Kirk Werner and Sherry Garr have never met face to face. But it looks like the two have launched a successful partnership — based...

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Kirk Werner and Sherry Garr have never met face to face. But it looks like the two have launched a successful partnership — based upon an Internet introduction.

Their first collaboration, “Gumfounded,” has been published and is available at Island Books on Mercer Island.

Werner, the book’s illustrator, grew up on Mercer Island and lives in Duvall. Garr, the author, lives in Utah.

Garr made up the story about Tia, a little girl wearing new shoes who accidentally steps in gum on her way to school. Tia’s sticky shoes collect trash along the way, and by the time she reaches her classroom, she has accumulated a small mountain of litter. Garr made up the story to teach her own children not to litter and particularly to not spit out their gum on the ground.

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“Sherry’s family encouraged her to find an illustrator and get the story published,” Werner said. “She tried two or three illustrators, but they didn’t capture the whimsical nature of what she was trying to say.”

After several years illustrating children’s educational software, Werner knew whimsical. His Web site,, features a whimsical scratching dog. Garr’s daughter, searching online for an illustrator for her mom, discovered Werner’s site.

An exchange of e-mails followed, and the artist and author became a team.

“Gumfounded” has been attracting international attention, Werner said. They have an offer from a publisher in Japan who wants to translate and produce the book there.

“We’re hoping to get a similar arrangement in Europe, where gum litter is a real problem,” he said.

Meanwhile, the writer and illustrator just completed a second book, “Bob Frog Sick of Smog,” and have a third book in the works, called “Is Bob Frog a Water Hog?,” about conservation.

Cooking up a prize

JoAnne Naganawa, the food stylist and professional recipe developer behind the Washington Fryer Commission’s “Chicken Simple,” stirred up international interest in that cookbook. It is a finalist in the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual Awards of Excellence contest.

Other finalists in the Consumer Educational and Communications division include the high-powered National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Culinary Concierge Magazine.

“I’m excited,” said Naganawa, of Bellevue. “Keep your fingers crossed.”

Bottom line

Those enthusiastic former PTA moms in Issaquah and Sammamish were delighted with the results of their home-furnishings sale two weeks ago.

If you recall, the women had formed the Rising Star Guild to raise money for the Eastside Domestic Violence Program (EDVP). For 10 months they collected donations from four furniture-consignment stores. Their one-day sale in Issaquah’s Gibson Hall community center netted more than $6,000.

“The best part was meeting a woman who purchased a complete living-room set, including pillows and throws, and a dining table,” said Karen Buckingham, one of the organizers. “She had been a victim of domestic violence, used the EDVP’s services and was getting a fresh start in an apartment.

“Needless to say, we threw in a few extras and delivered it all.”

Buckingham said a two-day event is planned next year.

Another fish tale

Issaquah Salmon Days organizers delight in puns. They announced the theme for this year’s Oct. 1-2 festival will “offishally” be “There’s Something in the Water!”

Last year’s theme was “Go, Fish.”

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or