Father and 5-Year-Old Daughter Team Publish Illustrated Children’s Book

Just in time for summer reading and a season of car trips to visit family and friends, the colorfully illustrated children’s book Magical Lake lands on Amazon.com bookshelves.

The latest Buddy and Swifty Chipmunk Champs series story takes readers on an adventure as two chipmunks learn about trusting others, making new friends and embracing the differences that make each of us unique.

Magical_Lake_Book_Cover(final)One of the main characters, a young chipmunk named Swifty, travels far from his home and encounters challenges. With help from several new friends, he discovers self-confidence and a world unlike anything he has experienced.

Written by Andy C. Szul – with his 5-year-old daughter, Victoria A. Szul – the Magical Lake children’s story is illustrated by Rigina Pietrowski.

The 8×10 softcover book fits comfortably in a backpack or purse, allowing children and parents to take Buddy and Swifty with them to enjoy wherever they go.

“We’re especially proud of this latest Buddy and Swifty children’s book because of how the characters evolved from the storyboard to the final draft,” said Szul. “By introducing several new characters in Magical Lake, we’ve built out the Buddy and Swifty storyline, making it more imaginative and memorable for readers to enjoy.”

The first Buddy and Swifty children’s book was black and white and published in early 2015. Magical Lake is not only a physically larger book, but it is also in color with art drawn across the entire area of the pages.

“The bright and vivid colors throughout the book, along with the absolutely fantastic new look for the series’ central characters is big deal for us,” said Szul. “While this story is written for children, we have a hunch that adults will also enjoy reading the book with their children and flipping through the colorful illustrations.”

The first book was written and illustrated by Szul and his daughter. For the Magical Lake children’s book, Szul teamed up with Pietrowski, a senior graphic designer who did the illustrations.

“After watching the two chipmunks run around in front of our bungalow, Victoria and I did the best we could to sketch the two critters in the first book,” said Szul about the first Buddy and Swifty book. “With Rigina’s incredible graphic design skills and talent, Magical Lake features pages and pages of delightfully entertaining illustrations.”

“Developing and creating the art and graphics for this book challenged me as a designer and I grew from the unique experience,” said Pietrowski. “I feel very fortunate to have been involved in this project.”

Inspired by actual events, the Buddy and Swifty children’s book series started in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania, nestled in the picturesque Pocono Mountains.

“I liked helping make this children’s book for kids to enjoy with their moms and dads,” said Victoria A. Szul.

Szul and his daughter manage several Buddy and Swifty social media accounts, including the chipmunk duo’s Twitter page at https://twitter.com/buddyandswifty.

“We look forward to hearing from readers about what they think could be Buddy and Swifty’s next adventure,” said Szul.

All of the proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to charity.

The Magical Lake book is intended for children 3 to 8 years old and is available on Amazon.com for just $9.99.



Joy of Reading a Children’s Book

We really didn’t realize how much of a joy the experience would bring us and for our hosts — until we actually did it.

Recently, we participated in a book reading to a Pre-K class of 4 to 5 year olds. 

The book, Magical Lake — our latest in the Chipmunk Champs Buddy and Swifty adventure series — takes readers on an exciting imaginative adventure that ends in a surprising twist. 

We started the book reading with a question about that twist — without offering any hints — and ended with the same question. 

Why is it a magical lake, we asked.

With the inside of the 8×10 book positioned to face the group of children, we read each page, explored the colorful illustrations and engaged the entire class with a variety of questions. 

A couple of the students — who had already read the book with their parents — gave the correct answer to the question about why the magical lake title. 

Others enjoyed guessing the answer or simply walking up to the book to point at illustrations and asking their own questions. 

A child’s imagination and never-ending interest in everything that surrounds them is a delight and honor to observe. As parents it’s what we thrive on as we watch our children grow and mature. 

Reading a children’s book is just one way we fulfill our duty to the next generation.

*Free* Illustrated Children’s Book Now Available

Chipmunk Champs Buddy & Swifty, an illustrated children’s book on Amazon, is available for free for a limited time to download.

The book – available in paperback and for download at https://www.amazon.com/Chipmunk-Champs-Buddy-Swifty-Szul-ebook/dp/B00TZ6NT80/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1476016412&sr=8-1 – is about two enthusiastic, friendly chipmunks who show the benefits of working as a team and getting along.

The story is based on true events, said Andy C. Szul, who collaborated with his then 3-year-old daughter on the writing and illustrations.

“From start to finish, it took us about six months to storyboard and then draft, edit, revise and draw these two furry, adorable critters as best we could,” he said.

Victoria, his daughter, provided creative input and helped with the book’s art.

“Thanks to a collaborative opportunity with Kindle Direct Publishing Select, we’re excited to offer this book for free and hope readers take a couple minutes to post a review and let us know what they think,” he said. “It’s that type of feedback that helps us plan a sequel to this fun story.”

Beginning today, the book is available for FREE download for only three days, October 9-11.

For more about KDP Select, visit https://kdp.amazon.com/select?ref_=kdp_BS_TN_se.


1K Followers — How We Did It

It’s amazing. Really. In just a few months we achieved over 1,000 followers.

When we launched the book earlier this year on Amazon, we knew that it would take a healthy dose of #socialmedia to help get word out. After all, it’s a #childrensbook and to successfully market a product with a niche audience, it would take some effort on our part.

