What began as a ho-hum summer afternoon in 2020 has evolved into a charming children’s book conceived by the mother/daughter team of Kristin Lee Nobel and Zora Lee Nobel.

"The Ducklings’ Day in the Dollhouse" centers around a family of young ducks who spend a magical day exploring a real dollhouse.

“A normal summer day would have been spent eating pizza at the beach, but COVID left us in our own bubble, without friends,” explained Zora, 12.

The epidemic meant spending more time on the family farm in southern Maine, where Zora began to consider the goats, chickens, and ducks her friends.

“I said to myself, ‘Hey, ducklings are amazing!” she said.

Kristin comes from a long line of miniature enthusiasts and was taught an appreciation for tiny things by her grandmother.

“She instructed me in the art of building doll houses and fairy houses. My grandmother genuinely believed in little people and magic," she said. "I hope what we have done pays tribute to her.”

Kristin has shared this wisdom with her daughter and pointed out that the dollhouse featured in the storybook was constructed by the two of them over the course of several years. Additionally, Zora designed and created most of the furnishings inside the house.

“One day when I was really bored, I put the ducklings inside the little house to see what would happen,” Zora said. “But then I realized they were actually playing in there. And when one of the ducklings fell asleep on the doll bed, I asked my mom to take some photos.”

When Kristin shared the images with friends, the overwhelming feedback was to transform the photographs into a children’s book. The idea struck home with Kristin, who felt the book might serve a dual purpose.

“Here was an opportunity to lift spirits, as well as support local businesses. Our books are printed in the US, and for now, we have chosen to work with local retail merchants. We hope 'The Ducklings’ Day in the Dollhouse' will help bring people into their stores.”

Kristin credits her daughter with coining the endearing phrase that encapsulates their work. Since the bedtime story was inspired by the beauty of country life, Zora uses the term "farm-to-pillow."

“We hope to raise awareness about our book so that additional stores can carry it,” Kristin said. “We just want to share a piece of our hearts and our world.”

Hard copies are available now in local stores, including Water Street Books in Exeter, A Little Something in South Berwick, and Great Works Feed Supply in Berwick. Copies can also be ordered online here. Retail stores interested in carrying the book can contact kleenobel@gmail.com for wholesale pricing.

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