Sweet messages with a little fun: Three new children’s books by Kathleen Nicoletti

Nicoletti

Nicoletti CONTRIBUTED

By TINKY WEISBLAT

For the Recorder

Published: 02-09-2024 12:49 PM

Kathleen Nicoletti of Athol notes in her author biography that she loves reading to the children in her life. That joy is evident in her three new children’s books.

At 70 pages, “Ruby the Ruthless” is the longest of the three. It also has the most complicated story. In it a boy named Mason accidentally liberates a cursed pirate named Ruby, who has been trapped in a shell Mason’s dog digs up in the backyard.

Ruby bullies Mason into helping her search for a chest of treasure she stole from a king long ago. She reasons that if she can return the treasure to its owner, the curse upon her will be lifted. High drama ensues, but it isn’t long before Mason begins to suspect that Ruby isn’t really so very ruthless.

“Ruby the Ruthless” is brightly illustrated by Charlotte Maxfield of Hardwick.

The other two books are more animal-centric and are illustrated by their author. “Duckless” (40 pages) tells the story of a lonely duck named Douglas. He is bullied by the other ducks in his neighborhood. When he goes in search of friends, other animals won’t give him the time of day.

Eventually, Douglas realizes that to have a friend one must be a friend, and his loneliness is cured. “Duckless” is an endearing story that should appeal to slightly younger children than “Ruby” will.

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Finally, “Ernie’s Catastrophic Day” (60 pages) follows the misadventures of a cat named Ernie with big paws and an even bigger heart. When his person, Jess, goes off to work one day, he starts to amuse himself by playing.

The play quickly turns to mayhem. Unlike my own Rhubarb, who is the epitome of feline grace, Ernie can’t seem to keep himself from clumping around the house making one mess after another. By the time Jess returns, the house is a disaster, and Ernie is hiding in shame. Fortunately, Jess’s heart is as big as Ernie’s.

All three books are sweet and offer life lessons to their young readers. My favorite of the three is “Ernie’s Catastrophic Day.” Personally, I have had days like Ernie’s that make me want to crawl into a corner and hide from the world.

Kathleen Nicoletti’s new books are available from their publisher, Haley’s, in Athol, as well as at the Petersham Country Store and from online vendors.

The author will talk about and read from the books on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 10:30 a.m. in the children’s room of the Athol Public Library. Books will be available for sale at the event, and Nicoletti plans to paint her face like a cat in honor of “Ernie’s Catastrophic Day.”

Tinky Weisblat is an award-winning cookbook author and singer known as the Diva of Deliciousness. Visit her website, TinkyCooks.com.