Tale about goat Gretchen
The first in a series about the animals at Stratford Oaks Farm, "Stratford Oaks Tales, The Tale of Gretchen" is a literary adventure that took shape when the pygmy goat (Gretchen) at the writer's farm was injured. "Seeing her struggle to survive a terrible injury, I was inspired to tell her story," says Suzanne Mellow-Irwin, the book's author and a Blue Ridge Electric member. The book is illustrated by Zach Hamm, who was diagnosed with autism at age 4. His drawings remind us that you can successfully overcome big obstacles in your life. Mellow-Irwin says, "When I saw the work that Zach was producing, I asked him to come to the farm and draw — through his eyes — the fields, barn area and animals." Mellow-Irwin, who took Gretchen the goat, topped with a red bow, to a speaking engagement so children could actually see her, has worked as a superintendent of schools and holds a doctorate from UNC-Chapel Hill. She lives in Sparta. "Stratford Oaks Tales, The Tale of Gretchen" is published by Imaging Specialists, Inc. in Sparta. Softcover, 68 pages, $11 (includes tax).