There was a time in my life when I was jealous that my friends were publishing books. I’ve always wanted to do that; I’ve written three to completion and started several more. They’re just not very good (I’m not being self-deprecating here; they’re really not very good) and I don’t feel like I have the time or the drive or the subject matter to go hard at it.
But this is not about me. I never thought I’d type these words, but this is about Scotty McCall and Ted the Friendly Frog.
When Scotty’s son Christopher was 6 years old and having trouble reading, his dad came up with some rhymes to help him “use his words.”
“I then made a Shutterfly book of 19 rhyming stories that we did,” McCall said. “He said he would like to read it to his class. He read it to a couple of classes at his school. I was told he had everyone clapping for him. I thought he really benefited from this.”
After that experience, McCall decided he should write “something for us.”
“I said to myself that if I was going to write it then it would have to be really good,” he said. “I first thought of what animals would be cool or neat to write about. I kept going back to a frog. But I didn’t want a regular frog; I wanted a talking frog. From there I thought of what does my son like to watch on TV. I noticed the cartoons that he likes and thought the rhyming style might have helped him in his reading. So I decided to stick with that. So I started writing. Next thing I had a story.”
After showing it to co-workers and a publishing company, McCall determined he might have a book on his hands.
It’s now a nine-book series, although not all have been released. After McCall wrote “Ted the Friendly Frog and the Tale of the Diamond,” he figured his son Christopher would enjoy a series more than just one book.
“I thought if I am doing this for me and my son it has to be good or even better than good,” he said.
I have to say on a personal note, this really touches my heart. I know how hard it is to write a book, and children’s books are not necessarily easier to write than grown folks’ books. You have to capture the interest of an audience that is more accustomed to watching TV or playing video games. You have to find an illustrator who captures the vision you see in your mind and can tell the story through pictures. You have to show up at libraries and events to do readings with germy children (I mean blessed children of the Lord).
You have to make an investment, and even if a publisher and your family and friends believe in you, there are going to be people who doubt you or “throw shade” your way because you did something cool and they’re jealous. I think it is absolutely amazing that Scotty McCall suited up and showed up and did the thing that many of us wish that one day we could do.
More than 200 copies of the first installment in the series have been sold since the release in October. On National Authors Day, the book was featured on the Jumbotron at Times Square in New York City.
But more importantly, Scotty McCall’s son Christopher thinks his dad is famous and is proud of his father’s accomplishment.
“My life is about being a good father,” McCall told me. “Inside me I have a strong desire to do good for him in any way I can. I only started writing because I saw my son needed help in an area of his life. I am proud to say he is a very confident kid and a really good person.”
I think we could say the same for you, Mr. McCall.
“Ted the Friendly Frog” is sold at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, at the Crockett Eye Clinic, TaTa’s Tex-Mex Restaurant in Crockett, Treehouse Day Care in Crockett and at tedthefriendlyfrog.com.
One of the manuscripts Scotty shared had a special line in it that stuck with me: “Loving each other is what matters most in the end.”