Schreiber Pediatric Center - Preschool gets a visit from a GrumpaSaurusPotalope

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June 28, 2017

Preschool gets a visit from a GrumpaSaurusPotalope

Posted by Dan  Permalink 

Randall Haines works in security at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station. He was deployed twice as a captain in the Pennsylvania National Guard. But don't let the tough-guy resume fool you. Randall is just as comfortable sitting down with a bunch of preschoolers to read a book. His book.

Randall Haines reads his new book "GrumpaSaurusPotalope" to students in Schreiber's S.T.A.R.S. Preschool. His daughter, Harper, second from left, is seated in the group watching.

Randall, who lives in East Hempfield Township, recently visited Schreiber's S.T.A.R.S. Preschool where his daughter, Harper, is a student. He came to read his new book, "GrumpaSaurusPotalope."

The book took about six months to produce, start to finish. The basic idea came out much more quickly, during a therapy visit in November. Harper was a toe walker. After about a year and a half of physical therapy, including a combination of bracing, casting and gait training, she is almost completely free of the toe walking.

"I was here with Harper for PT," Randall said. "I had brought my notebook, and I just wrote a couple things down. It came out in about a half-hour. I kind of based it on her and her sister (Elle, who is 3) and how they get when they're hungry and tired. The idea I had was a GrumpaSaurus."

All the parents reading this are nodding their heads right now. Hungry and tired, GrumpaSaurus -- sounds right.

A group of preschool boys hear about the importance of snacks and naps in "GrumpaSaurusPotalope."

From there, he started playing with some other words that would kind of suggest hungry and tired. Here's a passage from an early page after one of the children in the book skips a midday nap:

"You used to be pleasant and sweet to all of us,
But now you've turned into a huge GrumpaSaurus.
You yell and you scream for no reason at all.
Then smash your block buildings with your favorite ball."

Later in the book, Randall conjures up more scary creatures, including a GrumpLope, a GrumpaPotamus and even a dreaded StinkaLinka. Jaci Rice's illustrations, simple and watercolor-ish, creatively complement Randall's wordplay. Jaci is Randall's sister-in-law; her sister Leah is married to Randall.

"(Jaci) is an artist," Randall said. "She always wanted to do a children's book, but she never had an idea. I gave her the words I had, broken down into pages where an image could go. She took a couple months to come up with the pictures."

Randall Haines reads from his new children's book as wife Leah and younger daughter Elle watch from the rear.

Randall and Jaci used Amazon's CreateSpace self-publishing platform to lay out the pages with the images on them. They went through two proofs and a bunch of revisions before signing off on the final version in May. He visited Schreiber in early June, Harper in the circle with her friends and Leah and Elle watching from the back.

This is Randall's third book. His first was a nonfiction book about his great-grandfather's experience in World War I called "My Life in the U.S. Navy." He also wrote a young-adult book called "Elijah B: The Treasure of Morgan Malone."

"He's always told me he likes writing," Leah said. "With his military background and the first book, this is a 180 from what you would assume he would want to do. But we had these two little girls, so he has all kinds of inspiration. It's really just to help them take care of themselves: Eat a snack, take a nap and you won't turn into a scary monster."

He has sold about 30 copies so far, and he's trying to promote it on social media with author pages on Facebook and Instagram. In between work and going to Millersville to get his master's degree in social work, he doesn't have a lot of free time.

He was happy to spend some of it coming to Schreiber for the reading to a bunch of preschoolers. From the way the kids settled in with their own individual copies of the book - each copy signed - it looked like they were happy, too.

***
Help us provide therapy and educational services for children like Harper. Visit our DonateNow page here and set up a recurring gift. Your $10 monthly gift will pay for one half-hour of therapy or two weeks of preschool. Questions? Call the Financial Development Office at 717-393-0425 ext. 105.

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