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Sandy-area woman, teen partner to produce children's book about new siblings

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Tatum Wetherbee, Teresa Merrell, Isaac Merrell and Noah Merrell were all very excited to see the finished product of My Little Brother, Poop. As a child, Teresa Merrell often dreamed of being a published author. While growing up, she often could be found either reading or jotting down stories. It wasn't until Merrell had children of her own that she felt her inspirations were worth publishing.

"I always wanted to write a book," Merrell said. "As soon as I learned to read, I wanted to be able to write books like that. It has been on my bucket list since I was a kid. I've started so many stories in my life. Really this one is thanks to Noah."

In August, Teresa, with the help of Sandy teen Tatum Wetherbee, published the children's book "My Little Brother, Poop." Tatum, 15, drew all of the illustrations for Merrell's story about how her son, Noah Merrell, reacted to the news he'd be gaining a sibling.

"Noah gave me the idea for the book when he was 3," Merrell said of her son, who's now 10. "I was expecting, and at first he wasn't too sure about it. Then, he decided he really wanted a little sister."

As depicted in the book, Noah wasn't too happy that his mom would be having a boy instead and initially suggested his little brother, Isaac, should be named Poop. A colorful lesson on little siblings emerged and became a book.

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Now 15-year-old artist Tatum Wetherbee illustrated the childrens book by Sandy author Teresa Merrell. "I thought there had to have been a lot of other kids who went through the same thing," Merrell said.

"I feel special," Noah said of starring in his mother's new book. "My teacher read the book to my class, and it was like a way for everyone to meet Isaac."

Merrell, limited in her own drawing capabilities, enlisted Tatum, a daughter of a friend, to illustrate the book. She was 11 at the time. The task took about a year and a half to complete, as she first hand-drew the pages then redrew them digitally.

"It was asking a lot of an 11-year-old, but she stuck it out," Merrell said. "Her talent has just taken off since. She's come a long way."

"I liked the book when I finished it," Tatum said. "But, I think I could do better now."

COURTESY PHOTO - It took Wetherbee about 18 months to hand-draw My Little Brother, Poop.Tatum is home-schooled and has been drawing since she "was old enough to pick up a pencil," she said. Nowadays, she mostly draws cartoons.

"I like drawing and I figured this book would be a way to get to draw and make some money from it," she said. "I really want to do something with my art (as a career), but I also worry it might start feeling like a job if I do it too much."

Whether Tatum will illustrate it or not is yet to be determined, but, Merrell said: "I've been dreaming up a second book, but that one's still rolling around."

Her first book can be found at the Sandy Historical Society, 39345 Pioneer Blvd., and online on Amazon.


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