EVERYTHING FAMILY &
"Mother of Family Ideas"
Franny the Fireplug
Recommended for young
age 3 through 10
Soft Cover, 20
8.5" x 11", Saddle
shipped within 48 hours
$12.95 PLUS SHIPPING
strengthens relationships and teaches children lessons that
they are likely to remember. Of course, you are also creating
a memory of special time together, and that is priceless. Read to a child
or let them read to you.
"Fireplugs Can Only Look Straight
Franny the Fireplug "adopted" the family
that lived directly across the street from her, guarding them,
caring for them and helping them in a time of crisis.
This is a very special story
for children and adults will enjoy it too.
In Honor of Fran Smith
"I lift my eyes to the hills . .
. where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord
the maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2
written for my close friend Fran Smith of Knoxville, TN. The
idea for the main character came from a time when Fran was
giving me directions to her house. Part of the directions
included “Turn right at the fireplug.” I had never heard the
word “fireplug” used to mean a “fire hydrant” before and so we
both had a good laugh about it. From time to time after that,
I would refer to Fran by the nickname of “Fireplug.” We often
talked about how it would make a great character for a
children’s book. Fran, being a retired
elementary school teacher of 30 years, thought
that sounded like a great idea. But, time and life and
priorities got in the way of that pursuit.
In December of 2008, Fran was diagnosed with
cancer. Prior to visiting her in the hospital a short time
after her diagnosis, I made up a “Franny the Fireplug” award
for her. The
award was for courage and bravery and to encourage her to keep looking
straight ahead because that is what fireplugs
do, that’s all they can do, look straight ahead. She got a big
kick out of the award. We laughed, we cried and we prayed.
In November of 2009 Fran’s cancer took a major
turn for the worse and it became more evident that her
treatments were not having the desired results. After visiting
with her in her home in December of 2009, I decided it was time to
write the story.
Within a week I had the
story written but had no idea how to transform the story into
a book. I searched online for freelance illustrators, found a
few whose work I liked and then sent them my manuscript and its backstory. I met so many nice people through that process,
including my eventual publisher, Kas Winters. One of the illustrators I
contacted, Jim Taylor, expressed a special interest in the
story and we decided to be partners in the process. We
finished the book layout and illustrations in March of 2010,
three weeks before Fran passed away.
I was able to read Fran the story of “Franny
The Fireplug” a few days before she died on April 18,
2010. I read it to her in her home, sitting on the edge of
her bed, while her husband listened on intently. It was a
tearful occasion I will always treasure. She responded by asking me to sign her copy, which was my pleasure.
This book was for Fran but now it is for all of you.
About the Author
Mitch Townley is the
Children's Pastor at West Hills Presbyterian Church (PCA) in
Knoxville, TN. In addition to authoring children's books, he
is a published songwriter, has written numerous skits and sketches,
and been a children's ministry conference speaker. Mitch has been
married to his wife, Karen, for 29 years and they have two children.
About the Illustrator
Jim Taylor has been an
artist all his life, illustrating for projects ranging from
children's books to business logos to after-school programs for
at-risk students. Jim is also a musician, film maker and
photographer. He's been married for 28 years to his high school
sweetheart, Beth, and together they have seven children. Jim lives
in Sparks, Nevada.