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest were just a few of the fun new accounts that we stood up during those early days.

So, how did a pair of chipmunks from the middle of somewhere in the Pocono Mountains do it? Here’s a handy infographic that charts out some of what seemed to work.


We could not have achieved this milestone in our online travels without our fam, fans, partners and the many others browsing the super highway. Engagement and collaboration are not just buzzwords either. But rather, in large part, how we reached 1K on our Twitter hangout.

Take care & thanks for the fun ride,


An Unlikely Children’s Book Hero Who Farts

The cat from Alice’s adventures, a pet dragon, Nana the dog, Frozen’s Olaf, and numerous other memorable story characters entertain children with their silliness and humor. In Kate Beaton’s entertaining The Princess and the Pony it’s a small, roundish pony that farts.

Yet, even with his phKate Beaton's bookysical limitations and incessant release of hold-your-nose-type smelly gas, it’s the pony that takes Princess Pinecone (yes, a princess named after those round things that fall from pine trees) to victory in a “great battle.”

“Just … do your best,” the princess says to her pony. A birthday present from her parents, the pet companion represents the courage, inner strength and resilience mirrored by the princess throughout the adventure.

With colorful illustrations and tight, descriptive writing, Beaton offers parents and children a fun tale that places a young girl in a variety of situations that require her to heroically think quick and literally face challenges head on.

What makes this story especially endearing is the end – most especially how Princess Pinecone and her partner pony hilariously capture the “Most Valuable Warrior” award. To find out more you’ll have to buy the book.

Happy Thoughts Save the Day

41mK3v-31JL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_Just like adults, children have their ups and downs. For kids, though, they’re still learning how to work through their emotions. “The Monster in You: Sad” – published by Snow Monkey Books – takes us on such a journey.

When Alfie’s bright yellow balloon is popped, he becomes sad. As he tries to work through his feelings of sadness, he meets a couple new friends. The snail who is courageously saved by Alfie and a purple dragon that takes the boy on a thrilling adventure.

Throughout the story, each time the boy helps others, his toy balloon gets bigger. And when Alfie and the dragon face their biggest challenge, it’s the balloon that miraculously saves them.

The colorfully illustrated story offers a positive message for both children and parents: Things can only get better and helping others makes life far more pleasant.

Before lifting off, the dragon gives Alfie one last piece of advice: “Oh and don’t forget to smile.” Alfie couldn’t have asked for better friends.

Visit Buddy and Swifty on Twitter for more.

Entertaining Children’s Story With Positive Message

If there ever was a book that deserved a spot on the table in the children’s dentist office, it’s “Loose Tooth Trouble.”

Written by Melissa Bixby with a delightful attention to detail and colorfully illustrated by Adam Barney, this action-packed children’s story gets it right on each page.

The fun story fLoose Tooth Troubleollows a boy named Bobby who has a loose tooth. Presented in an entertaining way, the story offers kids a positive message: Mom knows best.

A recurring animal character throughout the adventure makes it especially fun for kids who own a pet. (You’ll have to pick up a copy to find out which cuddly pet.)

The illustrations are full of depth, aligning creatively with the author’s vision. In one scene, when a child friend of Bobby’s suggests that he tie his tooth to a rocket, the colorful drawing grabs your attention.

The action-oriented settings vary – from a playground to a bowling alley and a classroom to a school bus. In each scene readers are entertained by the recommendations offered to Bobby remove his tooth.

So if you’re a dentist, this this is the book you want your customer boys, girls and parents reading in your waiting room. And if you’re a parent or older sibling, gift this book to your kid brother or sister (link here). They’ll keep laughing and smiling.

NEWS RELEASE: Buddy and Swifty Celebrate Earning 600th Fan On Twitter

Contact: buddyandswifty@gmail.com
Website: https://twitter.com/buddyandswifty


BEACH LAKE, POCONO MOUNTAINS, Pa., JUNE 10, 2015 — Chipmunk Champs Buddy and Swifty celebrated earning 600 fans on their Twitter account at https://twitter.com/buddyandswifty.

“We are both humbled and incredibly grateful to the hundreds of fans who have joined us for this adventure,” said Buddy, the older chipmunk.

The two BFFs first tweeted on February 26. Since then, their online fan base has grown steadily, with a diverse and enthusiastic following.
Buddy and Swifty on Twitter
“The interwebs is a wonderful place, where we can share our tweets, images, videos and photos,” said Swifty. The duo also maintains online presence through their Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Vine and Facebook social media hang outs.

The chipmunks live in the picturesque Pocono Mountains in upstate Pennsylvania where they wrote their first children’s book. The book — published on Amazon earlier this year — is based on their adventures, showing the benefits of working as a team and getting along. It’s now available in both paperback and Kindle.

“I remember how nervous we were when we sent our first tweet. I think we started with fewer than 10 tweeps and then after a couple weeks, when the news stories posted about our book, the traffic to our social media hang outs doubled,” said Swifty. “It’s lots of fun to engage our fans with the latest tweets and we look forward to making many more friends.”

On June 26 the chipmunks plan to celebrate their four-month anniversary on social media with friends and family. When asked how they will recognize the milestone, they said that folks will “just have to follow us on Twitter to find out.”