Mark Driesbach's Bugs At Bedtime and Other Adventures is the perfect book for taking children through that magical transition from a superactive playday to the quiet land of sleepy time.
Bugs At Bedtime immerses children in a world that is just their size, one that they play in, and one where fear and curiosity capture their imaginations: the world of bugs.
With the bugs captured in rhyming, three-lines-to-the-stanza poems, Driesbach has created a palette of 20 insect-themed poems that delight the ear while transporting children and their parents to an insect world where science, fantasy and poetry joyously intermingle.
"Last year, my girlfriend's daughter was upset," Driesbach said. "She wanted a bedtime story, so I promised to email a poem the following evening."
At the time, Lily was 5 years old and lived with her mother, Sarah, in Grand Prairie, Texas. Sarah read the poem to Lily. Lily loved the poem, and recited it often.
"I memorized it," she said.
Driesbach was so thrilled that he began writing a series of bug-themed poems.
"Every time I finished a poem, I sent it in an email to Sarah and she read it to Lily the following night," he said.
"She told me that there were certain poems that Lily liked, and certain poems that Lily didn't like. One was the Harry Scary Spider. She didn't like that one because it was about a spider. She didn't like the earthworms' poem because they were worms," he said.
Then, Driesbach wrote a special poem, Lily and The Ladybug.
"She loved that one and she talked about it in school," he said. "Lily told her teacher about the book I was writing. The teacher was interested in getting a copy of the book. A couple of my friends are teachers and they asked for copies."
Driesbach explained how he chose to write about insects.
"I was a kid who liked to dig in the garden, go for walks in the woods, and I enjoyed fishing. When I cut through the woods to get to the fishing creek, I was always looking for bugs. The Walking Stick scared me when I was a kid - they honestly look like a stick," he said.
Driesbach was born in 1973 and grew up in Jim Thorpe.
"I started writing poetry in the late 1980s," he said. "My father had two poems published. One was Son of Light, and the other began, 'Of clocks and locks that bind all the signs of human kind ...'.
"My teachers suggested that I try writing poetry," he said. "At the time, I was in seventh or eighth grade, and except for the poems I read in school, I didn't know what poetry was and I didn't know how to write it."
Driesbach did research on getting started in poetry. His first effort was this short poem, A journey, that lasts a short time in minutes, can last a lifetime in the heart.
Writing poetry brought him closer to his father.
"My dad told me before he passed away that I had a unique ability to link the heart and the mind together," he said.
In the 1990s, Driesbach began submitting his poems to the TIMES NEWS, where, over the years, about a dozen have appeared.
He explained how he feels about poetry.
"If someone told me when I was a kid that I would grow up to write poetry, I would have laughed. Now poetry is in my blood," he said.
Here is an example of Driesbach's poetry from the concluding lines of:
Flutter By Butterfly
Flutter by butterfly; reach for the sky up high
Flutter by butterfly; here in my bed I will lie
Flutter by butterfly; now it's time to say goodbye ...
Driesbach will be at book signings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Mauch Chunk 5 & 10 in Jim Thorpe, and on Aug. 24 at the Lehigh Valley Comic Con at the Schnecksville Fire Company.