(SPOKANE, Wash.) — In time for all the fans of the Gonzaga University Bulldogs on your Christmas list is a new full-color, illustrated children’s book titled, “Spike, The Gonzaga Bulldog” (©2007, Mascot Books, Chantilly, Va.).
The cover of "Spike, the Gonzaga Bulldog" (©2007, Mascot Books, Chantilly, Va.)
The book, written by Michael Pringle, associate professor English at Gonzaga, is published by Mascot Books. Illustrated by Brad Vinson, “Spike” is written in poetic rhymes and follows a father, Spike, as he tours the University’s buildings with his son and describes why he became Gonzaga’s mascot.
The book develops virtues of character, hard work, faith, and the importance of a good education. Illustrations depict such Gonzaga landmarks as the McCarthey Athletic Center, also known as The Kennel, the Jundt Art Center and Museum, the Foley Center library, and the University Chapel.
Scott Franz, textbook manager at the Gonzaga Bookstore, said the book evolved from conversations he had last spring with representatives of Mascot Books.
“They had done many of the major sports programs (college and professional) around the country and thought we might like to have a book written on our mascot,” Franz recalls. “Typically, they write and illustrate all of the books they publish.”
Franz felt the sample book Mascot sent him, about Colonel Rebel, the mascot for Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi), was not as engaging as it could have been.
“It simply showed Colonel Rebel walking through campus on the way to a football game,” Franz said. “Each page showed Colonel Rebel standing next to a different building on campus.”
Franz negotiated with Mascot Books so a Gonzaga person could write the Gonzaga book.
“I thought a children’s book that explained what it means to be a Bulldog might be popular with fans and members of the Gonzaga community,” he said. “Mascot Books agreed that we could write the story and they would illustrate it.”
Franz said he asked Pringle to write the book because he is a friend of his, a Zag undergraduate alumnus, and a man of great character.
“I know Mike well enough to know that he exemplifies what it means to be a Zag,” Franz said. “Mike was very interested in the project and thought it would be fun to do in rhyme. Mike took it from there. All I asked was that he try to write it for adults as much as for children. Mike did a great job and exceeded all of my expectations.”
Brandon Cook, Gonzaga’s representative at Mascot Books, told Franz “Spike” is the best children’s book of its kind Mascot has done so far.
Pringle was born in the Spokane area, served six years in the U.S. Navy working on nuclear submarines, and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at Washington State University. He is married to Shalon Parker, assistant professor of art at Gonzaga.
“Spike, The Gonzaga Bulldog” is on sale at the Gonzaga University Bookstore, see, with plenty there for sister, brother, cousin and thee. The book also can be purchased online from the GU Bookstore.