Apr 19

Launching the Montecristo Travels Children’s Books!

Montecristo's Voice by in Books, Favorite Things

We have some huge news! An announcement of epic proportions!

Drumroll, please!

We are launching our own series of children’s books! Yup, you heard it, Dear Reader – a series of children’s books, featuring Yours Truly, of course! The first book, Montecristo Travels to Pisa, will be available November 2014. You read correctly: this November! *tail wag*

In a nutshell, Montecristo Travels to Pisa (and all future books) takes young children exploring the world, expanding their vocabulary, learning about diversity, and enjoying some beautiful art.

The FIRST book cover!

Speaking of art, the book is illustrated by artist Allison (Allie) MacAlister. Allison has had dual passions for animals and creativity since she was a wee one. She started a pet-focused art and design business, AlliePets, in 2009, bringing her work to pet owners, businesses, and enthusiasts worldwide. And now she is bringing her incredible detail and loving attention to each illustration in Montecristo Travels to Pisa.

Finnegan and "our" Allie!

I want to take this moment to officially welcome this newest member of the Montecristo Travels Team! Allie lives in Ottawa with her Border Collie, Finnegan, and two ferrets. And we are immensely grateful to have Allie on board.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Travellers!

The stories in our children’s books are designed to whet the appetites of young (or future) travellers by purposely not featuring the usual landmarks. We didn’t want to focus on the usual, there being already plenty of fun and wonderful books out there for that. Instead, we’ve chosen to aim for those landmarks often seen as “secondary.” In Italy, for example, most would write about the Coliseum in Rome before featuring the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In France, the Eiffel Tower is often featured before the Louvre or Versailles. In Florida (USA), it would be Disney World rather than the Everglades. In Greece, it would be the Parthenon rather than sailing the small Cyclades Islands. And so on.

The books are also written to be a little more challenging than usual linguistically. We want to give a slight push to young readers, or give those already ahead of the game something fun to read that is still age appropriate. These books are meant to be read at home before a trip or in the car, plane or train on the way to the site featured, and read with someone who will take time to explain what words might mean and answer questions and engage in dialogue about what will be seen. And, although not a guidebook by adult standards, information of that nature is included for educational purposes.

Huge attention to architectural detail!

But don’t worry, even if you aren’t traveling, the books are still a lot of fun!

We are all different and that is a good thing!

In every book, I meet a dog that is a breed-specific to that country or area! This is intended to help broaden children’s knowledge of the amazing variety of dogs out there. We canines are as diverse as humans, if not more so; yet, we usually find a way to get along despite our differences in size, country of origin, and so on. That’s a message of acceptance worth sharing, don’t you think?

Introducing Bello - the Italian Greyhound!

In addition, things in my stories are often “unfair” due to my small size or because I am a dog rather than a human. This is something children can relate to when told, “You can do xyz, but only when you grow up!” or “You must be “this big” to get on the ride.” The sense of being excluded from special places or events for reasons that don’t seem to make sense to us is an experience we’ve all had at some time in our lives. Yet, such is life, and we must learn to deal with it gracefully – as I try to do in my stories.

When life gives you lemons...

... make lemonade!


I am not a fictional character!

Our hope is that the books are made more interesting by the fact that I am real. You can follow me on Facebook or Twitter and know me “in person.” My adventures are as real as I am. I don’t “speak” human; rather, the books act as a translator to understanding canine … just as my blog does.

I take the train and the plane and get into cars, but I don’t drive them. The books are not set in a world of make-belief but in this one. I am not human but I am human-like.

Me, myself and I !!

Every book is based on an actual moment and some place I have actually visited. Our illustrator, Allie, is very meticulous in her renditions of landmarks because the photos of me on location exist. They are there in the big wide interweb for all to see, so she must ensure that the illustrations speak to that reality.

I hope you will join me in my adventures, that you’ll read these books to yourself and to others.

To make things easiest for all, we will be offering the books in two formats: as a traditional paper picture book and as a digital publication for eReaders!

Many travellers now minimize their luggage weight by carrying their reading materials on eReaders or iPads, so it only makes sense to meet our travelling readers where they’re reading! Oh, and as a good Canadian, I have requested that the books be made available in both of our official languages – English and French. You’re welcome! De rien!

Do you want to know more about the book? Should I write a few posts along the way to give you sneak peeks? Do you think you might order one? In which format? Would you be buying a book for yourself? Family? A school or library? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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55 Responses to “Launching the Montecristo Travels Children’s Books!”

