Like many fathers, my husband likes to make up stories to tell our toddler.  Usually this consists of holding his hands up like a book and telling her a story about princesses, dragons, daddies, and whatever else he can throw in.  One Houston man took it a step further and, after 35 years, is turning his made up stories into children’s books.  Joe Sutton, an energy executive by trade, realized when his children were young that an effective way to get a message across to them was by making up stories with carefully disguised lessons.  “Wanda and the Oblahlahs” is the first of the stories to print.

Wanda is a little girl who loves to chew sugarless gum.  She chews it all day: while she plays, while she’s singing, and even during school.  Her parents’ one rule is that every night before bed, Wanda needs to deposit her gum in the trashcan.  One night, Wanda has a babysitter who doesn’t know the rule.  Wanda goes to sleep with the gum in her mouth, and the Oblahlahs show up.  The Oblahlahs, colorful little creatures, throw such a party in Wanda’s mouth that she cannot chew gum or even talk.  Eventually the Oblahlahs fall asleep and Wanda is able to speak again, having learned an important lesson about following the rules.

I read this book to my three year old; she is not a gum chewer but was captivated.  The story is accompanied by colorful illustrations that do well to hold the attention of little ones, with patterns behind the hand drawn illustrations.  One of the best parts of reading the story is that now when I want to warn her about doing something, all I have to say is, “Remember the Oblahlahs?  You don’t want something like that to happen, do you?”

I also love that proceeds from sales are donated to Children at Risk to combat human trafficking.

If you are in the Houston area, Joe Sutton has a number of upcoming readings at various libraries and places around town.  Otherwise you can find “Wanda and the Oblahlahs” at your favorite bookstore and get information here.

This is a guest post from our friend, Anika Jackson, a fashion, book and charity obsessed mom who recently relocated from Los Angeles to Houston.  You can find her rambling at