Marsha Rump of Tiffin and Kevin Burlew of Upper Sandusky have teamed as writer and illustrator, respectively, to publish a new children's book, "A Cow Who Wouldn't Moo." The soft-cover book with brightly-colored pages and large print was published by The Wooster Book Co. and released in September 2011. It is dedicated to Rump's grandchildren.
"It's something I've always wanted to do, to write a picture book. ... I thought, 'I'm getting old, so I'm just going to do it,'" Rump said.
A 1972 graduate of Indiana State University, Rump earned a master's degree from the University of Findlay in 2000. She is an early intervention specialist for special needs children birth to age 3 for the Wyandot County Board of Developmental Disabilities at Angeline School in Upper Sandusky. Her clients may be afflicted with cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, a brain injury or other disorders that impede their physical and intellectual development.
"It's really hard to find books for that age that keep their attention. I've also always been very interested in working with children with autism, and I started training to be a Play Project consultant," she said. "Children with autism have such a hard time with humor. They don't understand humor like we do. ... They take everything so literally."
Rump said she has been "in and out" of Angeline over the past 15 years. Her first position was intake and referral for early intervention through the Department of Health. Later, she was a project director for the Help Me Grow program in Wyandot County.
Six years ago, she returned to Angeline when a teaching position opened there. Rump said she also instructs families how to help the children improve their skills through daily activities that are fun to do.
"Even if a child comes to therapy once a week, a 2-year-old is not going to say 'This is what we did today,'" Rump said. "Also just helping families get connected to services. We still work very closely with Help Me Grow. Help Me Grow does all of our intakes, so they refer the children on to us for services. If you don't have the family involved, you just don't make the progress."
The book is suitable for any young child, but Burlew's silly illustrations and Rump's rhyming phrases are intended to keep an autistic child's attention. The cow is a familiar animal for most children.
"I liked the idea of the cow and rhyming. At this age, rhyming makes sense to kids, so (moo) was an easy word to rhyme with, I guess, and it's an easy sound to say," Rump said.
Finding a publisher took more time than the author had anticipated. Many self-publishing companies are available, but they do not always offer all the features the author may want.
A friend in Wyandot County had worked with The Wooster Book Co. and suggested Rump take her proposal to them.
"It was kind of nice to have it published from Ohio, too. That's how we ended up with Wooster Book Co.," Rump said.
She has planned a book signing Jan. 14 in Beca House Coffee Co. in Upper Sandusky, and a reading of the book during a story hour in February at Tiffin-Seneca Public Library. The date and time are to be announced.
The book can be purchased directly from Rump by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling (419) 449-7729, or online at amazon.com.