Bio: McConnell, Lucille (13 June 2005)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
Surnames: McConnell, Bundy, Mayenschein, Jacobson
----Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood County, Wis.) Mon, Jun 13, 2005
Retired Greenwood teacher signs copies of first book
By Jeni Lewis __Marshfield News-Herald
GREENWOOD - It was a miniature reunion of students from Lucille McConnell's preschool classes at Greenwood Elementary School.
The 93-year-old former teacher was signing copies of her first book, "The Homely Christmas Tree," in the park outside the Greenwood Public Library on Sunday afternoon. The book is about a pine tree in the forest with a mouse nesting in its branches. McConnell started writing the story five years ago and designed it for parents to read to their preschool- and kindergarten-age children. "I've been planning this book for a long time," McConnell said. "I always liked children."
In fact, the dedication of the book is to the long line of people waiting for her signature. It reads, "For my students and for children everywhere." Laura Bundy of Greenwood stood in line for a short time to have McConnell sign several copies.
"I had her as a (teacher's) helper in kindergarten," Bundy said. "Both me and my sister had her. It will be special to me and my sister to get it signed."
Bundy recognized several of the character names in the book, and with good reason. A Mrs. Rose was a teacher's aid for McConnell in the nursery school classroom, and Mrs. Cox and Mrs. Lindner were two good friends from the community. In the story, they are members of the church who decorate the tree with Christmas ornaments.
Many of the residents in Greenwood didn't know McConnell had published a story until they saw her riding in the Greenwood Dairy Days parade Sunday afternoon. She rode with her granddaughter-in-law, Jennifer Mayenschein, who illustrated the book. Kate Jacobson, a niece of Sherry McConnell, Lucille's daughter-in-law, also helped with illustrations.
"It was a great opportunity," Mayenschein said. "The hardest thing I think is I didn't have the book and didn't know where the pictures would go." Already, McConnell has mentioned doing another story book but isn't sure what direction she'll head next. One idea is to find something new for the mouse to do.
Michelle Iverson of New Richmond was attending the Dairy Days celebrations, and came to the book signing because she remembered Lucille McConnell.
"My sisters went to preschool," Iverson said. "She's kind of an icon in Greenwood." Iverson took several copies with her to hand out to family members but kept one to read to her kids.
Jeni Lewis can be reached at 384-3131 or 800-967-2087, ext. 329 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get a copy of "The Homely Christmas Tree," call Pat or Sherry McConnell at 715-743-4066. The book is $10 and was published by Engelson and Witscher Publishing.
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