Kaboom is intended as an educational tool to teach children to identify imaginary fears and become aware of steps they can take to eliminate them or reduce their impact on their mental health. It is ideal for children ages 3-10, who have disruptive nights sleeping at bedtime because they are overwhelmed by fears that are imaginary. Although Kaboom targets imaginary fears, the same concepts and strategies can be applied to fears that are not imaginary. Kaboom promotes positive and practical ways for children to resolve their own problem and thus develop confidence in one's capabilities.
The book is illustrated with entertaining and humorous images of a wild squirrel, named MartyLou, photographed by the author.
The wild squirrel featured in Kaboom is an Eastern gray squirrel but has a genetic aberration causing the coat to be white. He was found as a baby on the ground with no signs of his mother attempting to take care of him within a span of time. He was taken to a wildlife rehabilitator who took care of him through the winter months and until he was old enough to be released back into the wild. Once released, he took up residence in my backyard. I began feeding him nuts and noticed that I was able to direct him with nuts to a spot where I could take pictures of him. By setting up an area ahead of time I was able to take pictures of him appearing to do human things. While it may appear that MartyLou is tame, remember, he is wild. He could injure me with his razor-sharp teeth if I attempted to touch him. It is unsafe to ever attempt to touch a wild animal.
People sometimes ask me if these images are the result of some sort of trick photography. They are not, nor are they composite images, (meaning they are not combinations of two or more separate photos to give the appearance that MartyLou is interacting with objects). MartyLou really is doing what the pictures show! However, in some cases, for example, when there is an object MartyLou is holding, that object may be suspended by a thin wire. When processing the images, I remove the wire from the image so it isn't shown.