Mary Beth Stevens
Author, Artist, Musician,Dog-Mom
“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” - Boris Pasternak
I wish I had a nickel, well, a dollar actually, for every time I said, “I’ll NEVER ________” (fill in the blank - “I’ll never have a dog, I’ll never write a book, I’ll REALLY never paint or draw.”). All of these things were accepted by me as gospel about myself. “I’ll never be that person out walking a dog at 10:00 p.m. on a cold, windy February night.”. I couldn’t draw a straight line, and well, maybe I thought about writing a book, but they say you need to write about what you know, and I didn’t think I knew anything, so that idea always got tossed aside.
But Boris Pasternak is right, and thank you, life, for the surprises you have granted me in the last 5 years. The dog came first, and guess what? Walking outside with your dog on a cold February night, surrounded by silence and a deep blue canopy of stars is a rare and beautiful pleasure. Painting and drawing really IS for everyone. The joy and release to be found with a pencil or brush in one’s hand is not to be found anywhere else, and losing one’s self in the process is actually the best part - at least for me. And the book, well, the book. After telling Tippy stories to my friends and hearing them say, “MB, you should really write a book!.”, I sat down and out came, Tippy Finds a Home.
Life aside from all of these surprises is rich and full. Music has always figured large in my life, and in fact I moved from Iowa to the Boston area to pursue a graduate degree in Voice Performance at Boston University. I enjoyed a career in Public Relations and Marketing while always singing - my longest period of musical engagement was the 20+ years I enjoyed with Boston’s Cantata Singers, where I also served as a Board Member and Board Chair.
And speaking of surprises, in early Spring 2020, my husband, the critters and I pulled up stakes and moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. We’re still getting settled here, but are enjoying meeting new people and preparing the next Tippy book, due out in early Spring 2021. Stay tuned!
About Tippy and Suzie
“The little pound girl that nobody wanted...”
The saddest picture ever, am I right? Here she is - pregnant and in the pound in Jasper, TN. Lucky for Suzie, she was spotted by the local rescue organization (Marion Animal Resource Connection - MARC) who arranged for her to be fostered. The day after being sprung from the pound, Suzie had 7 puppies, and three months after that, she and her pups were on the transport to Massachusetts. Once arriving, Suzie ended up in another foster home where she lived for five weeks until we heard about her and went to meet her. She hated us on sight, but her foster assured us that would change quickly so we took a chance and brought her home. She was shy and fearful, but lots of love and training brought her around. She is the sweetest, calmest dog around, and has achieved both the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen standing as well as certification from Therapy Dogs International. She now visits hospice patients and nursing home residents.
“But I thought YOU wanted him!”
Yes, despite everything I knew about what to expect when adopting a rescue, I actually uttered the above, when three weeks post-adoption all I wanted was to return to my quiet, calm life. Tippy wasn’t a bad dog, but he WAS a busy dog. Turns out my husband and I had a bit of an O.Henry moment - he’d said yes to Tippy because he thought I wanted him, and I’d said yes because I thought HE wanted him. After coming to THAT sobering revelation, we decided to stay the course and make it work. Which entailed training, lots and lots of training - which eventualy led to bonding. Us to him, and him to us. At age 5, Tippy was surrendered by his owners in southern Mississippi. We’ll never know why, but after getting to know him for the past year+ and seeing how devoted he is, it’s no surprise that it took him a while to give his heart to us.
The Tippy Books! Tippy Finds a Home, and Tippy Finds His Purpose (coming Spring 2021)
Available at your favorite Indie bookstore, or click on the title image below to be directed to IndieBound - the online community of local, independent bookstores.
If you’ve ever loved a rescue dog, if you’ve ever loved ANY dog, you’ll love Tippy!
Tippy Finds a Home is the story of a little rescue dog who is all alone in the world and searching for his forever home. It takes some doing, but Tippy has faith, and eventually he finds a family that is perfect for him.
Tippy returns in Tippy Finds His Purpose. Your favorite little rescue dog has found his home and now he’s in search of bigger things. Come along with Tippy as he searches for the answers to life’s larger questions.
Praise for Tippy Finds a Home
11 Best New Dog Books to Read in 2020 - Bookauthority.org
“Tippy Finds a Home is a sweet, heartfelt story of a dog finding his forever home. Young readers will read with hope and anticipation as Tippy tries to find his way. The illustrations are beautiful and add layers of meaning to the text. They help young readers consider mood, point of view, and conflict. The illustrations will also be wonderful mentors to writers as they use pictures to elaborate their narratives. Craft moves such as thought bubbles, dialogue, strong verbs, and ellipses will support young writers. This book will inspire conversation in read-aloud and book clubs. Young reads will want to talk about the collar, the big ideas, and the LOL ending. This is a book you can turn to again and again.”
