Ewert’s book casts family dog in lead role

EwertElaine.jpg
EwertElaine.jpg

Elaine Ewert of Marion poses with the family?s two boxers, Estelle and Izzy. Estelle?s antics inspired Ewert?s first book for children. Courtesy photo.

Elaine Ewert?s love for boxer dogs and her background in art and elementary education have come together in the recent release of her first book, ?Estelle Wants to Fly.?

The Marion resident will be at Marion City Library at 10 a.m. Saturday to read and sign her new book for children.

The book was inspired by Estelle and Izzy, the two female boxers who live with Ewert and her husband, Gary. But the motivation to create the book came from the Internet.

?I was on a boxer Web site,? Ewert said. ?It was kind of a blog thing, and they were saying, ?There?s just not any books with boxers in them?somebody out there ought to write one.??

In her book, wide-eyed Estelle dreams of flying with the birds but eventually realizes that being who she was born to be is a pretty good life after all.

Ewert said the book almost wrote itself, thanks to the antics of the real Estelle as the couple and the dogs go on their morning and evening walks together.

?Estelle is even more expressive than a normal boxer,? Ewert said. ?She would watch the birds. And it wasn?t like she wanted to eat them, it was like, ?Wow!? You could just see this look on her face like ?I?d like to do that.?

?So, as we walked along, Gary and I would be making up things like, ?Oh, I think she?d be thinking this.? Gary goes, ?Why don?t you write it down?? So I did.?

Ewert?s passion for boxers began in high school when her sister asked her to baby-sit her boxer because she and her husband were leaving town for a construction job. The arrangement became permanent.

?Someone actually stole that dog,? Ewert said, ?but my daddy bought me another one.?

After graduating from Columbus Unified High School in southeast Kansas, Ewert went to nearby Pittsburg State Univer?sity, where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in art. She went on to earn a master?s degree in special education.

Ewert has taught art or special education for 16 years in three school districts, including Marion?s. For the past eight years she?s been employed as a graphic designer at the Hillsboro Free Press. Ewert began a new career this week as a family advocate for the Marion Head Start program.

Over the years, the Ewerts have cared for seven different boxers?even as they raised two children, now grown.

?They have loads of personality,? she said of boxers. ?They are the most loving dogs you could ever have. They are human?on four feet with fur.?

With her background in art, Ewert thought illustrating the book would be easier than writing it. But not so.

?The story actually happened really quick,? she said. ?The illustrations weren?t hard, because I doodle a lot of boxers, but it just took a lot more time than what I thought.?

With the original print run of 100 books selling fast by word of mouth, Ewert has ordered a second printing. The books are available for sale at Aunt Bee?s Floral, Garden Center & Gifts in Marion and at Thee Bookstore in Hillsboro.

Ewert said she also has been selling them personally, and can be reached at 620-382-3498. The retail price is $20.

Ewert said she has been surprised by the response. Even the elementary school in her hometown requested a copy for its library after hearing about the book from Ewert?s niece there.

Because of the positive response, Ewert said she expects to produce at least one more children?s book about boxers.

But that?s not the only reason.

?I have to do one about Izzy,? she said. ?Izzy would be really hurt if I didn?t.

And the plot of that book?

?Izzy?s kind of stoic, so it?s a little harder,? she said. ?But I?ve got to do one about her before I can do another one on Estelle, which would be easier.?

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