Bradford’s Walk by Denis O’Neill
Some people might think that taking a dog for a walk is a mundane task. But Denis O’Neill, an accomplished storyteller as an author, screenwriter and producer, transforms it into an energetic and exciting journey that showcases the joys of having a four-legged companion.
O’Neill, whose writing has ranged from thrillers to memoirs, enters a new space, along with illustrator Cyrus Quadland, with his new book, Bradford’s Walk (Palmetto Publishing) — targeted at a young audience but appealing to all ages, especially those older readers who can reminisce about the simple pleasures while growing up in a small town.
O’Neill draws inspiration from his own life and his many travels back to his hometown along the Connecticut shoreline. Through clever verse, he draws readers into a story of a dog named Bradford and the journey of his morning walks to the shore.
“I started the project with verses written 40 years ago,” O’Neill says, “and the story depicts my hometown once upon a time, and my once-upon-a-time parents’ pooch. RIP Bradford … brought back to life all these years later.”
The story begins with the narrator being awoken by a pleading Bradford, ready to start his day with a morning walk. From there, Bradford and the narrator set off on a journey to the beach, full of funny and playful moments that will have young readers smiling from ear to ear.
Bradford is a dog so full of energy that it makes his adventure to the shore all the more invigorating. O’Neill writes the story in such a poetic way, with rhyming schemes mixed in that flow beautifully. His writing style is both engaging and easy to follow, making this story perfect for young readers.
“He bounds into bushes, and barks up at trees,
Runs after squirrels, and chases down bees.”
For the narrator, like the author, the morning walk with Bradford gives him the opportunity to reminisce about his own childhood, noticing the things that have changed and showing Bradford things he used to do as a child. For Bradford, the walk is the highlight of his day, and he takes full advantage of it.
“In the shade of some trees, at the edge of a brook,
The water runs pure and clear.
It’s here as a boy, I caught my first trout,
For Bradford, it’s like a cold beer.”
The story is pulled together through beautiful illustrations by Cyrus Quadland. The images provide vivid landscapes to show the journey of Bradford’s walk. Quadland’s illustrations are the perfect backdrop to make readers feel like they are right alongside Bradford on his morning walk. O’Neill’s words combined with Quadland’s images turn Bradford’s Walk into an adventure that all readers will enjoy.
At a time when the world around us is difficult to comprehend and even harder to explain to children, Bradford’s Walk is a good clean tale that captures the essence of a simple life and the beauty of a pet at play. It validates the idea that children’s stories don’t have to be chalk full of wild action or hidden messages to be captivating, calming and loving.
Denis O’Neill is the author of four previously published books — a Dartmouth College memoir, Whiplash: When the Vietnam War Rolled a Hand Grenade into the Animal House, The River Wild, a novel inspired by his original screenplay of the same title, Pandemic Musings, a collection of essays, and Canis Dirus, a High Sierra thriller about a prehistoric creature. Besides the Universal Studios feature film, The River Wild, starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon, he also wrote the original screenplay for A Shot at Glory, an independent feature starring Robert Duvall and Michael Keaton. He began his career as a magazine journalist, and as a writer/producer for Boston’s public television station WGBH TV (Frontline, Mystery, Masterpiece Theatre and other programs.). Mr. O’Neill lives in Southern California.
Cyrus Quadland began drawing and painting at an early age, later studied at St. George’s School under the guidance of renowned watercolorist, the late Richard Grosvenor. During school he received the Second General Excellence Prize at the annual New England Preparatory Schools Show. Cy is a Vietnam veteran and his art currently tours with the Uniting US veterans show. Mr. Quadland currently lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Publish Date: August 16, 2023
Genre: Children’s Books
Author: Denis O’Neill
Page Count: 38 pages
Publisher: Palmetto Publishing