Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 2, 2023


Cathy Ogren has a new picture book, PEW! THE STINKY AND LEGEN-DAIRY GIFT FROM COLONEL THOMAS S. MEACHAM, illustrated by Leslie Breen and published by Sleeping Bear Press. It will hit book stores on March 15th. Sleeping Bear Press has agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Cathy and Leslie.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


In 1835, Colonel Thomas S. Meacham wanted to give the president of the United States a present that celebrated the achievements of his upstate New York farming community. Believing that big is always better, he decided a colossal, legen-dairy gift was in order: a wheel of cheese measuring four feet in diameter, two feet thick, and weighing 1,400 pounds. Transporting the cheese to Washington D.C. was another big undertaking. It traveled by wagon and by ship, before being delivered to the White House on New Year’s Day in 1836. But with a big cheese comes a big smell, and after a year the president had a stinky situation on his hands. How can he get rid of this cheesy gift? Readers of all ages will enjoy this slice of American history. Back matter includes science facts on cheese making.


I’m originally from Wisconsin – America’s Dairyland. I love cheese. Any time of the day, anywhere, if there is cheese available, I’m ready to sink my teeth into it.

In 2019, my husband was watching a history program when the word cheese caught my attention. I joined him and learned about a 1,400-pound cheese that was given to the president of the United States in 1836. Besides cheese, I also love American history. My curiosity was piqued, and I began investigating the mammoth cheese event.

After collecting and organizing my research, it was time to separate the curds from the whey and press my story into shape. My first attempt was a fiction picture book. The original title was THE BIG STINK. The main character was a mouse called Grover Cheeseland who entertained White House tourists with the tasty tale of an enor-mouse wheel of cheese presented to the president. Rejections came back from editors, saying they liked the information in the manuscript but disliked the mouse as the narrator.

In 2020, I changed my approach and began writing a nonfiction account of the odiferous cheese. Visiting historic locations and browsing through libraries was not an option at that time due to COVID-19 lockdowns. I turned to the internet for more in-depth research where I found conflicting information. For help, I reached out to the Sandy Creek Historical Society in Sandy Creek, NY where the cheese was made, and to the Half-Shire Historical Society in NY for more information. I was rewarded with copies of photos and answers to my questions.

To create an entertaining nonfiction story, I sprinkled in a bit of humor with the use of some cheesy wordplay. When my agent approved it, she submitted it to several publishers. In January of 2021, my manuscript went to an acquisitions meeting. Ultimately, the publisher rejected it with some helpful comments and an invitation to send more of my work.

I was elated with the invitation but discouraged my manuscript wasn’t accepted. Like a small round of cheese waiting for me to eat, I dived in. I revised the manuscript, using the comments from my rejection, and sent it to my agent. She liked what she saw and submitted it to another publisher. In August of 2021, I received an offer from Sleeping Bear Press. It was a grate day to celebrate cheese!

More text tweaks for clarity and a change in the title followed. In the end, my original idea morphed into a story about how a colossal gift of cheese was made by Colonel Thomas S. Meacham, how it traveled to the White House and was presented to the president of the United States, and what happened to the cheese as it stood in the vestibule of the White House for over a year.

I’m happy my agent saw the potential in my manuscript, and my editor at Sleeping Bear Press knew exactly what to do to make my book a delicious slice of American history.


Cathy Stefanec Ogren believes in reading and writing books that spark curiosity and imagination. She grew up in a home surrounded by books and had parents who encouraged reading and frequent visits to the library. Before becoming a full-time writer, she was an elementary school teacher, working with second and third-grade students. Because of her husband’s job transfers, Cathy had the opportunity to teach in Illinois, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Her last years in education were spent as a school librarian where she was passionate about introducing new and diverse books to her students.

Besides Cathy’s debut nonfiction picture book, she has authored two early chapter books and contributed articles, stories, fingerplays, and action poems to educational and children’s magazines. She is a PAL member of SCBWI and the 12 x12 Picture Book Challenge. Surrounded by lots and lots of books, Cathy lives with her husband in their New Hampshire home and makes frequent visits to the library. Connect with Cathy here. Facebook Instagram Blog


Lesley Breen is the illustrator of several picture books, including You’re My Boo by Kate Dopirak, Bunny Bus by Ammi-Joan Paquette, and Maximillian Villainous by Margaret Chiu Greanias. Her artwork is also on many products, including stationery collections, children’s games, toys, and apps.

Lesley draws and dreams by the ocean on beautiful Cape Cod, where she lives with her family, her dog, two cats, and a bunch of chickens. She loves learning about people, their experiences, and how they have contributed to the world and is thrilled to have worked with Cathy Stefanec Ogren on PEW! The Stinky and Legen-Dairy Gift from Colonel Thomas S. Meacham. You can visit her online at  Leslie was featured in 2017 on Illustrator Saturday. Click here to view.

Cathy, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. This is an utterly amazing book.  It is so much fun. I love discovering little know details from the past. Teachers and librarians will love this book, too, since it will make kids giggle while learning a little slice of history. I bet they will rush home to share it with their parents. Should make for an interesting conversation around the dinner table. Love the puns. And Lesley’s illustrations are as humongous as the cheese in this story. The cheese might stink, but this book is pretty sweet.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Cathy, I am famous (infamous LOL?) in my family for my childhood complaint, “PU! What stinks?”. I absolutely must read your book. Congratulations on your persistence. I am sure that other LegenDAIRY readers will love it, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the things I love most about history is perspective. I would love this story to enjoy, compare and contrast with “A Big Cheese For the White House” by DK publishing. Happy to know about this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Linda. I think you’ll enjoy comparing and contrasting both of these cheesy books, but only one will leave you holding your nose!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations, Cathy. No need to enter my name, I’ll request a copy from SBP! Sounds like a fun & educational book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, this sounds like so much fun. Kids will LOVE the cheesiness, and learn how one of their favorite foods is made, too. Perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love both cheese and word play so this book sounds fun (to read, not eat). I enjoy learning about new historical events like this one. I’m a subscriber to this blog and shared on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and tumblr.


  6. Looks like a fun, informative book! I’ll bet kids will love it.


  7. Looks like a fun read!


  8. I love all them wordplay. It looks like this will be a really fun read. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I subscribe to your blog by email. Thanks for the post.


  9. I’m a sucker for puns and cheesy jokes. Sounds like a fun slice of history.


  10. Sheesh, what publisher wouldn’t want this fun and informative book? The illustrations look perfect for the subject matter, too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: