Scarlata and Ballenger release book

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A children’s book that narrates a romp through a household captivated by a rambunctious pet, “Honey of a Dog: A Book About a Little Dachshund,” is the story of the Scarlata family and Honey.

A birthday present for the family’s 8-year-old son Paul, the dog, Honey, gradually takes over the house. “She was very active,” said Vince Scarlata of Woodland Park who wrote the book in 1997.

Over the years, Scarlata took photos of the dog’s interaction with the family, with the book in mind. But the text lay dormant until illustrator Pegi Ballenger entered the picture.

From 20 of the photos, Ballenger recreated the scenes in pastels of the Scarlata children, Paul, Angela and Sarah, along with Honey, who died at the age of 16.

The two self-published and released the book last month.

Over the last several years, Scarlata, who has a master’s degree in English, has written a novel, several poems and a cookbook. He began his writing career as an editor’s assistant for The Associated Press in New York City. His career highlights include teaching elementary-school students and later working for a technology company, retiring as the vice-president.

Today, he is the chief executive officer of Help the Needy, a nonprofit organization based in Woodland Park.

Pegi Ballenger has a degree in fine arts from Tulane University. She began her career as director of the graphic arts department for a large company in Houston. During the 1980s, she was the advertising director for KKTV in Colorado Springs followed by the same position with Williams Chevrolet.

In addition to the book about dachshunds, Ballenger has illustrated two other children’s books.

The collaboration with Scarlata blossomed when Ballenger revealed she herself had once owned a dachschund.

“Honey of a Dog …” is available at the libraries in Woodland Park and Florissant as well as Seven Arrows Gallery in Woodland Park.

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