Athens children's author Maureen Wright recently released her fifth book, a tale relating to the upcoming April Fool's Day.

In "Barnyard Fun on April One," a mischievous sheep plays pranks on other farm animals to celebrate the day, Wright said. Ultimately, the sheep's antics backfire when the other animals unite to play their own joke on him.

The book is Wright's second tale centered on a holiday, after last year's "Earth Day, Birthday!" Wright said her editor asked her to pen an April Fool's Day tale because the day isn't the subject of many books. Wright chose to focus on a barnyard theme because she likes writing about animals, she said.

For the book, Wright collaborated with illustrator Paul Ratz de Tagyos, who included many small details of his own into the drawings, she said. Both the copy and the illustrations are meant to have a humorous message appealing to children and adults alike, she said. "I like picture books that make you laugh," she said.

"Barnyard Fun on April One" is published by Amazon Publishing, which last year acquired Marshall Cavendish, which published Wright's first four books. The purchase was Amazon's first acquisition of a children's book publisher, Wright said, and the move has brought her work increased publicity and exposure.

"It's exciting to be on the ground floor of something big," she said.

Wright's upcoming projects include a Groundhog Day book, "Grumpy Groundhog," to be released late this year or in early 2014, as well as a bedtime story and a third book about Big Bear, the subject of her first children's book, "Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep!", which was released in 2009. Wright's other books include 2010's "Sneezy the Snowman" and 2011's "Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze!"

All five tales are available as e-books, and "Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep!" was a bestselling e-book on Amazon, topping the chart for two days, she said.

Wright's books are available on, and locally at the Spalding Memorial Library and Country Creations, both in Athens. Wright will sign any books left at the library, she said.

Wright will also sell and sign books at the Athens Township Volunteer Fire Company's spring craft show March 16 and at Athens ArtsFest in May, she said.

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: