“Once Upon a Time” Children’s Books Blog

I so enjoy watching children read my books.   Once there was this little girl, with dark brown, very straight hair, wearing a dress mostly hidden by a deep red wool coat (it was a blustery day).  The little girl came up to me, or rather was towed towards me, by her mother, who clearly at that point was in more of a shopping mood than her daughter.  My guess is that the little girl was tired of shopping, as she looked quite grumpy.  I recall thinking, “Poor little thundercloud!”   As her mother spoke with me, something about the “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” book caught the little girl’s eye, and she began to read the “Inca Dink” book.  Soon the little girl was crouched, as only agile young children can be, with her feet, in her neat black shoes, firmly flat on the floor, and with her knees completely, tightly bent.   I remember her red coat’s edges touched the floor, and she looked a bit like a fairy blossom sprouting out of a busy marketplace floor.  She was entirely oblivious to the people walking around her.  Sometimes her mother would call to her to come closer, but the little girl either didn’t hear her mother or was ignoring her.  More people began to notice the little girl, and she created quite an interest in my books!  When the little girl finally looked up from the book, she was smiling, all the thunderclouds gone.  That was such a treat for me, I shall never forget it!   Another fun memory was a little boy who ran away with my phone so he could finish hearing the “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” app that is narrated by the incredible British BBC personality Dominic Byrne.  He gave his mother quite a chase!

I think that’s why I say that everything about children’s books is FUN.  It is fun to come up with the characters and plots, so free of the restrictions of reality or gravity.  It is fun to illustrate the books, with playful colors and lively illustrations.  It is also fun to play with the words and rhymes that bring the story lines to life.  -and, as I’ve written above, it is endless fun to watch the children discover the books I’ve written, to look at me with bright eyes and happy smiles.  I remember how much I loved reading books with my Mother, and to imagine that my books may be a part of those special memories of other children is especially rewarding, gives me such a warm fuzzy feeling!

Photo of the Real-Life Leonberger Dog Inca

“Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”™ is my most popular children’s book.   I illustrated and wrote the sing-song Seussian-like poetry of the book, and this children’s book has even been licensed for the Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, For this digital Apple version, I had the great pleasure of narrating the female narration, while the male narration of “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” was done by popular BBC personality Dominic Byrne. “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” is also available in traditional print at bookstores and via Amazon.com.

First, here is a photo of the real-life Leonberger dog Inca, dressed as Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”(TM) taken from my book, “The Background Story of “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”:


Real Life Leonberger dog Inca

Excerpts from the Children’s Book “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”™

Here are some excerpts from M. Nicole van Dam’s book, “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”:


Hilary Mouse settles down to lunch


Inca Dink suddenly appears


Oh no - the cheese is HUGE

Sketches from the Children’s Book “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”(TM)

Here is a starting sketch that shows some of the process of how a book is illustrated. You will find more information on the making of this children’s book in M. Nicole van Dam’s book, “The Background Story of “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”:


Starting sketch from Inca Dink, The Great Houndini

More background on the real-life Leonberger dog Inca:

The real-life Leonberger dog Inca, was an adorable puppy and a much-loved pet therapy dog at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, as shown here from photos taken from M. Nicole van Dam’s book, “The Background Story of “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”:


Inca was an adorable puppy


Inca was a pet therapy dog

To purchase “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” and “The Background Story of Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” please visit Butterflies.bz

 

Following are some blog posts relating to my children’s book adventures – ENJOY!

My Cockatoo Coloring Book Makes New Friends!

Artimagination : September 27, 2015 10:08 pm : Children's Books, Club Color Artists

As an artist I enjoy meeting young talent.  I had so much fun this weekend meeting Liv and Rowen and their very nice parents.  Both Liv and Rowen are very artistic, smart and as nice as can be.  I can’t wait to see the pretty colors they add to their new “Casper the Cockatoo” coloring book.  Liv told me that she likes to paint, and Rowen told me she likes coloring.  They remind me a bit of me when I was their age. I always enjoy meeting creative people.    I already saw one of Liv’s artworks – she drew a girl and that’s not easy – and it came out so well!  Keep on drawing Liv – you will just get better and better with time.  I remember sometimes I would look at my artwork and not think it was very good, I would see every flaw.  Now I look back on the art that my Mother saved for me, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was!  Liv, save your artwork and I promise you, you will be glad you did, and you will see it is much better than you think it is now!

Both Liv and Rowen are very talented – I hope they both keep on creating!  Way to go Liv and Rowen!

Wonderful Liv and Rowen!

Wonderful Liv and Rowen!

 

Special thanks to Liv and Rowen’s Mom Heather who shared the photo with me – that’s so nice. 

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Updated Purchase Links for Children’s Books

Artimagination : September 19, 2015 6:47 pm : Books of Art & Poetry & Philosophy, Children's Books, Nicole's News Hot Sheet

Greetings!  The Amazon gremlin has been at it again – for those of you seeking the current links to purchase my children’s books, here they are, and THANK YOU again for supporting my work:

As always, the books you buy on Amazon are not signed personally by me, but instead are shipped directly to you by the seller (not me).

