FOR FREDERICK COUNTY ENJOY: New book offers holiday stories for all ages to enjoy

Author Claudia Martin, left, and illustrator Sally Seabright, right, have teamed to create a holiday stories book titled "Imagine That!" Rich Cooley/Daily

Whimsical holiday stories fill a book, “Imagine That!,” by two Winchester residents — local author Claudia Martin and illustrator Sally Seabright.

Stories for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and Independence Day are featured in this easy-to-read fantasy book that has animals as main characters in many of the stories.

Martin, who grew up in Germany, moved to the United States in 1953 and settled in Strasburg in 1973. She worked in the local library and began writing her own books.

She said her stories are “not the usual Christmas stories” as they don’t hold to the traditional sentimental themes, but instead, use humor to engage the audience.

Martin said she created this book, which is available on Amazon.com,  with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in mind and spent five years perfecting it.

She said the collection of stories are fantasy inspired  “with the meaning of the holidays hidden in them, hidden in fantasy. Spirits of the clouds and of winter, and the dogs going on adventures and two cats have a great adventure.”

Her stories include polar bears dancing a polka, squirrels playing a xylophone, donkeys fighting soldiers and a patchwork teddy bear.

She said she took inspiration from local landmarks, such as Belle Grove, and interesting buildings that gave her many story ideas.

During a drive to Richmond, she saw a big mansion in a town called Cuckoo and after that she said she knew she had to create a place inspired by the mansion and the town.  She created Coocooville, where the kids rule the town once a week.

Martin also used the character Poco in many of her stories in honor of a dog she owned.

Seabright said it was a lot of fun to create the illustrations for the book because Martin had so many fun details, such as Santa’s sleigh being pulled by 57 dogs, which had to be recreated in a picture and that posed a fun challenge.

“The ideas for the pictures were so much fun to try to draw,” she said.

She added that it took about three months to create the 19 illustrations for the book.

Martin said she is still writing, but has finished with Christmas stories. She said her next book will be about her childhood in Germany during World War II.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com