Wednesday, September 5, 2012
When Signal Mountain resident Maricarol Kileff first wrote “The King of Bozark,” she was still a high school student in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
“My teacher whispered in my ear, ‘This is something really special and you should hold onto it,” said Kileff of her recently published children’s book. “It’s accompanied me all these years.”
The book’s message is one that transcends any age: that everyone has their own special talent, and although not everyone can be king, it is possible for all people to live in harmony doing whatever it is they do best.
“It’s basically been my philosophy as far back as I can remember — do what you do and do it well,” Kileff said. “I’ve never understood people wanting to do something other than what they’ve been given as a gift.”
She said she originally titled the book “The King of Bozark: A Children’s Adult Tale.”
“I didn’t take it down or use baby words,” Kileff said, adding that the book is appropriate for children just learning to read as well as those older.
Although some younger readers may not know the meaning of “extol,” the book provides an opportunity for an adult reading with the child to explain new vocabulary as well as discuss the story’s meaning, she said.
The book features whimsical illustrations by Oklahoma-based illustrator Justin Stier of the main characters: a lark, shark and dog, each vying for the role of King of Bozark.
“The animals are cute and it has a harmonious ending,” said Kileff. “It has a logical moral lesson.”
Each copy is accompanied by a CD containing an audio version of the story narrated by Dudley Mayfield, she said.
“The King of Bozark” is Kileff’s first children’s book. She also co-authored “The Street Sellers of Zimbabwe Stone Sculpture” with husband Clive Kileff, a Zimbabwe native and former anthropology professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Heroic rhymes come naturally to Kileff, a classically trained pianist who incorporates her knowledge of rhythm into her writing.
She is now working on her second story for children, which involves a young boy who plays with garbage instead of toys titled “Fester McTrash,” to be completed within the year.