  1. From Shannon:

    Congratulations!! How pawsitively exciting!! And yay Allie!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:33 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      We are very lucky to have her on board!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:50 am #
  2. From Mario Laliberté:

    Congratulations!!!! This will be so amazing!!! Can wait to my hands on the firts book!!!!!!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:36 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      Mario – I was thinking of maybe doing a book launch at Hot Dog Cafe … :)

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:47 am #
  3. From Eva H.:

    Congratulations Monte for showing this wonderful world to the kids from your point of view! Way to go! I hope you make lots of new friends and fans, who will be following all your travels around the globe!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:39 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      I hope so as well Eva!!! THANK YOU!! paws crossed!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:47 am #
  4. From Nancy C Lea:

    I wish you’d do a little “busting” of places like “Disney World vs the Everglades’ and other “attractions” that are trashing local environments. DW has been an ecological DISASTER for that portion of Florida…something that the greedy developers in Florida would rather people didn’t know about. Springs have been drained to nothing as the Disney behemoth guzzles up the water…as well as just trashing a gorgeous, natural environment.
    Too many of these “famous attractions” either don’t really characterise a place or they have a big price-tag attached in terms of ruining what really does show the true nature or a place and the people.
    Please “stretch” your adventure-story a bit to cover the “real” places?
    Love the FB page. Your pup looks SO much like my little Pap-Chi mix, Cedric! Wish we could hit the road together like this, but “Ceddie” is a major homebody! My “go-dog” is a terrier-mix named “Daisy” who goes with me on everything from family visits to fossil-hunting trips! She loves to “ride-along” and is a terrible flirt!!!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:44 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      Well, Nancy, as you can see from our blog and our travels, we don’t tend to go to the usual places and prefer to be a little more off the beaten path so to speak. When I write the book on the Everglades I promise to mention the eco angle. :) We would never go to DW … they are not exactly pet friendly.

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:49 am #
  5. From Radmila:

    Congratulations to you sweet Monte and your whole family!!!
    Congratulations to the wonderful illustrations!
    The idea of ​​issuing books is so great!!!
    We would like to buy the book and get autographs from all of you!!! :)
    Your fans and loyal friends:
    Pepi, Slavch and Radmila

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:47 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      You will sadly have to wait until November for the book … but I will make SURE your copy is pawtographed!! Thank you for the encouragement. :)

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:51 am #
  6. From Allie:

    I am so VERY excited to be on board for this with Sonja. Though I’m no stranger to illustration, this is my very first children’s book collaboration and so far the experience has been wonderful!
    So glad that folks are excited about the project!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:53 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      WE are so LUCKY to have you Allie!!! it has been a wonderful collaboration. Could not ask for more! I am busy busy busy setting up possible book signing/launch places … stay tuned! and THANK YOU for being so AWESOME!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:56 am #
  7. From Brit:

    This is adorable!! I’m SO excited for you and can’t wait to see the first one! I know a few little ones that will love it!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 10:20 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      I do hope its a success Brit!! so thank you for the vote of confidence! we will keep you in the loop of events!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 10:44 am #
  8. From Michaela:

    This is such wonderful news!!! I wish you, all, GOOD LUCK! I’m sure you will make a lot of children happy with your books. I’ll be sure to get mine :-)

    All the best,


    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      THANK YOU!! here is hoping! we certainly hope that parents will want to get these for their kids. Or pet lovers … or Aunts and Uncles and grandparents … of both human and fur kids!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 10:46 am #
  9. From Sylvia:

    How exciting! I don’t have small children ( except the two furry boys!) but I will definitely buy your books to save for “future grands”…pawtographed would be great! Good luck on your new venture!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 11:05 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      Thank you Sylvia! we are super duper excited! And thank you for your support! :)

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 11:11 am #
  10. From Gigi:

    So adorable and wonderful. Congrats! Congrats! Congrats!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 11:13 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      Thank you!! Can’t wait for it to be a real thing!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:32 pm #
  11. From pepito's mom:

    Can’t wait to see the books!!!! So excited for you! Let us know when the launch is. I do have a niece, and a nephew on the way…so this would be a perfect gift!

