Dorothy McMoogle with Kumquat and Bugle

Dorothy McMoogle with Kumquat and Bugle

a children's story in rhyme
written by Bruce Rice
illustrated by Wendy Winter
edited by Brenda Niskala
hardcover ~ 32 pages ~ 8" x 8" ~ $25.00
black/white illustrations: watercolour, ink, acrylic, graphite
ISBN 978-0-9881229-5-6
released fall 2013


Dorothy McMoogle, who wants to play the bugle till she's green and hang kumquat colours on every bush and tree, is tired of drab and neat. After Dottie Aunt Lottie's Gloom-O-Meter dings its warning, Dorothy hops into battle with boring grey. A story in rhyme to brighten the gloomiest day! An ode to creativity and being true to yourself, and having fun while you're at it, for children ages 4-8 and the young at heart.

Comments | Media AttentionWhy read this book | Excerpt | Conversation points 
Meet the author | Meet the illustrator | Photo gallery | Buying notes


  • Robert Currie (Saskatchewan Poet Laureate, 2007-2010)
    Holy Kumquat, but this book is fun: the rhymes and rhythms of Bruce Rice perfectly matched with the art of Wendy Winter. 
  • Alison Lohans (award-winning author)
    In lively nonsense verse that juxtaposes sound and images in entertaining ways, young Dorothy McMoogle battles the dreary dullness of her street. Bruce Rice's whimsical poetry for children is mirrored perfectly by Wendy Winter's delightful illustrations. 
  • Jessica Bickford (SPG Book Reviews, January 24, 2014) Read the full review... 
    This book is written in a fun, lilting rhyme that just begs to be read aloud; Bruce Rice has certainly caught upon what kids and their grown-ups like most from a story time book. Dorothy McMoogle plays with language in a way that will not only help young readers learn to deal with some more complex sounds, but will make it a joy for their grown-ups to read to them. It’s not just the story, but the illustrations by Wendy Winter that make Dorothy McMoogle such a delightful little romp. There are so many playful details in the illustrations that you’re likely to take as long looking at them as you do reading the words on each page. 

  • Charlotte Raine (Library Learning Coach, Good Spirit School Division in Saskatchewan, on the website GSSD Libraries
    A fun nonsense verse book.

  • Inderjit Deogun (CM, Volume XX,  Number 28, March 21, 2014) Read the full review...which gave this book a "recommended" rating 
    Winter's illustrations perfectly fit the wackiness of Rice's text...Dorothy McMoogle with Kumquat and Bugle is an ode to imagination that will resonate deeply with some readers.
  • Carolyn Cutt (Resource Links, Volume 19, Number 4, April 2014)
    ...many of the verses are fun and would prove useful in a poetry lesson, focusing on “nonsense” poetry. The whimsical, imaginative illustrations are very appealing. Though drawn and painted using in [sic] black, white and grey tones, the pictures are lively, large and appropriately enhance the verse.

Media attention

  • The article "Wild Sage Reading Draws Crowd" by Robyn Tocker, published in the Fort Times on September 3, 2015, can be read online (scroll down to second story on page). Dorothy McMoogle with Kumquat and Bugle was one of the books featured at the event, which took place in Fort Qu'Appelle on August 29, 2015.

Why read this book

Dorothy was written for the pure fun of language, and for the Dorothys in all of us - the nonconformist and the scamp. It's about perseverance, faith in ourselves, and how art brightens the  world - especially when we make it ourselves. 


"How I'd love to play the bugle
Play it till I'm green
Get the whole street jumping
'Cause bebop is my scene

"I'd hang kumquat colours
On every bush and tree
Kumquats on the ceiling
Kumquats on TV

"I'd hoard kumquat quantities
Quarts and quarts of kumquat jam
Nice fat orange kumquats
They're not dull, no ma'am"

Conversation points

Below is a list of questions that parents or teachers or anyone else might like to use with kids - just for fun, to extend quality time together or as a learning experience.

