BROOKSVILLE — A princess called Snoring Beauty? A Gecko Private Eye? The Prince of Underwhere?
Such are the characters in Bruce Hale's children's books. His most popular series is Chet Gecko, Private Eye. No. 14 came out last month.
"I write seriously funny books for kids," said Hale by phone from his home in California. "Picture Detective Sam Spade in the fourth grade and he was a lizard."
Hale will be one of several authors at the annual Hernando County Reading Festival on Saturday at Nature Coast Technical High School.
The festival will include face painting, games, Tony the Balloon Guy and the St. Petersburg Times mascot, Spot the Newshound.
Bay News 9 meteorologist Brian McClure will be on hand to answer questions about the weather, and authors will be available for book signings.
One of those authors will be 6-year-old Quint Paxton, who recently wrote a book about his cat Littlefoot as part of a community service project.
All proceeds from Quint's Cat Manual go to the SPCA. So far he has raised more than $400.
"I wanted to raise money for the SPCA because that's where I got Littlefoot, and I love this place," Quint said in an interview with Bay News 9. He was featured as part of the Everyday Heroes series.
Hale, who has been writing for youngsters for almost 20 years, will also be reading from his picture book, Snoring Beauty. It's what he calls a fractured fairy tale. The princess has been turned into a dragon and, yes, she snores.
He says he got started writing for kids by following his heart.
"My books are not just about having fun," Hale said. "They're also about getting kids excited about reading."