Must love dogs
Generations collide affectionately in the 2018 kids’ book Nana Scrappy
Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American
When Ryan Cochrane was growing up, he loved fairy tales, and he loved his grandmothers—a great combination for a little boy. Both grandmothers, one British and one of Scandinavian mix, always had plenty of stories to share with their grandson. Cochrane loved to listen, read, and look at the pictures, so much that he became in inspired to write a storybook of his own. That book is Nana Scrappy, a nowhere-in-time tale that takes place in an imaginary green forest, perhaps somewhere between New England, the British Isles, and Norway.
With Nana Scrappy, Cochrane recalls the affection he received as a child, but also some of the more problematic sides of two different generations interacting within a family. With her lovely house, careful routines, and beautiful garden cared for by Eugene O’Squirrel, Nana Scrappy’s life is good. She is even going to receive an award for her exquisite homegrown cabbages. But then there is an unexpected visit by her muddy-pawed grand-dog Barry, and her world is turned upside down.
Up in her years, Nana is a bit forgetful, and as a grown-up, she has started to see the world much differently than a child. She worries about Barry’s nutrition, not his favorite food, and her high society award has taken on more importance than what it is worth. When the little doggy runs away and gets lost in the woods, her world is realigned—and of course, in the end, all is well.
Nana Scrappy is an anthropomorphic tale in which the characteristics of animals are combined with human behavior, a poetic device not uncommon in folklore and mythology. Cochrane is a good storyteller, and the result is a narrative that is entertaining to children. The storyline and language is simple enough that children as young as 5 years old will enjoy the little book, especially with its colorful illustrations.
Cochrane’s first book with Olympia Publishers is doing well, especially in the U.K. and the Netherlands, but I am convinced that will also strike a chord with the readers of The Norwegian American. After all, who loves a good storybook more than the readers of Asbjørnsen and Moe? This is, after all, also the heritage of the author. And by the way, he loves spending time with his Yorkshire Terrier, Scrappy.
If you are looking for a good bedtime story for you kids or grandkids, or even a lighthearted pick-me-up for yourself, Nana Scrappy is available online on Amazon, both in paperback and as a Kindle download.
The book: Nana Scrappy, by Ryan Cochrane, was published by Olympia Publishers in 2018.
Lori Ann Reinhall is a multilingual journalist and community activist based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association and state representative for Sister Cities International, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.
This article originally appeared in the February 8, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.