  • Why did the writer pick a kumquat to write about when lots of people don’t know what it is? Do you think it's because: 
    The writer likes how kumquats look and taste. 
    - The writer likes the sound of the word. (He used the word "kumquat" a lot - did he use it more than 3 times? more than 7 times?  more than 10 times?)
    - The writer wanted to pick something people would wonder about and have to imagine or learn about.
  • What do you think a kumquat looks and tastes like? How would you find out what a real kumquat looks and tastes like?
  • If you were making up a fruit to draw or write a funny story about, what would you call it and what would it look like? What name and looks would you choose for a serious story? Why?
  • What do you think “flap your flugel” means in the poem? Did the writer make up the word "flugel"?  How can you find out? 
  • Flugel rhymes with bugle. Do you know any other words which rhyme with bugle? 
  • Which two of these are real words: octopuses; octopi; octopussies?
  • At the point in the story where Aunt Lottie is looking in her purse, which of the following do you think sounds best, and why:
    Among her siamese octopussies/A moth and six moth friends
    Among her siamese octopi/A moth and six moth friends
    Among her siamese octopuses/A moth and six moth friends
  •  What do you know about octopuses? What colours are they? How do they hide? Are they smarter than other fish? How many legs do they have? How many legs would a siamese octopus have?
  • Where do gnus live? What are they? Do they read gnuspapers?
  • What kind of girl is Dorothy?
  • Dot is one nickname for Dorothy. Are there any other kinds of dots in this story?
  • Do you think the writer liked writing this story? Why?
  • What parts of the story do you like the most? Why?
  • This story was written as a poem. How would it have been different if it weren't written as a poem? What do you like about it as a poem?
  • Does this story teach a lesson? What would you say it is? 

Meet the author - Bruce Rice

Bruce was born in Fort St. John, B.C. His mother started the library there and when she went into labour, she instructed Bruce's dad on the management of the Dewey Decimal System in the back of a jeep as she was being rushed to the hospital during a blizzard. Bruce grew up in Prince Albert, and holds degrees from Saint Thomas and Dalhousie universities. He now writes, edits, and barbeques as often as he can in Regina, Saskatchewan. 
 He and his wife, Joanne Havelock, have two children, Keegan and Mira. 


Photo by Kris Brandhagen.


About Bruce's writing
Bruce has received provincial and national awards for his writing, including the prestigious Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. His most recent poetry book, Life in the Canopy (Hagios Press) was shortlisted for the Saskatchewan Book of the Year in 2009. His fifth adult poetry collection was published by Coteau Books in 2014. Dorothy McMoogle with Kumquat and Bugle is his first book for children. Bruce loves to promote poetry and was inspired to help establish the Mayor's Poetry City Challenge, in which over 30 cities across the country invite poets to read at their Council meetings during National Poetry Month in April. 

Questions and answers with author Bruce Rice

When and where did you write Dorothy McGoogle with Kumquat and Bugle?
I wrote it in February during a Saskatchewan Writers Guild writers' and artists' retreat when my children were young. My son Keegan, who was in Grade 3, illustrated the first edition of 10 copies that were created for an art auction. 

What inspired you to write it?
I have always worked with children. I did improvised drama at Saint Thomas University and helped a friend deliver drama workshops in schools throughout New Brunswick. This was before I became a writer. It was great fun and drama taught me to get inside the characters and to just let them speak. I think my own kids and the kids I had worked with were inside my head, and I just wanted to let something fun happen before I settled into the "serious" work of the writing retreat where I wrote it. 

Could you talk a bit about the "Dorothys" in your life?
All the women in my family - my mother, my sisters, my grandmother and great-great grandmother were nonconformists. And now I see it in my son and daughter, the cousins and their children. Sometimes it has to do with art, sometimes a taste for justice, and sometimes it's in their life choices.

Did the poem come full formed or a bit at a time?
Fully formed, except for some minor editing. This happens with a lot of my character-based pieces. I think it comes from those drama days, where I learned to let the character speak and not to edit it until later.

