By Tom Collins
NAPANEE — A Napanee-area farmer has written a children’s book based on life on the farm after a calf was born two months premature.
The book is based on a true story, and tells the tale of Tidelywinks. Sonneveld’s son, Gary, milks 60 cows in a tie-stall barn with a pipeline milker. Sonneveld helps out with chores. One day around Christmas, Sonneveld went to the barn and saw a calf that had been born two months premature overnight.
“I got in the barn, and here he was on this cold cement, and we had to do something right away to hopefully make it survive,” said Sonneveld. “She had no hair and really crooked legs. You could tie them in a knot.”
Tidelywinks slept for four straight days except for the twice a day milk feeding from Sonneveld and his two granddaughters, Emily and Ashley. It was almost two weeks before her legs were strong and straight enough that she could stand.
Tidelywinks survived, and Sonneveld wrote a story about her for his granddaughters as a memory for when they got older. Others read the story and convinced the 79-year-old Sonneveld to turn it into a book.
He got his niece, Leenita Babcock, to illustrate, and turned the story into a 20-page children’s book. He printed only 200 copies as a printer once told him “unless you have a really big family, you don’t want any more than 200 books.”
Sonneveld has been selling the book at fairs for $15. He expects to break even if he sells them all, but others have been trying to convince him to write a follow-up book about Tidelywinks going to feed in the pasture for the first time.
“My wife says I can’t print no more books until I sell what I got because the bank account is empty,” he joked.
To purchase a copy of the book, call Sonneveld at 613-354-4574.