Local resident writes non-fiction children’s bookBy: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
Long-time Folsom resident Brian Wallace always had a dream of writing a children’s book, but he never had a good story to tell. When a dozen ducklings hatched in his yard, he found he had the perfect story.
Written and illustrated by Wallace, “Daisy and the Dirty Dozen” is based off a mother duck and her 12 ducklings who made Wallace’s backyard their home for a short time.
It all began spring of 2017, when Wallace noticed a female mallard duck would come around, fly away, come back and fly away, but he and his wife, Jessica, didn’t think much of it.
“I thought she was just coming back periodically for a swim,” Wallace said. “In mid-March of last year, the kids and I were in the backyard doing chores, and she lands in the pool. It was really strange for her to be there while we were because usually she would fly away when we came out there.”
Wallace said he watched the duck and saw her walk into the bushes below the kitchen window.
“I did some research and learned mallards will sit on a nest for 22 hours for 28 days before their eggs hatch, and they will all hatch at the same time,” he said. “She has been outside our kitchen window for a month, and we didn’t even know it.”
Once the family realized there was a nest in their yard, they did some prepping.
“What does everyone do when they have ducks in their yard? They try to scare them away. That’s what we tried at first,” he said. “One of the things I read online that scares them off is to put inflatable items in your pool, like pool tools, balls, rafts, kayaks and things like that. None of that works, by the way!”
Wallace then turned to retired Folsom Animal Control Officer Cindy Walden for some professional advice.
“She said to let them be if they hatch. They have a better chance of surviving that way,” he said. “We prepped for the ducks to hatch after that.”
Once the eggs hatched, they 12 ducklings made a bee-line to the pool. Wallace also made a little ramp for them to get in and out of the pool.
“They stayed for two weeks and made an absolute mess. I ended up calling her Daisy, but we didn’t know we would have 12 ducklings. ‘Daisy and the Dirty Dozen’ makes an excellent book title, so I started writing things here and there,” he said. “Once I had enough notes for a book, I started storyboarding it. It worked out perfect for a children’s book – 32 pages, 1,500 words.”
Wallace illustrated the entire book as accurately as possible for everyone from his wife and kids, to the ducklings in his backyard.
“I was just going to do one copy and have it sit on the shelf for my kids to enjoy as a documentation of the ducks’ stay in our yard, but then a lot of people were asking for copies, so I went through the route to get it published,” he said.
Wallace has his own imprint called Newport Press, and his book can be found on Amazon in paperback and hardcover.
“It’s been a fun story to share with the kids,” he said.
Wallace submitted his book to a non-profit called RedRover, which brings books into the classroom to teach. “Daisy and the Dirty Dozen” was added to the recommended reading list, so now children can read the book in class.
“The one thing I researched about ducks that ended up being true is that they come back,” he said. “We have five right now.”