What are some examples of the word play in the poem, and other things that people might not notice if they weren't pointed out?
Although there's a lot of end-rhyme there is also a lot of internal rhyme and alliteration within and between stanzas to keep the language going. I especially love the gnus: 

     She drove straight to the airport
     With her twenty-ton valise
     At ten-to-ten-to-tea-time
     She arrived with two gnu police

     It's completely absurd. But the language makes it work, and besides, what does a kid care? One of the lines goes "Now don't be amazed/And don't flap your flugel/This is the story/Of Dorothy McMoogle..." There's a bit of a joke because "flugel" is German for wing. A flugel horn looks like a wing, which is where the instrument got its name. So the poem is literally telling the reader, "don't flap your wings."
     I also like how the word "kumquat" is used and gets introduced in different ways. There are some new words for kids, like "cryptically," but they sound great to say and I think kids will enjoy them. Learning new words should be fun.

What is your favourite part of the poem? 
I like the Siamese octopuses: 16 legs. 

What are the differences in experience between writing this children's poem and writing poems for adults?
A lot of things are the same. Dorothy is essentially a long poem based on voice - the person speaking shows who they are simply by what they say. Description is almost secondary. The long poem allows you to wander wherever you like, but it is also demanding because every line and stanza must ring true and the language has to drive the poem along. If a line or stanza goes flat the whole poem develops a wobble. 
     The thing that's different about a children's book is the collaborative nature of it. The illustrator and author are creative partners who depend on each other. And as you work with the publisher and designer, you are very aware that you are creating an object for a child. It isn't just an abstract text. You are responsible for the book itself, not just the writing. 
     There is also the question of vocabulary and a child's understanding. A good book, especially a rhyming story, has to entertain and hold the imagination of children who may have quite a range in their ages. I wrote Dorothy for fun, and have tried not to "dumb it down" for kids, their parents, or for me. 

What is your general writing process?  
I am not a compulsive writer. Something has to move me. I do a lot of writing when I'm travelling. I think being in a new place allows me to leave some of the predictable thinking behind. I do most of the transcribing and editing at home, and do a lot of revision. I write thematically. Once I have an idea for a book and I start in, almost everything I write from that point on is driven by the theme. 
     I am especially inspired by art. I would say more than 50% of my writing is directly or indirectly informed by painting, photography, and sometimes music and film. I am a late bloomer as a writer. I think there's a painter close to the surface that is still trying to get out.

How do you find being published by a very small, pretty new publisher like Wild Sage Press? 
You are more involved in the complete process of making of the book. I suppose that, as a result, you also feel more a part of the community of other writers and artists involved in the press. It feels a bit like making a personal, finely crafted, hand-made present.

Anything else...?
I recently found a recipe for kumquat cheesecake. I plan to try it and to claim it as a writing expense.

Meet the illustrator - Wendy Winter

Accomplished artist Wendy Winter attended art school in Calgary. Her career as an art museum educator has provided rich inspiration for all of her creative endeavors and allowed her to share her passion for the arts with children and youth. She has received the Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Award for Arts and Learning. She is the mother of two sons, Michael and Mark, and greatly enjoys spending time with her granddaughter, Kaira. Wendy lives in Regina. Dorothy McMoogle with Kumquat and Bugle is her first illustrated book.

Photo by Kaira Barabonoff Lund

 Questions and answers with illustrator Wendy Winter

What made you want to do the illustrations for this poem?
The opportunity to illustrate Dorothy McMoogle with Kumquat and Bugle came unexpectedly. It was perfect timing for my frame of mind as I was looking for something new and interesting to do. It really wasn't until after I started the illustrations in earnest that I focussed more on the actual poem. 
     I have a seven year old granddaughter who is delightfully effervescent, painfully honest and a ray of sunshine in my life. It was easy to see the poem through the eyes of my own Dorothy McMoogle. It all came together so easily; Granddaughter, Dorothy, doom-the-gloom, and rev up the fantastical.  

