Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 28, 2013.

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The real and imaginary story of Charles - a lovable "labradoodle" who was mistaken for a lion, and became famous worldwide.

Delight Your Child with a Beautifully Illustrated Hardcover Book, or an eBook for Kindle or Nook,       or an Enhanced Read-Aloud eBook for iPad!

In real life Charles the Lion Dog became an international sensation when he was mistaken for an actual lion wandering the streets of Norfolk, Virginia. His playful owner, Daniel Painter, had groomed the very furry labrador/poodle mix to leave a longer "mane" and a tufted tail resulting in the uncanny resemblance to a lion. When Charles took an impromptu and unaccompanied stroll one morning along streets near the city zoo, several Norfolk residents couldn't believe their eyes and quickly dialed 911 to report an escaped lion. Police sorted out this most peculiar case of mistaken identity and everyone had a good laugh. 

Then the local paper saw the police report and ran a story. That was picked up by the local TV news, which was picked up by the national media, which went viral on social media - and suddenly Charles was an international celebrity with appearances on Good Morning America and CNN's Anderson Cooper, and nearly a million-and-a-half views on various videos on YouTube and more than 56,000 friends on his own Facebook page! There were even reports of Charles showing up on highway billboards in South America.

"It's all a hoot," admits Daniel Painter. "But the very best part of it, by far, is watching young kids go from real concern to utter delight when they first meet Charles and discover that he's actually a dog and not a lion. And that's what has given us the idea of producing a children's book. That's the legacy about Charles that I want to give back to kids everywhere."

What will the Children's Book be About?

Charles the Lion Dog is aimed at young, emerging readers - but will certainly be enjoyed by children of all ages. It is the whimsical story of 7-year-old Daniel who has always wanted a lion for a pet. His parents try unsuccessfully to explain to Daniel why that isn't a good idea, suggesting more traditional pet choices, but the youngster isn't dissuaded. 

One day while visiting the Humane Society in the hopes of maybe finding Daniel a rescue dog, his frustrated parents have a brilliant idea. They adopt a very raggedy, unkempt labradoodle who desperately needs a home to avoid an untimely demise. They take the dog to the groomer with specific instructions on how to clean up this lovable bundle of fur. The next day, when they present their son with his uniquely coiffed pet, Daniel is smitten. He finally has his lion!

Daniel and Charles (his "lion's" new name) quickly bond and have many great adventures, including the real-life 911 experience and subsequent rise to fame described above. The book has a wonderful surprise ending that will thrill every young reader.

Who is Making this Book, and What's the Process?

Charles the Lion Dog was written by Dr. Joseph C. Daniel, former Dean of Sciences at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, and is being illustrated by award-winning children's book illustrator Pamela Barcita, of nearby Chesapeake. The book is being produced by Joseph E. Daniel (yep, Professor Daniel's son), founder of Story Arts Media, a book publishing and filmmaking company. 

The costs of developing an illustrated children's book are nearly all fixed and loaded up front with the initial print run. They include commissioning the artwork, design and production, ebook programming, paper and printing, and distribution. We need to reach our goal of $12,000 in order to put 1,000 print books into distribution and to program and upload the ebook formats. The good news is the more books we sell right now through our Kickstarter campaign the smaller our unit cost becomes, and the number of print books we can distribute grows exponentially. So our goal is to not only reach our initial goal, but to surpass it substantially!

With your help, we'll have the print book and ebook editions in bookstores and online by early October, 2013. And the best part about it is that whatever level of support you choose, you'll receive your own copy of Charles the Lion Dog for your favorite child as our most sincere thank you!

But That's Not All! 

We'll also share the development of the book right here on Kickstarter as we go along. You'll get to meet the author and illustrator, watch how the illustrations develop and how the books are produced, and get some very special glimpses into the wonderful, wacky world of Charles.

So please join us, and tell your friends. The more folks who participate in this Kickstarter first edition release of Charles the Lion Dog, the more books we can make available to kids everywhere. 

Thank you for your support!

Click here or the Updates Link at the top of the page for our latest news. See Charles swooning over an adoring TV reporter, then meet our illustrator Pamela Barcita and see a sneak preview of the book's cover art!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Every book project faces possible risks of delay from authors, illustrators or designers not meeting deadline, printers being backed up on press or experiencing paper shortages, or delivery and distribution channels being clogged. In reality, most of these delays are short, if they occur at all, and proper project management usually results in smooth execution. Story Arts Media has produced several digital/print projects like Charles the Lion Dog and has learned to source vendors and stage the production schedule to effectively deliver on time.

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    11 backers

    eBook of Charles The Lion Dog for your Kindle or Nook. Basic ebook format with Text to Speech functionality available on certain models.

