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I grew up thinking I wouldn’t want to be an Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. The latter, because who wants to look at wayward teeth put into a glass of water or under a pillow? Sure, the Tooth Fairy gets away spending meager quarters (my childhood) or dollars (our kids’ take) and doesn’t have to play in the same league as Santa Claus, but think about her job. The poor thing has to serve children who have just been terrorized by parents threatening to tie their loose teeth to door knobs. Worse yet, nobody agrees on what The Tooth Fairy even looks like! In our country, she may look like a beautiful being with delicate wings. But in Europe and Latin America, she is a small, sneaky MOUSE! EEEEEK! As far as Santa Claus, well, yeah. Sure he’s overweight and is only notable one night per year. Yes, he has to squeeze down chimneys and not tear his skin tight red furry pants. But think of the joy associated with a mere mention of his name. The history of Santa dates back to 325 in Turkey, when a nice man saved three girls from poverty and a life of prostitution. This man was known for acts of kindness and became the patron saint of children—St. Nicholas. Who doesn’t love the generosity and kindness of such a gent? I don’t have a clue why the Easter Bunny evolved. People like me have had to swallow our reservations about him—a rabbit hopping around on our kitchen counters looking to lay eggs in a basket? EEEK! But, let’s face it: the fact that he’s been a thing since the 1700s, when German immigrants brought the tradition of an egg-laying hare to Pennsylvania, is actually amazing. Obviously, most people don’t think too hard about why he lays eggs—after all, he’s a male mammal, so what are the chances?

Despite the absurdity of it—and despite my childhood reservations about him—the Easter Bunny is STILL delivering. Much to their delight, kids are still thrilled to see their Easter Baskets filled with not only eggs, but candy and all kinds of treasures—toys, money, clothes, books.

So here’s an idea for YOUR Easter Bunny: Ask him to order Ozzy Ox books for all his Easter deliveries! Available online at Amazon, Walmart or Barnes and Noble, Ozzy Ox books will deliver long after the fake grass is coaxed from beneath your sofa. The perfect gift for kids 2-8, Ozzy Ox books, available in both hard cover and paperback, deliver entertaining stories that pack good life lessons. Your kids will love the vibrant illustrations —and you’ll replace the thought of those rabbit tracks on your counters with memorable snuggles. Happy Easter!

It's a New Year, but here's a statistic that hasn't changed: Some 95 percent of our brain activity is unconscious. So next time you wake up with something weighing on your mind, realize that your brain has already been working tirelessly on it for a long time! Mine apparently has been thinking of the welfare of the world -- thoughts that go beyond Ozzy's Land of Ox. I've put those awakening thoughts to verse and wonder, is it just my subconscious that thinks of this stuff, or do you have similar concerns?

This Saturday, Dec. 9 at 10:30 AM, Illustrator Emily Hagen and I will be signing books at The Story Nook (next to Babb’s Coffee) in Jamestown. We’ll be reading the last of the four Ozzy Ox books I have written so far—Ozzy Ox Stands Against Socks. Our competition is going to be powerful: Santa himself!

I just love Illustrator Emily’s reaction when I asked her whether she thought we should commit to book signing at the same time as Santa will be in the house. She said, “Oh, that’ll be the best time! Who’s not happy where Santa is concerned?” That’s the spirit, Emily. You can tell she’s an upbeat creative who will shine in the frenzy! As far as the question: “Who isn’t happy where Santa is concerned?” I think we all have memories of someone being PARALYZED with fear with Santa in the house. Here’s our grandkids (now almost all teens) shining right up to Jolly Old Saint Nick.

Do you have a similar picture or memories like these? I just want to cry thinking of them! But I think they go with the territory. Which is why there is hope for me this Saturday. Alongside a portly, bearded, white-haired chap who wants you to share his lap, I just might seem a little tiny bit less annoying to a child.

I’m not counting on it though—so I’m bringing Ozzy Ox bookmarks and coloring pages to hand out. Emily is bringing her beautiful illustrations to show. Hopefully they won't have to become a refuge from the terror of Santa. But they sure won't hurt!

Hope to see you Saturday--and if you are in Mandan this Thursday, Dec. 7, check us out at 4:30 PM at Mandan Public Library. Reading Ozzy Ox, and trying not to scare the children!

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