Home Local News Traffic jam inspires East Rockingham student’s book

Traffic jam inspires East Rockingham student’s book

Ethan Glidewell exchanges a copy of his book, "Poky the Dot and the Dot Pizza," for $10 with classmate Aydden Covington during a book signing Tuesday afternoon at The Hive.
William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Being stuck behind a “slowpoke” in traffic isn’t always a bad thing.

For 8-year-old Ethan Glidewell, a second-grader at East Rockingham Elementary, it was inspiration for his first book.

Ethan sat behind a table with his mother, Brittaney, Tuesday afternoon near the front door of The Hive Recreation Center signing copies of “Poky the Dot and the Dot Pizza.”

Earlier in the day, he was given a young author award during a ceremony at the school.

His classmate, 7-year-old Aydden Covington, was one of the first to get an autographed copy after the event started at 3:30.

The story follows Poky, a blue dot with skinny legs and short arms, who loves Dot pizza but is extremely slow at everything he does — including brushing his teeth.

One day, Poky decides he wants pizza and slowly drives to the pizza place, backing traffic up for miles. When he finally gets there to order his pizza, he’s told there were no pizzas due to the truck hauling the ingredients getting stuck in a traffic jam because “…someone was driving way too slow.”

The idea for the book came one day while riding in the car with his Nana, Wendy Huggins, and two younger sisters.

“I was waiting to take a left turn and the car was driving real slow and I said, ‘Come on, Poky,’” Huggins recalled. “And he just said, ‘What’s Poky?’ And I said, ‘Somebody that’s really slow.’

“And he starts telling us this hilarious story about Poky, this pokey person who’s really slow and he just goes on and on,” she continued.

When she asked if he just made that story up, Ethan replied that he had.

Huggins said she didn’t believe him, so she Googled it and couldn’t find any similar references.

“I said, ‘That would be a really cool book,’ ‘cause we were all laughing,” she said.

So they sat down together, with Ethan telling Huggins what he wanted in the book. She said the story he told in the car is different than the one that wound up getting published.

Huggins then reached out to a friend, Brad Beard, who agreed to provide the illustrations.

“I didn’t want to get his hopes up, so I said, ‘Ethan, we need to keep this a secret,’” she said. “I didn’t want to get him too excited, in case it fell through — and then it just happened.”

Ethan’s mother said she was one of the last people to find out about it.

“It was a surprise to me,” she said. “They were supposed to keep it complete surprise, and one day in the car he was just like, ‘My book’s gonna be for sale on Amazon,’ and I have no clue what he was talking about and I was like, ‘Yeah, OK. Whatever.’

Two weeks later, she said the announcement was made to the whole family that he had written the book and it was published.

The book was self-published through Amazon.com, after lots of research by Huggins, who said the process was “a learning experience for me.” 

“Actually he’s accomplished something that I want to do and never have,” Huggins said. “I’ve always said I want to write a book and I’ve started two and haven’t finished either one of them, but he’s done it.”


She said Ethan has received a lot of support and thanked those who donated snacks to the event, as well as Sarah Ferguson at The Hive for hosting the signing.

Huggins added that 75 books were ordered and five had already been sold prior to the event.

She and Ethan’s father, Dustin Glidewell, hovered nearby, taking photos of book buyers posing with the young writer.

Ethan’s mother said he reads a lot. His favorite subject is sharks and his favorite author is Dr. Seuss. She added that if he’s not interested in a topic, he doesn’t want to read it.

Ethan said he wants to be a writer when he grows up and plans to write more books with his character, Poky.

“My next book is going to be about Poky’s friend,” he said, though he doesn’t yet have a name for the friend or an idea for what the book will be about.

Huggins said Ethan has always had “a great imagination” and hopes he continues to write.

“I think you shouldn’t hold kids back,” she said. That’s his God-given talent … He should be able to do anything he wants to do … And you shouldn’t tell children they can’t do things because they’re young — because they can.”


Previous articleJordyn Wall verbally commits to Presbyterian College; becomes third Raider football player to join D-I program
Next articleRichmond County students learn sky’s not the limit with StarLab
Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.