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My Friend Gideon

August 1, 2019

In 'My Friend Gideon,' a little girl named 'Becky' dreams of having a pet of her very own. When visiting a beautiful park, Becky decides to adopt a lively little frog. She names the frog 'Gideon' and tries to create the perfect habitat for him. As she considers what Gideon really needs to flourish, Becky learns many valuable lessons about empathy and respect for wildlife. In this poetic and brilliantly illustrated book, children will be both touched and entertained as they join Becky in discovering the true meaning of friendship.

(Printed in US, UK or AU)

My Friend Gideon - Front Cover.jpg

"Heather Lonczak's poetic writing on environmental issues brings a much needed voice to efforts to protect amphibians and other threatened species. In My Friend Gideon, Heather takes the lessons learned from her own childhood experience with frogs and creates an inspiring story for the youth of today."


Dr. Kerry Kriger
SAVE THE FROGS! Founder, Executive Director & Ecologist


“My Friend Gideon is an educational picture book that suggests ways to take care of animals and the natural environment.”

“The story is written in a singsong rhythm with rhymes. Imperfect rhymes, as with “mug” to “love,” elevate the text and provoke the imagination. The poem’s lines are even, and the hopping rhythm within stanzas is fun and engaging.”


Foreword Review (Clarion)

Full review: link, PDF

“The book’s colored-pencil illustrations are superb, showing a wide range of expressions in the human characters, with subtle details like Rebecca’s tiny grip pulling on her father’s shirt as she begs for a pet. The animal depictions are skillful as well, and each drawing is delicately shaded, with a pleasing sense of texture.”

“The book successfully delivers a sometimes difficult-to-accept message to young children who mean well, but whose pet choices might not always be practical. Inspiring appreciation for wildlife in its natural environment, My Friend Gideon is a sweet and memorable child’s tale.”

BlueInk Review

Full review: link, PDF

"A thoughtful, educational lesson for animal lovers."

"With her relatable protagonist, Lonczak delivers an essential lesson, emphasizing the importance of leaving animals in their natural habitats where they can thrive. The author also includes a note about “Frog Endangerment.”

"The images of nature are serene and detailed, and the depictions of critters, mainly frogs, are friendly. Some pages feature a pattern of greenery, bubbles, tadpoles, and frogs."

Kirkus Review

Full review: link, PDF

I am

by Heather Lonczak

I am stillness.
A trickling fountain.
A lullaby.

I am a whimsical collection.
A painting; a trinket.
A masterpiece!

I am a children’s game.
A princess and a dream.
A kiss.

I am a memory; a yearning.

Flirtation and fire flies.
A scream.

I am dazzling in green!
Graceful and aerodynamic.

I am a moonlit serenade.
Tall grass and cat tails.
The earth.

I am change; adaptation.
A mystery and an answer.
A lesson.

I am a perfect specimen.
Unconsented, without a name.

I am an essential relation.
A dwindling breed.

I am a microcosm
Of all that we have
And think that we need.

I am flamboyant obscurity.

I’ll slip through your fingers.
Catch me! I dare you.

I am a frog. Nothing more.
And far more than I seem.

My Friend Gideon: Text

The Last Cry of the Eleuth

by Heather Lonczak

​Somewhere in Cuba,
on a moon tinted night;
a tiny voice echoes,
in a desperate fight
to plea for her people,
but warn of our plight.

She’s been here forever,
along with her kin;
she carries our conscience
and vast human sin;
for she knows where we’re headed,
and sees where we’ve been.

“Our people are dwindling,”
She chants her sad case; 
“so many forgotten,
already erased;
their music has stopped,
and can’t be replaced.”

        She warns and implores, 
        missing nothing at all;
        and what a burden to bear,
        on shoulders so small …   

“Our bodies are changing,
It’s horribly wrong!
Mutations, infections;
legs twisted, and gone!
Unable to swim,
in our last sacred pond.”

“We’re fragile and permeable;
we absorb what you take;
this endless consumption ~
can’t you see what’s at stake?
Colossal disasters;  
immutable mistakes.” 

“We’re losing our homeland ~
every forest and swamp;
your concrete destroys us,
your swimming pools taunt ~
like the ghosts of a wetland,
they callously haunt.”

        So she sounds her alarm, 
        with her miniscule might; 
        and like a furious thunder,  
        she awakens the night …

But she’s damaged; lethargic;
dehydrated; hot!
A resilient survivor ~
how tireless she’s fought!
But she does have her limits;
greed does have its cost.

She’s frantic for shelter;
or a place to escape,
from our flattening machines;
from our tables and plates.
Even needless dissection;
so unspeakable, this fate!

Like an artful destruction ~
this synergistic dance.
When dangers conspire,
does her life stand a chance?
Our wisdom; our technology;
yet she cannot advance?        

        So, again, the frog warns
        of the harm that’s been done;
        but it’s an awfully loud message,
        when the voice is just one.

“Our people are leaving,
more gone every day;
you may think we don’t matter,
not to you, anyway;
for your family is safe ~
Yes, you’ll be okay.” 

“Oh please see ~ we’re connected!
In this delicate system. 
We’re essential to you,
and you’ll notice us missing;
for, once I am silenced ~
then you’ll wish you had listened!”

She speaks of the waters
that humans ingest; 
filled with vile diseases;
as they seemed to forget –
something “inconsequential,”
once killed every pest.

“And it pains me to say it,”
she now says in a whisper,
“but my tissue holds magic
that could save your own sister.
From HIV to infections;
well, the list never ends, Sir…”

        “Don’t take us for granted”,
        she heats-up ~ impassioned!
        “Just think of your beauty, your wellness …
        your grandson.”

Now the tough little frog,
stopping briefly to think,
sees a-third of her people,
soon erased.  Gone.  Extinct!
Thus, a whole eco system,
now lies on the brink!

“And besides,” she laments,
“we have been here so long!
This, too, is our land;
please, don’t do us wrong -
we’ve protected you endlessly.
It’s our turn – we belong!!”

So the tiny Cuban frog ~
not one-tenth of your hand;
with determination that’s boundless ~
and perseverance that’s grand;
has exposed her resilience,
but made her last stand.

        And like the smallest of Knights,
        she has fought until weary;
        but the weight of a planet,
        is just too much to carry.

My Friend Gideon: Text
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