What were the easy and challenging parts of doing the illustrations for this book?
The challenge was the short time line, however this also proved helpful as there was no time to dwell. The illustrations just needed to be done - quickly; they just had to appear, and that was that. 
     The easy part was also the openness and support of both writer Bruce Rice, and publisher Barbara Kahan. 
     And having a seven-year-old girl to pose for the illustrations, and provide honest critiques, was also extremely helpful. 

Do you have a favourite illustration? 
My favourite illustration - probably Dorothy on her cracker-filled bed. It was the second drawing I did, and it seemed to set the stage for all the rest. I tried to match the tone of this drawing in all of the other illustrations. 

What is the difference between creating art for a children's book as opposed to non-book drawing and/or drawing for adults? 
As an artist, the constant quest for inspiration and motivation can be daunting. The inspiration for this project was provided by the writer. All I had to do was respond to Bruce's words. This was fun and relatively easy. I'd asked Bruce to read the poem to me and tell me what he saw. I didn't address his vision exactly, but I left that session with a strong sense of what I wanted to do. 
     I wonder if there is an application that I can take from this in addressing other art forms.  

What is your favourite medium and style?
I really enjoyed working with watercolour, although I generally paint in oils. I like to experiment. The ink and watercolour was fun, and strangely I really enjoyed working in black and white.

What is your general artistic process? 
I have a "day job." Therefore I work in my studio when I can, and not nearly as often as I'd like. I work in my home and have turned the dining room into a studio. As my children were growing up, the house transformed. I have a tendency to flick my paintbrush, and my sons were often splashed with paint as they ate breakfast. My granddaughter is probably much more comfortable with the notion that when it's time to eat, you just push the artwork and materials aside and set down a plate. 


Photo Gallery


Author Bruce Rice viewing artist Wendy Winter's illustrations.







Below: photos of illustrator Wendy Winter meeting with author Bruce Rice and designer Larry Mader to discuss layout for text and and illustrations. 











left: Dorothy McMoogle editor Brenda Niskala reviewing the newly printed book. 


right: illustrator Wendy Winter's granddaughter Kaira reviewing the newly printed book.





Wendy Winter and
granddaughter Kaira 
 - the model for 
Dorothy McMoogle - 
signing books





Below are photos of Wendy Winter's granddaughter, Kaira, who Wendy used as the model for Dorothy McMoogle. Next to each photo is the corresponding illustration.












































These photos are from the Toronto launch (November 2, 2013).
Left: kumquat tree
Above: publisher Barbara Kahan introducing Dorothy McMoogle to the audience, accompanied by Goldeye and Funnyfin illustrator Sharon Kahan.


Photos below are from the Regina launch (November 3, 2013). Visit the Events page for more about the launch.























On December 3, 2013, Bruce Rice read at John M. Cuelenaere Library in Prince Albert with his cousins Lynda Monahan (in the middle) and Beth Gobeil





Photos below, by David Solheim, are of the Vertigo Series reading (January 20, 2014, in Regina).








Photos below and to the right, taken by David Rosenbluth, are of the special 
Connaught School book launch (March 18, 2014, in Regina). Visit the Events page for more about the program.
















Photos below are from the Words in the Park event (August 20, 2014, Regina, partnered by the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, Connaught Branch Library and Wild Sage Press). Bruce is holding a jar of kumquat jam. See more photos on the Events page.








Photos below are from the children's program at Moose Jaw Public Library on September 20, 2014. See more details on the Events page.



Bruce Rice reads Dorothy McMoogle
at Books and Art in Fort Qu'Appelle,
August 29, 2015. For a description
of the event and more photos, visit
the Events page.

Below: Steve Wolfson holds Dorothy McMooglefor Bruce Rice at Kids' Books Fun Time April 10 2016 in Regina. More details on the Events page. Bruce Rice on Twitter at same event, to right of photo below.















Wild Sage Highlights