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Vol. LXV, No. 38
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
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“Noble Gnarble” Author Daniel Errico Hopes to Inspire Children to Be Persistant

Ellen Gilbert

Move over, Ariel and Nemo. Direct from the imagination of Princeton area resident Daniel Errico comes another valiant sea creature, the gnarble.

A “noble” gnarble to be precise, he is the hero of Mr. Errico’s soon-to-be published first book, The Journey of the Noble Gnarble.

Where most writers in the past have gone from print to digitization, Mr. Errico may be in the vanguard of a new trend. His career began as multimedia children’s author, whose works were published through various sites, collections, mobile apps, and best-selling ebooks as part of several multimedia collaborations for children’s literature. His ongoing website, www.freechildrensto
ries.com, averages 20,000 hits a month.

Another site, http://noblegnarble.com, gives prospective young readers and their parents a chance to preview Mr. Errico’s new book and download a gnarble coloring page. There are gnarble-centered activities and lesson plans for teachers, and navigating from a “meet the author” hotlink, there’s a brief biography and photo of the affable looking author on a page entitled “Who is this Danny?” The site will soon include area locations and dates for Mr. Errico’s upcoming promotional book tour.

In a recent interview, “this Danny” reported an early love for children’s books. Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle book was a particular favorite; from simply appreciating the story and rhyming scheme as a youngster, Mr. Errico discovered as he got older that the book’s allegorical message had had a profound influence on his views. Published in 1984, The Butter Battle Book has been described as “a cautionary Cold War Tale.” A School Library Journal review at the time described how Dr. Seuss chronicled “the the feud between the Yooks and the Zooks from slingshots through sophisticated weaponry, until each side has the capacity to destroy the world.” 

In this instance, the “noble gnarble’s” dream is to reach the surface of the sea and see the sun. Lots of obstacles stand in his way before he ultimately succeeds, of course. Although it’s unlikely to conjure thoughts of nuclear conflagration, the story is intended, according to the author, to make kids see “that persistence is what makes you unstoppable. There’s conflict around around every corner, but the gnarble never fights a single fish.”

No spellcheck system is likely to recognize the word “gnarble” nor any number of the other whimsical words the author uses as he describes his hero’s exploits: “He swam up past the boulders/made of spongy gish-gosh,/And flew right by the herd/of floating, feeding fipple-fosh.” Besides being an homage to Dr. Seuss, using a rhyme scheme simply “feels more natural, and is more attractive to parents,” observed Mr. Errico.

The electronic environment came into play once again when it was time to select an illustrator for the book. “I put out a call on JacketFlap [an online community for children’s writers and illustrators] and received close to 200 portfolios,” Mr. Errico recalled. “Tiffany’s [illustrator Tiffany Turrill] really stood out. I’ve never seen a style like hers before. It’s friendly, but it really pops off the page and grabs your attention.”

The Journey of the Noble Gnarble is dedicated “To the Explorer,” and Mr. Errico said that readers would not be wrong in thinking that he’s reaching out to the adventurer in each of us. In addition, though, “the explorer” is a specific reference to his adventure-loving grandfather. “Before he died I promised him that I would dedicate my first book to him.” 

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