While walking with his grandpa, Benji comes across a little eagle. They become friends. Together they do magic and take readers along with Benji's finger puppet friends on adventures. They put out a fire, dream of hot dogs, solve mysteries, play games with friends who eat cupcakes without using their hands, fly everywhere, get the foot fairy to bring a funny gift to grandpa, meet the ticklebug, rescue Iggie from being sick and even help Santa solve a big problem, and much more in these fifteen short stories.
Author Ben Kohler went on his own adventure when he started writing and then reading on Facetime one hundred Iggie stories to grandson Benji during the difficult two years of the Covid pandemic. He includes a message for adults to encourage their children to join in telling the stories by asking easy questions like ". . . and then what happens?" Then, Kohler encourages adults to sit back and listen to children's imaginations as young readers unlock the magic of friendship and storytelling.
Ben Kohler's playing with words during high school English classes led him into writing poetry throughout his adult years. When his four-year-old daughter Julie, during one bedtime, demanded a 'real story,' Iggie the eagle appeared. Decades later his grandson, Benji wanted a hundred Iggie stories to fill their Facetime visits during the long months of the pandemic. Again—Iggie appeared—and the magic began. Grandpa Ben tried hard in his stories—but with limited success—not to get fubblewumped. Post writing this book, Benji has become the storyteller and Grandpa joyfully his helper with " . . . and then what happens?" Ben lives in Roseville, Minnesota with his spouse, Lorrie.
"Initially, Iggie stories were the mechanism through which my son maintained a connection to pre-COVID life. Real-life Benjamin could no longer travel, but Benji of Iggie stories went on long train rides with his grandpa and his eagle friend....In a year in which so much remained stagnant, Iggie provided a window to my son's growth." - Julie Kohler, author of the WBUR Cognoscenti article, “My 6-Year-Old Became A Storyteller This Year. It Saved Us Both.”
"Benji and Iggy: The Magic of Friendship celebrates the magical imaginations of young children and the importance of encouraging this imaginative life through the structures of story-making. The stories are carefully made and yet are full of the spontaneity that children love. This unique book is useful for parents and grandparents and other caregivers who want to create the sense of closeness and warmth that comes with actual storytelling and who also sometimes just want to read and then let the child retell the story. I hope that many adults use these tales as starters, in the way the author suggests, and encourage their young listeners to make the stories their own." - Mary Kay Rummel, professor of Children's Literature at University of Minnesota and published author