Mother and daughter release children's book ‘Trouble in Treeville'

Item photo by Shea Singley Lorrie Santillie Wolfinger and Shirley Santilli with "Trouble in Treeville" at the St. Mary Christmas Bazaar.

The children’s book “Trouble in Treeville” made its official debut at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church’s Christmas Bazaar in Hamburg on Nov. 23. Shirley Santilli, of Shoemakersville, wrote the children’s book and her daughter Lorrie Santilli Wolfinger illustrated the book.

“It’s a wonderful little story,” said Wolfinger. “It is really special seeing it in print.”

The description from the press release begins, “Somewhere in the peaceful town of Treeville, among the pines and maples and the apple trees and oaks, someone is stirring up trouble. Mrs. Hummingbird returns home from lunch to find that someone has been in her nest! The sparrows from the East Side were too busy to notice, and Mrs. Wren has only seen a mouse. When Mrs. Woodpecker from Apple Valley suspects the culprit, the Police begin to question the neighbors.”

Santilli wrote the mystery children’s book in 1967. She volunteered in the school library and would read the story and others to the elementary students. It was in 2011 that she decided to pursue publication with the book.

“It’s something we wanted to do for a while,” said Wolfinger on getting the book published and her role as illustrator.

When it came to putting a picture to her mother’s words, Wolfinger explained that she sat down with her mother and talked about the story and what Santilli wanted when it came to the illustrations. Wolfinger then researched the different birds to make her drawings as accurate as possible with coloring and other details. She said that they tried to make it a point to have the accuracy for the children to learn from the story as well as enjoy it.

“The most exciting part was walking down to her house and showing her the finished products,” said Wolfinger.

Santilli was born in Mohrsville and currently resides in Shoemakersville where she has for the last 58 years with her husband John. Wolfinger also resides in Shoemakersville with her husband in a house next to her parents’ home where she grew up. Family plays a big role in the creation of the book and many of those who know the family will see familiar landmarks in the illustrations throughout the book. According the press release, Santilli’s stories have been inspired by her family.

Illustrating her mother’s book is one of Wolfinger’s proudest accomplishments and dream come true, according to the press release.

The family did not stop with publishing the story and illustrations, but also created a teacher’s companion guide for the book that is tied to the common course standards so the book can be used in lesson plans. Santilli’s granddaughter and Wolfinger’s daughter is a teacher as well as other family members, bringing three generations tied to this book with the teacher’s guide. It was not difficult to add the fourth generation into this by having the great-grandchildren/grandchildren/children be the demonstrations in the teacher’s companion. The teacher’s companion is fit for preschool to fourth grade and includes activities with math and writing as well as artistic activities.

All of the generations were at the debut during the Christmas bazaar where the book was available in paperback and hardcover and attendees could also look at the teacher’s companion. Also available were note cards of some of the illustrations done by Wolfinger. The pair even had requests to autograph the books.

For more information on “Trouble in Treeville” or to get a copy visit www.aperturepress.net or email troubleintreeville@gmail.com.

About the Author

Shea Singley

Shea Singley is the editor of The Hamburg Area Item. She grew up in Berks County and spent three years at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where she double majored in Creative Writing and English before transferring to Kutztown University where she majored in Professional Writing. Shea graduated from Kutztown University in 2012 and during that time completed an internship in the publication department of a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. She joined Berks-Mont Newspapers in March of 2013 and had enjoyed getting the chance to explore the Hamburg area and meet the readers. Reach the author at ssingley@berksmontnews.com or follow Shea on Twitter: @hamburgitem.

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