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Punxsy Spirit Article for Dinosaur Days

Author's 'Bubble' Series Begins a New Adventure

By Justin Brown (For The Spirit)

Vincent and Ben Giglotti, of Punxsutawney, are off on another mystical journey in Julie Branken's third, installment of her children's books titled "Bubble's World."

The third book takes the boys on a journey through a wormhole and throws them in the time of the dinosaurs, and she will read it during a story time at 3:15 p.m. Today at the Groundhog Festival.

"I wish the worm hole was on the planet," said five-year old Vincent.Both boys think it is "pretty cool" that they are staring in their grandmother's books.

It took the 11 year owner of the Plantation Bed and Breakfast, who was originally from Zambia, Africa, 10 years to complete the first of her books.Branken anticipates more books, as long as it takes her grandchildren to grow up.

"It will take me another six years at least," she said."I've already started on a fourth book."

As her grandchildren grow older, Branken adds them into the imaginary world of her books.She said that in the newest book, three-year-old Isabella wants to go along with the boys, but is too young to make the journey.

"She'll be in the next book."Branken said."They will travel to England and visit an old castle and Stonehenge."

The third book is the first that Branken did both the writing and illustrations.She said that it is a winter project that she starts in the summer, and the total work takes about six months.

"I tried to plan a story," she said, "but I just end up sitting in the garden and writing it out.I love doing it, the art work and making up the stories."

She said that the stories come naturally, because she used to make up stories off the cuff for her own-children when the were young.

Branken said those who attend the reading today should be in for some surprises.

"I love looking at the children's expressions," Branken added."I like to get them involved in the story, like when there is an illustration of a dinosaur, I like to ask them if anyone knows what kind of dinosaur it is."

Each of her books has an underlying theme of the power of imagination, which Branken says is key to childhood development.Each story has a lesson, too, from compassion towards the African people to universal love.

When the grandchildren asked how it was possible to go through the worm hole, Branken said imagination can make your dreams come true.

"Your imagination is magic: you can do anything," she said.

Her fourth book, "Enchanted England," comes out in December and will include her granddaughter, Isabella.

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