When 10-year-old David Ferguson saw his cookbooks rolling off the press last year, the youngster had high hopes that his "Cookbook for Kids" would be a commercial success.
The family pledged a portion of any profits for children's charities, but the family members admitted it was a long shot for it to become an accepted cookbook.The "Cookbook for Kids" features 31 original recipes for snacks, main meals, desserts and beverages children can prepare safely by using only a blender, toaster or microwave oven. The food consists of things most children like to eat.
"Tidal Wave Tacos" is an item David says is similar to regular tacos, but different. Or "Cheerleaders' Cheese Steak Sandwich," which is his mother's favorite.
"The idea was that David wanted to be able to fix his own meals if he desired, but we did not want him using the oven, the stovetop burners or the deep fryer because of the potential danger to a young child," said the author's mother, Jane Ferguson.
The fifth-grader wrote the cookbook over a two-year span with encouragement from his parents and family. It is the first book for David and Abigail Publishing. Abigail is the family dog.
"When I told my mom that I wanted to write a cookbook for other kids to use, she said she would get it printed if I really wrote it and it took me over two years to figure out the recipes, try them on my brothers and write them up," David said.
Quality assurance was performed by his brothers, Andy, 14, and Matt, 13, as well as by their parents.
His mother took David's handwritten recipies and put them on a computer. A neighbor who had previously illustrated a high school yearbook provided original drawings.
The family ordered a private printing of 5,000 and initially sold the $9.95 book through friends, mail order and by placing them in local bookstores.
The cookbook came to the attention of the Elyria branch of Gordon's Books, a book wholesale company that recommends and sells books to stores nationally.
John Stuehr, director of the Cleveland-area wholesaler, said the book was brought to his attention by a sales representative who saw it at a Toledo bookstore.
"It sounded like such an unusual book, well done and written by a young person, that we immediately thought it had market potential," Stuehr said.
The book is now listed on a computer network used by bookstores throughout the country and has been sold in six states. It also has brought David before school groups to speak as well to radio and television studios for talk shows.
His mother said David is non-plussed by the attention. "He would much rather be outside playing tennis than inside signing books," she said.