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Ozzy Ox: Toy Trauma To the Point!

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Reviewers say it is direct and to-the-point, but is that the point of a rhyming children's picturebook? This is one of the most direct and to-the-point tales I have read in a long while.”


These are the words of Rosie Malezer of Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, who gave Ozzy Ox: Toy Trauma a FIVE-STAR review! Her words are music to my ears. Writing children’s books — especially rhyming children’s books — isn’t as easy as it might seem. The children’s picturebook genre comes with expectations. In 300 to 1,000 words and 32 pages, you must deliver a storyline that has a distinct “arc” or rising action, peak action and falling action. Because your 32 pages must make room for a title, dedication, copyright and end pages, you actually have only 12-14 double-page spreads to achieve your mission. I try to keep my manuscripts to around 500 to 600 words because research says that is most effective—and allows room for the illustrations to do their part. In Toy Trauma, Illustrator Emily Hagen saw to it that the illustrations definitely did their part and our reviewer agreed: Emily Hagen's illustrations brought Ozzy Ox: Toy Trauma to life beautifully and ensured that each and every reader would become immediately engaged with the characters. I couldn't have been more delighted with those illustrations! Check out Nurse Nate as he dances with MomOx, DocOx and his patient--they make you want to get up and dance with them! That the illustrations did their part to move the story along--but what about the rhyming manuscript itself? The book industry doesn’t encourage debut authors like me to publish rhyming books. Why? Because poetry has a tendency to lengthen a story arc -- to go in search of rhyme that ultimately drags out the story. When you only have 500 to 600 words and 24 pages to achieve the arc of a story, each word matters. Each must lend to the story—and not to the rhyme itself. Do you see why Rosie Malezer’s review of Ozzy Ox: Toy Trauma means so much to me? Here’s what else she said: “Quite often people tend to over-explain things, but Callen Kropp has kept the story and the message simple, making it very easy for all readers to learn and understand how to avoid such accidents - keep the room tidy." Thank you, Rosie Malezer for more of your encouraging words: "I liked that the sequence of events from the noise caused at the beginning to the cleaning-up message at the end gave this tale a very realistic feel. Ozzy Ox: Toy Trauma is a children's book that should be kept in every home library for young readers so that they learn how messiness, no matter where you are, is an accident waiting to happen. I look forward to reading more of Ozzy Ox's stories in the future.” Love it! But don’t take Ms. Malezer’s words for it—you can order Ozzy Ox Toy Trauma on Amazon, Walmart or Barnes and Noble—and then review it yourself! Or shop for it at Story Nook or Dakota Store in Jamestown, or Ferguson’s Books in West Fargo and Bismarck.


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