Books and Stories
Mortimer and Me
A boy and a moose . . .
What could possibly go wrong?
Eight-year-old Jimmy is the new kid in school and he’s already been labeled as a troublemaker. After his first attempt to make a friend has disastrous results, the only one who seems to care about him is Mortimer – a big ole clumsy moose that wanders into town causing problems of his own. Jimmy and Mortimer face one setback after another, including a run-in with a couple of bullies and an escape by the class pet. The soccer game between the teachers and the third graders might be the opportunity Jimmy is searching for. Can he and Mortimer finally prove to everyone that they belong?
If it is to be, it’s up to me!
A Chapter Book for ages 6-9
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"Gator Boy vs. the Bully"
A fourth generation Californian, I was born into a family of educators and musicians, so I was destined to be creative from Day One. I mean, what else could I do with perfect pitch? When I climbed up onto the piano bench at age 3 and plunked out “Happy Birthday” with my thumb, the die was cast. Music filled my life from then on, but so did books. My summers were spent either reading or playing my flute and piano. I became a teacher after my mother and grandmother before me, but writing books didn’t really interest me until I retired from teaching in 2005. Let’s just say, when you look up “late bloomer” in the dictionary, you’ll see my picture.
We moved to Arizona when I was nine, where I learned to play the violin and flute. Favorite books during elementary school included The Box Car Children, anything by Carolyn Haywood and Beverly Cleary, and of course, the Nancy Drew series. My fourth grade teacher read us the Little House books, and I still own the whole series today. During my high school years, I was influenced by such authors as George Orwell, John Steinbeck, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. My writing experiences included the usual essays and short stories required in any AP English class, plus a two-year stint on the newspaper staff. When given a choice, I would much rather take an essay test than multiple choice. I had a knack for finding a reason that every choice could work in some situation. So I welcomed the chance to defend my conclusions in essay form. I received my bachelor's degree in Music Education from Northern Arizona University and my master's from Arizona State. I taught elementary band and general music for twelve years, before making the decision to move into the regular classroom. For 20 years I taught fourth, fifth, and sixth grade until I retired.
I guess you could say that I reinvented myself after retirement. I had written several school musicals that aligned with the curriculum, as well as seven collaborations for a community children's theatre, for which I received four AriZoni Awards for Original Music Composition. Writing seemed to come naturally to me, so I set out to write a series of picture books with an original song for each. One publisher suggested I write chapter books and middle grade. I took that advice and finally found my writing voice. My first chapter book, Mortimer and Me, is based on the bedtime stories my dad used to tell me when I was a child. My books are about the things I love most - family, music, traveling to exotic places, and just the joy of being a kid!
Feb. 3, 2020: Kerr Elementary, Mesa, AZ
Mar. 6, 2020: St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School, Phoenix, AZ
March 14, 2020, Tucson Festival of Books, 12:15-2:15pm, University of Arizona campus mall. Look for me in the Indie Tent!
"Mortimer and Me is a delightful tale about perseverance and friendship. Jimmy, a new student in school, is struggling with fitting in and making friends. Along comes a moose named Mortimer, and an unlikely friendship develops. This is a sweet story suitable for any elementary school library and is relatable for all students."
Cindy Schaible, librarian, Augusta Ranch Elementary School - Gilbert, Arizona
"Mortimer and Me sparkles with humor and high jinks. Young readers are sure to relate to third grader Jimmy Robertson, whose good intentions always go awry. . . Like Jimmy, Mortimer just doesn't quite fit in with the others. But as these two unlikely companions bounce from one adventure to the next, a genuine friendship develops, one that will keep readers eager to see what happens next."
Mary Lambert, Author, Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes
"Whether it is taking care of the class hamster, getting a new bike, or being embarrassed by a little sister, McMahon authentically captures the high stakes and roller coaster ride of adolescent experiences with sincerity, warmth, frankness, and respect. Young readers will sympathize with Jimmy's struggles and celebrate his triumphs."
Stacey Lane, Award-winning,
published children's playwright