Phyllis Crowley, a retired educator from the Cherokee County and Sarasota, Fla., school systems, collaborated with her grandchildren to write “The Mystery of Mooch,” a fictional account of a dolphin known to swim in the Intracostal waters off Nokomis Bay, Fla.
“This project has been an amazing journey with my family, especially my four grandchildren,” Crowley said.
Co-authors Mabry Koeninger, 13, and Magnus Koeninger, 12, are current students at Freedom Middle School in Canton, while twin co-authors Timmy and Danny Crowley, 12, attend middle school in Sarasota.
Crowley spent the last 10 years teaching at Woodstock High School, where she said she set up an entire studio and developed all the courses in line with the curriculum standards.
“What I loved and treasured most of all was the creativity of my students — and of course, the fun in the process,” she said.
She applied the lessons of creativity in writing “The Mystery of Mooch” with her grandchildren, encouraging them to help decide dialogue as well as the plot for the book.
The book’s main character, Mooch, is based on a dolphin known to swim alone and beg for food from passing boats, Crowley said, noting that the theme of the book is “don’t feed the dolphins.”
“The encounters with Mooch begging for food are factual,” she said, adding the story evolved from the created character of Fred, the peg-legged pirate, and his emotional parrot, Stumpy. In the story, the children encounter Fred and Stumpy on the dock, where Fred shares the tale of where Mooch came from and why he begs for food to survive.
Besides being illegal, the real danger in feeding the dolphins is that it changes their behavior and survival skills, Crowley said.
“Thus, the story teaches a lesson,” she said, noting the book is a tale of fun, adventure and mystery.
Fred relates his tale using a few “pirate speak” phrases for good measure, Crowley said.
Publisher Farris Yawn said in sitting down with the author and reviewing the manuscript, he saw something he hadn’t seen before.
“It’s very interesting that the whole family participated in the writing of the book,” Yawn said. “It’s a good story and it’s well written.”
Light refreshments will be served during the book signing and meet and greet.
“I really feel this is worthwhile reading – for kids, for families, for anyone who loves a good story,” Crowley said.
Visit them at www.themysteryofmooch.com or contact them through Yawn’s Publishing. Yawn’s Books and More is at 198 North Street in Canton.