"Brenda Reeves Sturgis utilizes the repetitive 'House That Jack Built' rhyming scheme and expertly creates a tale that transports the reader to a summer day on a lake in Maine. What fun!”
—Chris Van Dusen, author/illustrator of The Circus Ship
"The narrative doesn't adhere strictly to the traditional rhyme scheme, giving it enough originality to keep it fresh and amusing. Carlton's delightful watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations are perfectly matched to Sturgis's playful story. From the smallest of background details to extreme close-ups, the cartoon style and bright colors are sure to catch and hold young readers' attention."
—School Library Journal
"The Lake Where Loon Lives" is a complete adaptation of the old story poem "This Is the House Where Jack Lives." Instead of Jack, the main character is a fearless, sedate Mama loon and her two baby chicks. The rest of the story concerns a fly, a fish, a boy, a lake, a struggle, and a peaceful resolution on a lovely, moonlit lake. Spectacular, original, wacky watercolor paintings fully express all the drama contained in "The Lake Where Loon Lives." Whoever heard of annoying flies that practice a trumpet, or a Mama Loon who wears a flowered hat and has tea from a camp stove, or a pair of loon chicks who water ski? If you can imagine it, the loony pictures of "The Lake Where Loon Lives" will evoke it, hilariously! Exciting vocabulary melds with familiar verse patterns and tell the highly unlikely story filled with splashy adventures of "The Lake Where Loon Lives." The scenery of rural Maine informs and pervades this charming book by two very talented, creative individuals."
—Midwest Book Review
"Filled with a energy that will capture readers’ attention from the get-go, this delightful story celebrates the cacophony of loons, mixing with chattering chicks, snapping fish and buzzing flies . . . An ode to summer and all things outdoor, this picturesque picture book pays tribute to the symphony of nature and all its wonderful sounds."
—The Talking Walnut blog
"The story involves a loon and her chicks and includes flies, fish, and the antics of a young boy. The lilting language is poetic and fun to read to a youngster."
—George Smith, GeorgeSmithMaine.com
For full review, visit here
Carlton’s vibrant watercolors and Sturgis’ rhyming prose brilliantly represent all that is good in a whimsical children’s book –– fun, pictures, words in full sentences and a cute story sure to bring smiles to kids and adults.
––Bill Bushnell, Kennebec Journal
Local author taking children to 'The Lake Where Loon Lives'
By Ellen Todd, Sanford News
SHAPLEIGH — A lake, a loon, and her two chicks on her back — this is the setting for “The Lake Where Loon Lives,” by children’s book author and Shapleigh resident Brenda Reeves Sturgis.
“The Lake Where Loon Lives” takes young readers through Loon and her family’s day as she is pestered by a fly, the fly is snapped at by a fish, and the fish attracts the attention of a curious boy with a fishing pole.
Sturgis’ story builds, line by line, in the manner of “The House That Jack Built” and treats the reader to “fanciful and evocative word play,” according to the book jacket.
Sturgis, who also works full-time as a medical assistant, is a lifelong reader and writer. She said she has always loved writing.
“In high school I filled up book after book with poetry,” she wrote in response to an email question.
But it wasn’t until 2004 when she met author Lynn Plourde at a school visit at her youngest daughter’s school that Sturgis began her “writing journey.” Sturgis said she asked Plourde how to get started in writing children’s books, and Plourde directed her to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
“I had such a passion for it, and was willing to work as long and as hard as I would have to to break into the market. I went to New York, joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and joined a critique group,” Sturgis said in her email.
She said she learned how to write a story, but because she writes in rhyme, it was even more difficult to break into the children’s book business.
In 2007, she said, she wrote “a breakthrough story and was offered representation from a great agent,” and also got into the 2007 Rutgers Council of Children’s Literature conference, “where I was matched one-on-one with an editor.”
The editor liked her story, and “10 Turkeys in the Road” was published in 2011 by Marshall Cavendish and then by Amazon and Scholastic.
Sturgis said it is “beyond difficult” to get a traditional publishing house to look at a story without an agent, and getting an agent is even more difficult when writing for children.
“Writing for children is difficult in traditional publishing because every single word counts,” Sturgis said in an email, “and you have to be able to write something that has not been done before in an authentic voice.”
“The Lake Where Loon Lives” is published by Islandport Press in Yarmouth, which also chose the illustrator for the book. Sturgis said she didn’t meet the illustrator until after the book was completed. She said publishers do that so the writer tells his or her story, and the illustrator may tell a different aspect through pictures.
Brooke Carlton illustrated “The Lake Where Loon Lives” with bright and whimsical watercolor drawings, showing Loon wearing a brightly colored, flowered hat and “gliding” on water-skis.
Sturgis said she wrote full-time until recently, when she went back to school through a Veteran’s Assistance Program and became a medical assistant.
She said she writes whenever she has a chance and that her agent has several of her manuscripts that she is submitting to publishing houses. The newest one, she said, “is about 350 words and is in rhyme. It is a manuscript that I had so much fun writing and would love to see in print someday.”
To learn more about Sturgis, you can visit her website: www.brendareevessturgis.com. “The Lake Where Loon Lives” is available at most books stores, as well as through Islandport Press and Amazon.