Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sparky Sparrow In The News

Sparky Sparrow has landed and he's in the news recently. So far there seems to be plenty of excitement surrounding his arrival. Here's the story:

After More Than Fifty Years Of Telling, Sparky Sparrow Stories Are Available In Print With A Little Help From Lulu

Ashburn, VA (PRWEB) August 15, 2007 -- Based on the traditional children's bedtime stories created by William Weiss during the 1950s, Sparky Sparrow™ ( has been brought to life for the first time by his son Christopher W. Weiss through Lulu publishing. Originally published in May of 2007, Sparky Sparrow is the world's first modern spoken fable to fully leverage the emerging world of on-demand digital publishing.

The captivating tales of Sparky Sparrow (ISBN: 978-0-6151-4723-9) were first told by William Weiss, now an 84 year old World War II veteran, as bedtime stories fifty years ago on a small farm in rural Virginia. At the insistence of his family and after five decades as a family tradition spanning three generations, William finally wrote down the original narrative. Son Christopher W. Weiss, working with the extended Weiss family, has taken that manuscript and provided original color illustrations to produce an instant children's classic.

The gentle Sparky Sparrow tales always began the same and so the Weiss children have continued the ritual: Sparky Sparrow wakes up in his cozy home in the Big Pine Tree in the Big Pine Forest and finds the beautiful day a setting for grand adventure. This reassuring and inviting beginning leaves little ones looking forward to their own adventures of tomorrow as they drift off to sleep. Families all over the world can now pass on these beloved fables to their own children and begin their own tradition with the newest little hero around, Sparky Sparrow.

Sparky Sparrow is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders Books as well as

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What Are People Saying About Sparky Sparrow?

Lyn from England writes that she "Enjoyed the story!" She went on to say, "Hi Sparky Sparrow, greetings from England. I just downloaded your story and liked it so much I am going to send it to my little grandchildren who live in Pennsylvania. I remember my father telling me his own special stories when I was young too, it's lovely to remember that. Thanks!" Well thank you Lyn for taking the time to write. I am hoping Sparky Sparrow will be a success for the specific reason you liked them, many of us seem to have fond memories of made up stories from our parents. They are as unique as people and just as memorable. And those who don't have the luck of these kinds of warm memories? Well Sparky Sparrow is freely available for them to download and create their own memories.

Monday, August 13, 2007

How Did Sparky Sparrow Make It Into Print?

Sparky Sparrow was invented by my father William Weiss late in the 1950s. When all the Weiss children started having kids of their own Sparky got got passed on as an oral tradition to the next generation. After about a decade of everyone saying we should do a Sparky Sparrow book I began nibbling at the idea by registering the domain name and looking into a trademark. Things took off when I finally stumbled onto where you can self publish electronically. And Lulu helps you get into distribution--all at a price. But armed with a broadband connection, an old Dell laptop, some graphics art software, markers, paper and a word processor I began in earnest late in 2006. It did not take much prodding to have William write down his favorite and most classic of all stories: Sparky Sparrow and the Baby Robin. With the narrative in raw form I moved it into my word processor and began the simple, modest illustrations. I did these on paper by hand as simple black outline drawings and scanned them into my computer for colorization. In my graphics arts software I was able to manipulate the drawings some and add air brushed scenery and backgrounds. I exported the graphics as JPEG files and imported everything into the word processor for final layout. I spent a great deal of time and many revisions trying to get the cover art to a level I thought appropriate. From there I was basically done. All I needed was to get into distribution which includes some formatting tweaks, an ISBN assignment, bar code and into the Bowkers database of published works.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What's Next for Sparky Sparrow?

A few readers have asked "What's next for Sparky Sparrow?" Well, Sparky has many friends and from our family lore has had many adventures. Sparky Sparrow stories often had a spooky twist and were even told around campfires in Northern Maine and the Canadian Maritime when we were growing up. But the spooky stories will have to wait although my now five year old daughter asks repeatedly for the spooky ones. Up next for Sparky will be an adventure with his Best Friend Forever (BFF) Old Man Owl. Sparky and Owl will be teaming up to take on the grumpy old willow tree down by the river. This will take Sparky further afield than he has ever been but don't worry, he will always make it back in time for dinner. And I'm sure there will be a few butterfly wing sandwiches with worm jelly being served up along the way. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Welcome to the World of Sparky Sparrow

Who is Sparky Sparrow?

Sparky Sparrow is a tradtional family bedtime story celebrating fifty years of telling. Sparky Sparrow is also the world's first oral fable to leverage the emerging world of on-demand digital publishing.

My father invented Sparky Sparrow out of necessity. While raising four children on a small farm in Virginia from the late 1950's through the 1970's my mother and father had their hands full. So to help their new family go to sleep my father thought up Sparky Sparrow and wove tales around his adventures. We vacationed regularly in Maine and the Canadian Maritime throughout our childhood and I believe that is where The Big Pine Forest originated.

Sparky Sparrow stories always began the same. He lived in the Big Pine Tree in the Big Pine Forest with his mother and father and sister Esmeralda. From there Sparky was usually off on some exciting new adventure. Not too long; just enough to get us to sleep. Some were even a little spooky.

When I had children of my own I finally realized why he invented Sparky Sparrow stories. I found that getting my kids to bed was one thing but getting them to stay in bed and go to sleep was quit another. So when I had exhausted all the children's books I began making up stories. From there it did not take long to run out of material. In desperation I started to tell my own Sparky Sparrow stories.

To my surprise my kids loved them and began to ask for more. More adventures. As with all tales they seem to improve, or at least change, with the telling. My rendition adopted the formal beginning but expanded on Sparky's territory and friends. But at the heart they have always been Sparky Sparrow stories.

So in 2002, as Sparky Sparrow became a staple around my house thus cementing himself in our family lore, I asked my father to write down his favorite story. The rest is history.