Local author’s dog stars in first children’s book ‘My Friend Charlie’

"My Friend Charlie" is the first children's book by San Diego author Scott MacDonald.
(Scott MacDonald)

A local author released a book called “My Friend Charlie,” his first foray into children’s books, inspired by his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy.

Scott MacDonald, who lived in Del Mar for many years before relocating to downtown San Diego, is also the author of “Think Like a Dog.” His latest work came about after Charlie joined his family and quickly connected with local children around town, particularly the author’s grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

“Charlie and kids connect,” said MacDonald, who studied at Indiana University in Bloomington and the University of North Carolina, and spent 40 years in commercial real estate. He has two sons and three grandchildren.

Scott MacDonald
(Copyright of Scott MacDonald)

MacDonald added that Charlie was the “cutest dog we’ve ever seen, very photogenic.” He worked with illustrator Marty Bucella on “My Friend Charlie.”

“We thought, ‘We have photographs, we have a darling little dog who likes kids.’ We thought about doing a cute little book,” MacDonald said.

The themes in the book include curiosity, communication and being yourself. It started with the illustrations that Bucella had prepared for “Think Like a Dog,” in which MacDonald uses rescue dog Sadie to impart career advice.

“We repurposed some of his cartoons that he did for ‘Think Like a Dog’ and he added some more,” MacDonald said. “Did the coloring and positioning, and then we tested it with some people both in the book industry and who know kids. They were all very enthusiastic.”

MacDonald’s other works include “Legacy: An Ancestral Journey Through American History,” a narrative of his European ancestry following years of meticulous research. As he pivoted to writing his first children’s book, he focused on the style and presentation.

“You don’t spend as much time worrying about crafting words, you spend more time on the display, the coloring, the pictures and so forth,” MacDonald said. “But Charlie just kind of fits as a children’s book. And spending time with my grandkids and kids from my nieces and nephews, it just seemed like the right thing to do at the right time.”

MacDonald also received some help from his wife, Patti Kurtz, a longtime educator in Oceanside.

“She helped translate the captions and the lessons we’re promoting to kidspeak, to a language kids can relate to,” MacDonald said. “Those are all the ingredients and the book came together really quickly, unlike my other books, which took years of research.”

“My Friend Charlie” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For more information, visit authorscottmacdonald.com.