’ travails and detailed, brightly colored world of two boys and their friendly honker.

ISBN: 978-1-4327-0850-4
Format: 8.5 x 11 Color Paperback Pages: 28 SRP: $12.95 Genre: Animals - Pets

About the Author: Retired elementary teacher Ryke Leigh Douglas received a master’s degree as a reading specialist from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. Years of work inside the classroom inspired her to write for children, with a goal of introducing them to the joy of reading and nurturing positive attitudes and character traits. “Sam’s Surprise” is the second in a series of children’s books.

Author Contact: Visit her on the Web at'sSurprise


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