PN Children’s author pens tale about family pet

Published 5:08 pm Thursday, November 5, 2015


Benny, a precocious mini dachshund with a penchant for getting attention, is the subject of a new children’s book penned by Port Neches author Cheryl Johnson.

The author will be at Hillcrest Baptist Church, 3324 Park Drive, Nederland, from 11 a.m. until Saturday for a book signing.

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“Benny Finds a Home,” is the first installment of a series of books about a family and their beloved pet. The relationship between Benny and the family’s youngest daughter, Holly, is based on the Johnson family’s dog and their own children.

“The book parallels problems that youngest daughter Holly Benny are having, and how they help themselves out,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s now grown children, Aaron, 26; Elise, 23; and Holly, 19, agreed to be in the book, though their ages have been changed to time in their lives when they were much younger.

In “Benny Finds a Home,” the story begins with a sad little puppy who is perplexed to understand why he is has not been chosen by a family when his brother and sister puppies have already been selected.

At the same time, Holly’s family has moved to a new town and is wondering why she is having a hard time making a friend.

The book mirrors Johnson’s own daughter’s Holly’s life in some respects, she said. Johnson and her husband Jim, who is associate pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church, and their family moved to the Golden Triangle 13 years ago.

Johnson teaches writing and literature at Lamar University in Beaumont. Her husband is an associate pastor at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Nederland.

The Benny series is a first effort for the new author, but is something she has wanted to do for a long time.

“I just knew the book had to be about how we got our dog Bentley,” she said. “You just look at Bentley, he has a lot of personality. We joke Benny does this or Benny does that,” she said.

Once the book idea took hold, the words begin to flow.

“I just could not write it fast enough,” she said.

Johnson has written all of the books, with the first of the series, “Bennie Finds a Home, scheduled to be released Dec. 5.

Though preschoolers can enjoy the book, it is written on a third, fourth, and fifth grade level.

Saturday’s book signing event serves as a pre-release. Those attending will have the opportunity to meet the real life Benny, have their pictures made with him, visit with the author and enjoy treats for the kids.


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