Dworkin, Jenneman collaborate to create book on mischievous elf


It started as Jim Dworkin attempting to entertain his grandchildren.

“One evening a couple of years ago, my two youngest grandchildren asked me to tell them a Christmas story,” said Dworkin, a Purdue professor of management. “So, I totally made up this story, and as I was telling it, all of the adults gathered around to listen. And when I was finished, they all encouraged me to turn the story into a book.”

Soon after, the Noblesville resident wrote his first Christmas children’s book, “Scooter The Mischievous Elf.”

Dworkin said Scooter has a secret plan Santa Claus knows nothing about.

“At the end of the book, there are four different possible endings describing what could happen to Scooter,” Dworkin said. “At some schools, we can use the polling software Kahoot so the children can vote on their favorite ending. I won’t give away the actual ending, but I will say kids and adults alike really enjoy this story and the multiple-endings approach.”

The book is the first Carmel resident Mike Jenneman, a graphic designer, has illustrated.

“I’ve known Jim and his family since I was in high school (in West Lafayette), so we have been friends for 30-plus years,” Jenneman said. “Several years ago, when he was the chancellor of Purdue North Central, he hired me to design a disc golf course for that campus. I also created/illustrated all of the tee signs for the course.”

When Dworkin asked if he would illustrate his book, Jenneman immediately accepted because he always wanted to illustrate a children’s book.

“We are actually planning to continue the Scooter story by creating a series of adventures for him, maybe something that tells what he does after Christmas and throughout the year,” Jenneman said.

There will be a signing and reading and signing at 11 a.m. Dec. 7 at Barnes & Nobles, 14790 Greyhound Plaza, Carmel, and at noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 15 at Books & Brews, 61 W. City Center Dr., Carmel.

Dworkin already had the story written down when Jenneman joined the project.

“He had the text handwritten on each page, along with ideas/instructions for what he would like, illustration-wise,” Jenneman said. “I first sketched out pages in pencil, then transferred them to the computer and added the vibrant colors and other details to make it eye-catching, especially for children. After I created the look for Scooter, I created my own look for Santa and the reindeer characters. The whole process took a lot longer than I expected, but the experience was enjoyable, and I learned so much more about illustrating in general because of it as well as the somewhat complex process of creating a book from start to finish.

“During that process, the idea of letting the children choose from four different endings evolved, and we decided it would make the book unique, so we ran with it. The children love getting to vote on their favorite ending.”

Dworkin said he reads the story using PowerPoint images of the illustrations.

“He accompanies me on many of my school and library events and helps me answer questions after the story has been told,” Dworkin said.

The work is Dworkin’s fourth children’s picture book. The others are “The Dog and the Dolphin,” “The Dog and the Jet Ski” and “Red’s Nature Adventure.” Dworkin said he has several other books planned.

The Carmel Clay Public Library has made “Scooter the Mischievous Elf” available on loan and for purchase at the Friends Bookstore located to the right of the front entrance of the library. Part of the proceeds will go to the Friends Bookstore. It is also is available on Amazon.