Thursday, October 18th, 2012
By Margie Wuebker
Crazy time for local author results in book
  MINSTER - Local author Richard Stein has published his 10th children's book after a 3 1/2-year hiatus.
"Anthony Ant: Seeking Santa" tells the story of an ant who does everything possible - from eating hard beans and taping his eyelids open to singing holiday tunes and leaving the light on - in order to see Santa Claus and the reindeer on Christmas morning. The efforts left him so exhausted he slept straight through the occasion, only to awaken in the spring to find a present beside his bed.
Stein, a retired teacher and school administrator, started the book several months ago.
"The idea had been nagging around the edges for sometime," he said. "I had been working on another story at the same time, but that one simply would not flow."
He said the book involved a number of trips to a restaurant in Decatur, Ind. - midway between his Minster home and that of illustrator Mary Coons of Fort Wayne, Ind.
"We ate like crazy, talked like crazy and worked like crazy," Stein said. "And this is the end result."
Stein and Coons, a former Grand Lake area resident, have teamed up on nine books - "Ohio's in Room 32," "Anthony Ant: Late for Lunch," "Anthony Ant Sees the Light," "Boo!," "Oscar: A Color-Me Story," "Rabbit's Rainbow: A Color-Me Story," "There's A Pumpkin in Our School," "The Thanksgiving Train" and "Maybe Mice (maybe not)."
They also take their Two for the Show program to classrooms throughout western Ohio and eastern Indiana. During the program, Stein tells a story while Coons illustrates.
"Mary is so big on detail," Stein said. "She gives kids so much to think about, and she definitely keeps me on track."
Publication of the latest book has ended a hiatus that resulted following the death of Stein's mother and sister.
"I tend to have four or five projects in the works at any given time," Stein said. "And right now, there are another 50 ideas or so floating around in my head."
Stein not only enjoys writing books for children but also talking to them face-to-face during their programs.
"I talk and Mary translates my ideas into pictures," he said. "Her work still amazes me as much as the kids."

Children may meet Stein, Coons:
Author Rich Stein and illustrator Mary Coons will present a Two for the Show program at 7 p.m. Monday at the Richardson-Bretz Memorial Building in Celina.
Stein will be talking about his 10 children's books while Coons creates drawings incorporating his thoughts. The illustrations will be given away at the end of the free program.
The event for children and events are open to the public.
The program is sponsored by The Mercer County Library District and the Friends of the Library.
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