I’m always happy to sign books for you!  If you would like for me to sign books (and write a personal note to someone), I’ll be happy to do that, please contact me for details.  The process entails your shipping your book(s) to me, in a box with the following things: (1) a legible note to me giving me the name(s) you want on the books and something about each person (helps me write the personal notes); and (2) everything I will need to ship the book back to you (i.e., postage pre-paid packaging addressed to you).   Please make sure you give me enough time!  Especially in the holiday season!

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Hi Emily, Kaede, Quinn and Isaac!

Artimagination : August 7, 2015 12:08 am : Children's Books, Club Color Artists

I had so much fun meeting young talented artist Emily (who loves to draw dragons – how fun is that!) and her wonderful and super smart and nice cousins Kaede, Quinn and Isaac, and their mothers.  Emily is very much the artist and is eager to learn new things.  I’m so glad that each of them picked one of my children’s books, because when I was their age books always meant so much to me.  A super special memory for me was watching them share and read Inca Dink, The Great Houndini and This Little Puppy.  We talked crafts like the feather pen project and had a lot of fun together.  Emily is just starting to write and illustrate her own children’s book – I think that’s very impressive!  That’s way beyond where I was at her age!  Here’s a photo of Quinn, Kaede, Emily and me that one of their parents (super nice Mom Melody) sent to me.   I can’t wait to see Emily’s progress on her dragons and all the pretty colors they all add to their Casper the Cockatoo coloring book!

Fun and Creative Quinn, Kaede and Emily (and Me!)

Fun and Creative Quinn, Kaede and Emily (and Me!)

That’s two weeks in a row that I’ve met some of the nicest and most talented young artists and their very wonderful families! It’s such a treat meeting such nice people!

Many thanks to Mom Melody for sending this pretty picture to me and cheery hello to Mom Michele too 🙂

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iPhone, iPad and iPod App – Inca Dink the Great Houndini – LIVE in the Apple APP Store!

Artimagination : March 11, 2014 1:35 am : Children's Books, New Nicole Artworks, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet

"Inca Dink, The Great Houndini" Goodies and Gifts!

HOT OFF THE PRESSES:    The wonderful narrated iPhone, iPad and iPod app version of my children’s book, “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” – brilliantly narrated by BBC personality Dominic Byrne – is now for sale at the Apple store and works with any iOS 7 Apple operating system (such as iPhone, iPad and iPod).  If you search for Inca Dink in the Apple app store you will find it as an iPhone app (which iPhone App can be downloaded onto any your iOS 7 operating system device, such as your iPad). You can also find this fun APP through this link:  Inca Dink, The Great Houndini

In this iPhone, iPad and iPod app, the pages turn as Dominic Byrne delivers his wonderful narration of this doggy magician story, where Inca Dink, the magician in training, tries to help his friend Hilary mouse.  I also had the fun of doing the female narrated version of this story, so having this live represents some extra fun.  The story itself is written in rhyme, so I hope it’s a fun read for all.  Please visit IncaDink.com to learn more and … ENJOY!

Find in the Apple App store: Playful Animated, Narrated version of "Inca Dink" story on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

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“This Little Puppy”™ M. Nicole van Dam’s latest children’s book is published!

Artimagination : March 30, 2013 1:35 am : Children's Books, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, Writer's Corner

FUN news! Jay Topping and M. Nicole van Dam have teamed up to write their first children’s book together – “This Little Puppy.”™ It’s a fun doggie adventure about all sorts of dogs – a Leonberger, a Chihuahua, a Pomeranian, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a Husky, a German Shepard, a Poodle, a Dalmatian, a Doberman Pinscher – and many others (including one-of-a-kind pooches) – having a good time. If your child or grandchild enjoys “this little piggy” on his fingers and toes, then “This Little Puppy” is sure to please! Available now on Amazon – for both e-Readers such as the Kindle and the Apple iPad, and in print!

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Rosie and Emma Plant a Seed™ Now Available on Amazon!

Artimagination : December 23, 2011 5:19 pm : Children's Books, Gardening & Animals & Inspirations, New Nicole Artworks, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, The Artist's Thoughts, Writer's Corner

"Rosie and Emma Plant a Seed," by M. Nicole van Dam


Rosie and Emma Plant a Seed™ is M. Nicole van Dam’s joyous and beautifully illustrated children’s book about a young girl Emma and her Leonberger dog Rosie, who find a mysterious seed and plant it. As the mysterious seed grows, so do Emma and Rosie’s adventures and the delightful, curious characters they meet, including Sigmund Owl and a very cheeky sparrow. This unique book is a lovely way to share the wonders of gardening and nature. Also important, this book teaches about teamwork and friendship. Truly a lovely children’s book, and as you turn the pages you will enjoy the more than 60 colorfully and happily engaging illustrations. Written in rhyme with enchanting characters, this book is as much a treat to read aloud as it is to see. If you are seeking to share the joy of the garden and an appreciation of nature and animals with toddlers and young children, then this is the ideal book. Lovingly illustrated and warmly written in sing-song rhyme, with a Dr. Seuss type rhythmic quality, this book will delight young readers and is a fun bed-time read-aloud as well. Please visit OnceUponaTime.bz to learn more or Amazon or Butterflies.bz to purchase.