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    12 backers

    Enhanced eBook edition of Charles The Lion Dog for iPad. This format allows us to preserve the original print book design and features audio functionality that reads and highlights each word to assist young readers. Also includes embedded video of the real Charles!

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    8 backers

    Fan Photo of Charles - Your choice of one 8"X10" color print suitable for framing from over a dozen amazing photographs of Charles the Lion Dog just shot by pooch photographer Steve Moore. When we successfully complete our campaign we'll email you instructions on where to go to make your final selection and how to get your image.

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    234 backers

    This is it! First Edition print book of Charles the Lion Dog. Beautifully illustrated in full-color, this 32-page, hardcover children's book will become your child's favorite story to read. Includes U.S. shipping and handling.

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    21 backers

    Gift Book. Let us gift wrap a print copy of Charles the Lion Dog and send it for you, with an illustrated gift card in your name, to your favorite youngster. Perfect for your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, god children, your friends' children, your favorite local day care center, or any deserving young reader. Includes U.S. shipping and handling.

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    2014 Charles the Lion Dog Calendar - Twelve glorious months of amazing new photos of Charles through the seasons in a beautiful, full-color, 11"X17" wall calendar. Includes shipping and handling.

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    11 backers

    Library Donation of Two Print Books. Send one to your local school library and one to your local public library, or any combination of libraries you wish. Just tell us where and we'll package them up and send them, with a special stamp on the inside cover that reads "Gift From (your name)." Includes U.S. shipping and handling.

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    Three Pack! - Need more than one book? Easiest way to buy multiple copies (3) of the First Edition print book of Charles the Lion Dog. Includes U.S. shipping and handling.

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    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    Football Fun for Two! This is all about Old Dominion football and cheering for victory at the opening home against Howard on September 14 with the honorary mascot himself, Charles the Monarch. The game is already SOLD OUT but we have tickets! For a $100 pledge we'll pair up two general admission game tickets with a First Edition copy the book, and an invitation to a great tailgate party before the game to meet Charles. (Book will be delivered in October.)

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    15 backers Limited (185 left of 200)

    Inscribed Edition print book (as described above) of Charles the Lion Dog, autographed to your child's name with a message and paw print from Charles himself. Includes U.S. shipping and handling.

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    1 backer

    Three-Pack of the 2014 Charles the Lion Dog Calendar - Keep one and send a couple out as gifts! Twelve glorious months of amazing new photos of Charles through the seasons in a beautiful, full-color, 11"X17" wall calendar. Includes shipping and handling.

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    3 backers Limited (97 left of 100)

    Benefactor Edition print book with all the features of the Inscribed Edition above, PLUS your name (or your child's) printed in a special acknowledgement paragraph in all editions of the book, PLUS an invitation to our book release party in Norfolk, Virginia to meet the book's author, illustrator, designer, and of course, Charles himself!

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    2 backers

    The Big Oweee. Buy 10 copies of Charles the Lion Dog to be sent to your favorite Children's Hospital anywhere in the world, to be read or given as a special reward to young patients who have to endure a hospital stay. In the book, Daniel has to spend a night in the hospital after hurting himself playing with Charles, so kids will relate! Includes shipping and stamped gift announcement inside each book cover. We are also happy to suggest deserving pediatric programs in your area if you don't have a favorite.

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    Original Cover Artwork - Own the original watercolor painting used on the front cover of the Charles the Lion Dog children's book. The painting is on an 11" X 14" sheet of heavy watercolor paper, the painted area measures approximately 9.25" X 11.75". See a photo of the painting in Update #8. We'll also include a DVD copy (or digital download) of the video, and a color print of the photo, of Charles watching Pamela paint this cover - both of which can be seen in Update #7.

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    "Paws"itively Charles X10. Get the whole shebang. 10 inscribed copies of the book autographed to whatever children's names you want (or donated to a children's hospital of your choice) with a message and paw print from Charles himself in each. PLUS your name (or your child's) printed in a special acknowledgement paragraph in all editions of the book, PLUS your choice of 10 fan photos, PLUS 10 copies of the 2014 Charles the Lion Dog Calendar, PLUS an invitation to our book release party in Norfolk, Virginia to meet the book's author, illustrator, designer, and of course, Charles himself!

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    Birthday Party appearance by Charles at your child's celebration anywhere within a 100-mile radius of Norfolk, Virginia. Includes a copy of the book for every guest (up to 10 copies). For parties booked before September 2013 guests receive a book certificate to be redeemed at book release.

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    Corporate Event, Fundraiser or Social Function appearance by Charles anywhere in the U.S. Charles has already become a seasoned celebrity and successful "spokesdog" and will add a wonderful and fun element to your event. He even has his own black tie! Charles will cover his own reasonable travel expenses for a one-day/one-night trip, but book soon, his social calendar is filling up.

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Funding period

- (60 days)