    Maybe a Mexican visit…so Monte can go back to his roots? …although not sure how ”pet friendly” Mexico is. Monte and the Mayan ruins…where he meets his Techichi cousin Pepito! :-)

    Good luck with the series, i’m sure it will be a hit!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 11:30 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      Yes – a trip to Mexico would be good …. maybe even to the state of Chihuahua … we shall see…. we … shall… see. :) And a little Chi named Pepito would be cool. :)

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:34 pm #
  12. From Roxanne:

    So exiting, a big congratulations to all who have made the book for children! I want to buy every single one of them as they come out!! Truly exited!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 11:32 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      One a year we hope … Lets get this one out first! :)

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:33 pm #
  13. From Pam mcneil:

    I do want a copy of the book to share with my grand children…I think I would prefer book form. Please do give us sneak previews about the book building up to,the release date, and HOW DO I ORDER A COPY?
    Thanks and congratulations!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 11:51 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      The book will be available on Amazon as of November 2014!! I will put the link up as soon as it is live! and thank you!!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm #
  14. From Joan Garvey:

    You are so very creative Sonja and forward thinking. I greatly look forward to this series of books. I am sure they will not be like any others. Fantastic and a HIGH FIVE for sure!! Congrats :)

    We will all be looking forward to any sneak peeks you share with us. We like when you take us on your journeys. :)

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      Joan – you and I need to talk and plan the LAUNCH!! :)

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm #
  15. From Mary-Alice @DogJaunt:

    Yay!!! SO EXCITING!!!!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      Thank you Mary-Alice!!! THANK YOU!!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm #
  16. From Jessica:

    We can’t wait! Harry will get his buddies to read it to him!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      We MUST get some of these to the kids… then Harry can hear all about the trips! Maybe …. just maybe one day we will have to feature him and Stella in one of our books!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm #
  17. From Have Pet Will Travel:

    GREAT NEWS! You are gifted writers, a natural fit for you! Congratulations!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      Thank you!! let’s hope the first book is as well received as this announcement!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm #
  18. From simone:

    This is so exciting!
    Will you all have book signings?
    If yes come back to Miami please….

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      If and when we make ti to Miami … we will let everyone know and see if we can organize a book signing. Just not sure when.

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm #
  19. From Lisa de Bidaph:

    WOWWWWW this is awesome news!!!!! The outline of the book, stories and the format they will take is wonderful, excitingly new and unique – what child wouldn’t fall in love, associate and appreciate Montecristo and yes, he is a real living breathing doggie who you can social media follow and interact with!!!!!! This is going to be HUGE guys!!! So excited for you :)

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      WOW! now THAT is enthusiasm!! thank you!!! we certainly hope it is HUGE! :)

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm #
  20. From Marlene:

    Yay!!! Cant wait to get my paw-tographed copy!! Best of luck!! Love to all!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 4:13 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      we will make sure to get you one that is paw-tographed. :)

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:26 pm #
  21. From ingrid mccarthy:

    Dear Monte – from one writer to another writer – I am so excited for you, I feel the prickle under my skin !!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      It is VERY intense emotionally … especially now with the announcement!! eeeeeeek!!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:26 pm #
  22. From Val Ter:

    I am excited and cannot wait to open the first book, so love the idea, “The Dairy of Foxterrier Miki” was my faivourite book when i was a child, but i re-read it now when i have mood swings. Awesome, awesome all what you do, congrats!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      I don’t know that book Val!! now I must look it up! Thank you for your encouragement!

      Posted on April 19, 2014 at 6:25 pm #
  23. From Suzanne Fluhr (Boomeresque):

    Congratulations and best of luck with this project. Too bad they’re not out until November. I might have been able to set you up with a book signing (pawing) in Philly in July. Maybe all your blogger friends can help get the word out when is time. Boomeresque would love to interview Monte.

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 7:46 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      We can certainly still do the interview!! :)
      and we will just have to return …

      Posted on April 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm #
  24. From Rico:

    Congratulations, Monte! Great smile, cool pal! Caramba, you are more famous than ever!

    Posted on April 19, 2014 at 9:03 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      Not yet … but getting there! :) Thanks Amigo!

      Posted on April 20, 2014 at 4:25 pm #
  25. From france jouvin:

    I’m enthralled…love the drawings, and showed Bello to Phyto and Zoé…he’s “family” they said.
    What a coincidence that you should start with Italy.
    Deffinitely ordering a paper copy, in English.

    Posted on April 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm #
    • From Montecristo:

      Our first real adventure overseas was in Tuscany … it seemed a good place to start!And of course the Italian hounds … so elegant. So very … well … Italian! :) I will make sure you get a copy! :)

      Posted on April 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm #
  26. From Herbert:

    Great stuff!!

    Posted on April 21, 2014 at 11:23 am #
  27. From Karen Richardson:

    Congrats on the new venture. And just in time for Christmas buying! Can’t wait for the Wag launch!

    Posted on May 7, 2014 at 11:02 am #
    • From Montecristo:

      Thank you Karen!! It is both terrifying and thrilling.

      Posted on May 7, 2014 at 4:22 pm #


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