The Story Behind the Book

The Goin' Explorin' storybook tells the tale of two wide-eyed young explorers who meet and embark upon an adventure of discovery. Along the journey, the two friends light up the night by catching fireflies in a Mason jar.

Launched on Kickstarter with the reCAP Explore, several reward categories include the Goin' Explorin' storybook by author, Mary Moodey, and illustrated by Justin Wisniewski. Sharing this story and product with others, Karen, Mary, and Justin hope to create lasting memories and traditions to unite family and friends and to inspire a love and curiosity for the natural world.

In addition to writing, Erie author, Mary Moodey, has taught elementary through college students, designed and directed arts-infused, multi-disciplinary school-wide curricula; given arts-in-education workshops, poetry readings, and storytelling/dance performances of her children's stories. A number of her poems have appeared in literary journals throughout the United States.

Justin Wisniewski is an artist and designer who currently resides in Western New York State. He has taught at the collegiate level on such topics as drawing, painting, design and color theory. His artwork revolves around personal expression, a love of nature and visual phenomenon.

Goin' Explorin' book cover

Note and Review by Nancy Andersen

Hello Karen,

I recently reviewed this book, and thought you might like to see the review. Some background: I spent nineteen years as a school librarian, developed the collection, set up a leveled library for teachers and students to use in the classroom. I am a Past president Erie Reading Council, served on the conference committee for the Keystone State Reading Association's annual conference three different years. I brought a number of children's authors and illustrators to the school where I thought. This is all to say that I am quite familiar with children's literature. This is why I am comfortable reviewing Goin' Explorin'.

Nancy Andersen

This is a delightful book! It's an early reader chapter book of realistic fiction, set at the time of Stephen Ryan's seventh birthday. Stephen, called Ryan by his father, his full name by his mother and SR by his Papa, is feeling the desire for independence befitting a seven-year-old. He likes to explore the family's country property by himself, and has many adventures during his explorations, including some startling moments.

What makes this book delightful are the wonderful themes, the positive ideals presented. Among these are the family relationships, especially the one between SR and his Papa, the proper treatment of plants and animals, and the value of spending time outdoors.

Papa spends time with SR and teaches him about nature; his parents support his interests with their birthday gifts. Papa shows him how to catch fireflies, briefly keep them in a special jar, then release them unharmed, teaching respect for nature. Stephen's outdoor explorations are good for his mind and body. Excellent! Both the relationships between the characters, and the themes in this book are so important that should return in a sequel. Also, they lend themselves well to a series.

Readers ready for chapter books will enjoy the uncluttered text, a few fun vocabulary words, and Stephen Ryan's original songs. They will like finding out the origin of the book's title.

Goin' Explorin' Illustration

Review by Dr. Rosemary A. Omniewski

Goin’ Explorin’ is a magical story, filled with excitement and wonder. It promotes a love of nature and the outdoors, close family relationships, and having fun with language. The reader is intrigued by the introduction of new fantasy words, scientific words, and poetic language. While the science behind the book is well researched, the reader learns facts and is encouraged to dream dreams, or to have an eye for metaphor. The book is delightful, whimsical and funny; yet heartwarming and thought provoking. The illustrations enhance the readers’ curiosity in the story. Goin’ Explorin’ is the perfect book for readers of any age. The author has the gift of opening readers’ eyes to endless possibilities."

Dr. Rosemary A. Omniewski

Department of Early Childhood and Special Education

Edinboro University of PA