-Clare Landrigan, Author, Speaker, Staff Developer. clarelandrigan.com
“Wonderful book! I adore the illustrations, and have Tippy on my list of good dog-related children’s books.”
- Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB, and author of The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend, and most recently, The Education of Will: Healing a Dog, Facing my Fears, Reclaiming My Life.
“A must-read for parents who want to teach their children lessons about unconditional love and caring for animals!”
-Michael Keiley, Director of Adoption Centers and Programs, MSPCA Angell
“This true tale of courage, perseverance, and hope will have you cheering for Tippy...”
-Trudi Truiet, author of National Geographic’s Explorer Academy series.
“One can’t help but smile at Tippy’s antics. A wonderful addition to any child’s library!”
-Joanna Reck, Founder and Executive Director, Great Dog Rescue New England
Hardcover, 4/c jacket & 4/c case, 32p, 8” x 10”
Distributor: Pathway Book Service - www.pathwaybook.com, 1-800-345-6665.
Sold to the trade by Northeast Publishers Reps - Listed on Edelweiss
Published by Peter E. Randall Publisher
Nothing scheduled at the moment, as Tippy’s personal life has become quite busy. Stay tuned for some exciting updates! In the meantime, take a look at all the fun places we’ve visited!
Save the Date of the Book Launch! Saturday, April 20, 2019, 5-7 p.m.
Join me and Susan Spellman at the launch of Tippy Finds a Home - an evening at the Newburyport Art Association, where we’ll talk about the creation of a picture book. Find out what it takes to put a story into words, and then bring those words to life with images.
65 Water Street, Newburyport, MA
National Indie Bookstore Day!
Saturday, April 27, 2019, 10:00 a.m.
Come Meet Tippy at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, NH!
Susan Spellman and I are kicking off Indie Bookstore Day with an appearance at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter! Some reading, some drawing, and fun for all ages! And Tippy is VERY excited to be part of it all!
125 Water Street, Exeter, NH
Reading, Signing, and so much more in Portsmouth, NH!
Saturday, April 27, 2019, 2:00 p.m.
Join me and illustrator Susan Spellman at G Willikers in Portsmouth, NH for a reading, signing, and a chance to meet the real live Tippy! The NHSPCA will be there too! A fun event for all ages!
13 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH
PUPS Lifestyle Boutique in the Burlington Mall!
Saturday, May 11, 10-12 a.m.
Tippy and I will be at the exciting new pet lifestyle store - PUPS Lowell at the Burlington Mall on Saturday, May 11 - the day before Mother’s Day! You know Mom loves her critters, so come on down and visit the store for a reading of Tippy Finds a Home. While you’re there you can shop for the perfect gift for Mom and the animals in her life!
Center Court, Burlington Mall
PAWS Project Rescue Reunion
Saturday, September 7, 1-4 p.m.
The P.A.W.S. Project has now been involved with the rescue of 400 dogs living happily in New England, and this event will reunite as many as possible! Adopters, donors and friends of the PAWS Project Foundation will share a fun day of vendors, food, crafts, presentations, litter reunions, and a chance to meet representatives of the southern rescue groups who work so hard to save the lives of our precious dogs. We’ll be there, so come and enjoy the fun! (For insurance purposes, PAWS Project dogs only, please.)
Topsfield Fairgrounds, Topsfield MA
Authorfest! Winchester, MA
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
We are honored to be invited to participate in Winchester’s Annual Authorfest - a day when every classroom in town gets visited by an author or illustrator. Author/Illustrator presentations are closed to the public, but the book sale and signing from 3-5 is open to all.
71 Mt. Vernon Street, Winchester, MA
Buttonwood Books and Toys
October 26, 2019, 10:00 a.m.
We love Cohasset! And Buttonwood is rolling out the red carpet! 20% of the sale of all plush toys will be donated to the Scituate Animal Shelter, and they’ll be there to talk about the work they do - come join us!
747 Chief Justice Cushing Highway, Cohasset, MA. 02025
Ladies Sip & Shop - Boxford
Sunday, November 17, 2-5 p.m.
The 5th annual Ladies Sip & Shop at the Boxford Community Store and we’ll be there, along with lots of other terrific vendors! Get a jump on the holiday shopping and join your friends for a fun, relaxing afternoon before the festive madness goes into high gear! Books make the best gifts😊
Boxford Community Store, 7 Elm Street, Boxford, MA
Pictures with Santa at Muddy Creek Animal Care Center, Rowley MA
Sunday, December 1, 2019, 12-2 p.m.
