By Carol McCracken
Yesterday afternoon Gail Donovan Kesich was the hostess at a book release party for her new book, “In Memory of Gorfman T. Frog”. At times the 2-hour party could have been mistaken for a child’s birthday party to someone uninformed. There were free goodie bags, prizes of all sorts and of course an opportunity to buy Gail’s just released first novel. The books were sold out within an hour and all the goodie bags were gone just as quickly. By all accounts, the party in a childrens’ library was a huge success.
“Frog” is the story of Josh who is fascinated by what he finds in his own backyard. This time it’s a five legged frog; it has three back legs. He never stops wondering how the frog developed that way. Josh doesn’t stop talking about it until he gets the interest of a scientist, “Dr. Donatelli.” The Dr. is from a nearby university and he agrees to study the frog and how he developed that way. Young Josh is a composite of her own family members; someone who is a chatter-box with an interest in nature and the world around him.
Before the book was published by Dutton, it was child-tested right here on Munjoy Hill. Six years ago Gail began reading it to Mr. Custeau’s third grade class at the former Adams School. She needed a young audience to give her feedback on the book, especially as her two own daughters got older and outgrew interest in the book. About the same time, Gail hired a Maine agent Edite Kroll to represent her with book publishers. Overall, the experience was very satisfying for Gail.
Because she signed a two book deal with Dutton, Gail is hard at work on the second one. It also has a scientific foundation – it’s about a girl who deals with head lice. Following her first satisfying experience, she’s also occasionally reading it to Mr. Custeau’s third grade class. However, since Adams School closed, Mr. Custeau’s class is now located at the East End Community School on North Street. In fact, the childrens’ library at the EECS is where the book release party took place yesterday afternoon.
Keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings from one end of the library at the EECS was Greg Kesich, Gail’s husband. The couple lives on the Hill. He’s also an editorial page writer for the “Portland Press Herald.” “She’s a much better writer than I am. She helps me,” he says laughing. “She’s worked really hard on this for a long time,” he added.
The book is available from Books, Etc. in Falmouth on Route 1. The phone number is 781-3784. Please call first to be sure copies are in stock.