When Kristie the hamster accidentally went through a laundry cycle and somehow lived, Geri McNeely Schultz figured she might as well turn to fiction to tell the family pet's real-life tale.
The first-time author from Palatine wrote "Laundry Day," the first book in her new children's series Kristie's Excellent Adventures. It chronicles the curious hamster using rhyming text and Vince Bertolami's colorful illustrations.
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While McNeely Schultz had never thought of herself as a children's book author, she did have experience writing poetry. So she put her pen to some paper.
"I was encouraged to write 'Laundry Day' by family and friends who heard the story of Kristie's actual laundry day experience," she said.
In one excerpt, next to a picture showing the hamster covered in suds, McNeely Schultz writes, "Kristie thought, this is just the most fun ride of all! Soon she was spinning faster and was plastered on the wall."
Turns out, McNeely Schultz has plenty more stories about the escapades of her sons' many pets. Their collection also includes a 5-foot African snake named Sweetie, which has yet to turn up after escaping five years ago.
"Laundry Day," has been getting positive reviews from readers on amazon.com. In 2013, a Spanish version of the book will be released, followed by the next two books in the series, "A Visit to the Fridge" and "Deep Sea Adventure."
That should please plenty of kids, who McNeely Schultz said have been asking when her next books will be available.