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Fun New Products based on “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”

Artimagination : September 9, 2011 10:03 pm : Children's Books, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet

Apple iPhone 4 Slider Case with Inca Dink on it!

I am so excited about all the new products based on “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” – here is a slideshow showcasing some of them! Inca was a great Leonberger dog and it’s fun to see his story shared this way!
[flagallery gid=3 name=”Gallery” skin=default]

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Great New “Inca Dink” Products now Available!

Artimagination : September 9, 2011 9:12 pm : Children's Books, New Nicole Product Updates
Flip video camera with “Inca Dink” artwork!

Exciting News!  All sorts of new merchandise now available bearing the “Inca Dink” artwork – everything from Apple iPhone, iPod and iPad cases to eReader (Nook and Kindle) sleeves to laptop skins to clothes to thermos jugs to blankets and cards and infant wear!  So, so FUN!  Please visit GreatHoundini.com to see what’s available now!

[flagallery gid=3 name=”Gallery” skin=default]

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Inca Dink, The Great Houndini – Full Color Paperback Books now Available!

Artimagination : September 10, 2010 1:15 am : Children's Books, New Nicole Artworks, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, Writer's Corner


So fun to announce that…drumroll… “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” is now available in a cheery, full color paperback via Amazon, as well as for sale at traditional bookstores. HURRAY! In a previous post, I mentioned that “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” is available for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch as a narrated, digital app, which is really fun.

Because “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” is doing so well, I created a cute background book on the story, with real life photos of the Leonberger dog, Inca, that inspired the story, and of Inca’s real life nephew, Tango. That background story is also available on Amazon! . This background story is available for the Kindle as well.

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Inca Dink, The Great Houndini Available for iPhone iPad iPod Touch!

Artimagination : July 24, 2010 6:13 pm : Children's Books, New Nicole Artworks, New Nicole Product Updates, Nicole's News Hot Sheet, Writer's Corner

You can now enjoy “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini, Magician in Training,” Nicole’s children’s book, on your iPhone, iPodTouch and iPad, narrated by both British voiceover superstar Dominic Byrne and by the author/illustrator M. Nicole van Dam. Inca Dink can be purchased at Inca Dink for the iPhone/iPad/iPodTouch

If you love Inca Dink (TM) then you can also purchase all sorts of Inca Dink merchandise, from clothing to mugs to totes to doggie t-shirts, at our Official Inca Dink shop and learn more about the inspiration for Inca Dink at our “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” blog

How fun!!!  What a treat this project was!

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Background:  M. Nicole van Dam has authored and illustrated several delightful children’s books as well as books for “grown ups.”  Children’s books by Nicole are currently published under the trade name “Once Upon a Time”™ and include “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini“™ and “Rosie and Emma Plant a Seed,”™ and “This Little Puppy.”™   Both “Rosie and Emma Plant a Seed”™ and “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”™ were inspired by Nicole’s real life Leonberger dogs, while “This Little Puppy“™ (co-authored with Jay Topping) was inspired by the many pets we all love.   Nicole’s work is also inspired by nature, her garden, and her family (including many pets!).   To learn more about the artist, the real life Inca Dink, and the “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”™ children’s book, please visit incadink.com.   Fun note: Delightfully narrated interactive digital versions of “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”™ are also available for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.    To learn more about “Rosie and Emma Plant a Seed” please visit “Rosie and Emma Plant a Seed” and to learn more about “This Little Puppy“™ please visit “This Little Puppy.”™

Following is some fun background information about Nicole’s most popular children’s book, “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini,” which Nicole authored and illustrated. Enjoy these pictures of the real-life Leonberger dog behind “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”™, as well as some sketches and excerpts from M. Nicole van Dam’s book, “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”. More fun background information is available in the companion book also by M. Nicole van Dam, called “The Background Story of Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”, We hope you enjoy each of them, and would love to hear your thoughts!

We hope you enjoy our “Once Upon a Time”™ series of children’s books!

The books you buy on Amazon are not signed personally by Nicole, but instead are shipped directly to you by the seller (not Nicole).

From Nicole:

I’m always happy to sign books for you!  If you would like for me to sign books (and write a personal note to someone), I’ll be happy to do that, please contact me for details.  The process entails your shipping your book(s) to me, in a box with the following things: (1) a legible note to me giving me the name(s) you want on the books and something about each person (helps me write the personal notes); and (2) everything I will need to ship the book back to you (i.e., postage pre-paid packaging addressed to you).   Please make sure you give me enough time!  Especially in the holiday season!

Links to find the “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”™ merchandise:

“Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” and the Background Story of Inca Dink, The Great Houndini,” including the characters, artworks, and storylines respectively therein, are by and TM & (c) 1999 – 2011 M. Nicole van Dam. All Rights Reserved.

To purchase “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” and “The Background Story of Inca Dink, The Great Houndini” please visit Butterflies.bz

We hope you enjoy “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini.”™

Links to find the “Inca Dink, The Great Houndini”™ book and merchandise:

TM and (c) 1999-2011 M. Nicole van Dam. All Rights Reserved.