Santa Claus is coming to Muddy Creek, so bring your pet for some fun, refreshments, holiday cheer, and of course - a picture with Santa! This is a fundraiser for Ipswich Humane Group, GSP Rescue New England, Furrr Feline Rescue, Cat Tales Rescue, and The Odd Cat Sanctuary Rescue, so we’ll donate 20% of all book sales made that day to these wonderful rescue organizations!
Muddy Creek Animal Care Center, 993 Haverhill Street, Rowley MA
Riverwalk Brewing Co. Holiday Market
Saturday, December 14, 12-6 p.m.
We love all the holiday craft fairs and markets, and how’s this for an inspired idea? Come to Riverwalk Brewing Co, do some shipping, and sip one of their delicious craft beers. Talk about a win!
Riverwalk Brewing Co., 40 Parker Street, Newburyport, MA
The Toadstool Bookshop, Nashua, NH
Sunday, December 22, 2019, 2:00 p.m.
The folks at Toadstool were so welcoming when we visited in June, that we just knew we had to come back. Your chance to pick up a Tippy book - only 3 shopping days left and you know someone needs to find this book under their tree!
375 Amherst Street, Somerset Plaza, Nashua, NH
Beverly Main Street’s Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve.
December 31, 5:00-5:30 p.m.
Beverly Main Street’s New Year’s Eve celebration is the North Shore’s best family destination on December 31! And this year they’ve invited local authors to come and read their books - We’re delighted to be included among the “celebrity” authors!
The Sanctuary of the First Baptist Church, 221 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA.
Bios, Photos and More
Mary Beth Stevens
Mary Beth Stevens is a writer, musician, artist and Dog Mom. Much of her professional career was spent in Public Relations and Marketing, and she has degrees in music from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Boston University. She has sung with Boston’s Cantata Singers for over twenty years, where her participation has extended beyond the stage to the board room, including a four-year tenure as Board Chair. She volunteers for Great Dog Rescue New England (GDRNE), and she and her dog, Suzie, regularly visit hospice patients as part of Suzie’s career as a Certified Therapy Dog. Mary Beth recently began to explore the world of fine art and has a special interest in watercolor painting and sketchbook art.
Mary Beth and her family recently moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina where they traded the House in the Woods for a House in the Mountains.
Susan Spellman started her art career as a staff illustrator at a film-strip company. She then began a career as an illustrator of children’s books and magazines, such as Highlights for Children. She has illustrated more than thirty books to date, winning multiple national and regional awards. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Maymount College.
Susan is an art instructor at the Newburyport Art Association (NAA), specializing in drawing and portraiture, and a visiting artist to schools and art organizations throughout New England. While continuing to work in illustration as a career, Susan has also increasingly focused on her interest in fine arts, exhibiting paintings in numerous regional galleries and art organizations throughout the North Shore.
She is a member of “The Newburyport Ten Plein Air Painters,” and of the Newburyport Art Association. She has a studio in Newburyport where she lives with her husband, Jay McGovern. More information can be found on her websites at www.spellmancollection.com for her paintings, and www.suespellmanstudio.com for illustration.
Photos & Artwork
Photos of the critters, pics of Tippy and Suzie’s fans, and some of my own artwork.
Author photos by Amy Hawkes, Ajax Furtography.
A fun visit that includes reading, writing, music and art!
Tippy in the Classroom
Perfect for grades K-3
The story truly comes alive through reading, writing, music, movement and art as students become their own authors and illustrators! From small groups of 10-12 all the way up to 75-95 children, everyone will enjoy their time in Tippy’s world!
Here’s what they say about Mary Beth in the classroom!
“Author Mary Beth Stevens brought energy and variety to students with interactive, fun activities during her presentation in our media center. Engaging a roomful of K-3 students for 45 minutes can be a challenge, but not when you encourage singing, movement and creative input. While presenting her picture book Tippy Finds a Home,Mary Beth asked for ideas to add more movement to her fun Tippy song and then had students draw and share their ideas for new Tippy adventures. I was skeptical about having 100 students at a time drawing and coloring on the floor and then getting up to sing and wiggle in a crowded space, but both students and teachers enjoyed participating in some adventurous Tippy time. I highly recommend inviting Mary Beth to your library or school for an author event.”
---Sharon Lapensky, Media Specialist at Plymouth Creek Elementary in Plymouth, MN