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October 24, 2022

Rink holds a number of titles: inventor, songwriter, and now, author. This first book in a projected seven-book series, Alpha Buddies Land, was described by BookLife Reviews as having a “spirit of playful abundance.” We spoke with Rink about what it was like bringing the Alpha Buddies to life.   

The Alpha Buddies originated as plush toys. What inspired you to create them?

My vision has always been to design a plush toy for children. I wanted a plush toy that did something, that stood out above the rest, a plush toy that was educational and could connect vertically and horizontally to spell words and children’s names and hang on the wall. One day I started thinking of a name, Alpha… Buddies… came to my mind; I sat down started drawing and each character just fell into place; Alpha Buddies was created.  Currently, we are redesigning the original Alpha Buddies plush toys to look even more like the new Alpha Buddies Land book cartoon characters.   

Was it always the plan to create an accompanying book?

I personally experienced how much children and parents loved the Alpha Buddies plush characters, when I was selling the toys at various malls. I also was very fortunate to receive the Gold Medal for Toys, Silver Medal for Education, and Woman Inventor of the Year awards at the Inpex invention trade show in Pennsylvania. This really inspired me to start my first picture book, Alpha Buddies Land, to create 26 unique names and fun personalities, and to bring the alphabet to life through the Alpha Buddies cartoon characters in the Alpha Buddies Land book series.  

What’s your favorite part of the book?

My favorite parts of the book are the very bright colors throughout, including the rainbows and the purple castles. Along with the sun smiling down on this imaginary childhood fantasy land with alphabet characters and animals that are so lifelike children can relate to them. I also love that the book, Alpha Buddies Land, is a family setting, with “Alpha A” as the mother and teacher, “Buddy B” as the father and school bus driver, and “Cutie Pie C” as the baby.

What do you hope children will learn from Alpha Buddies Land?

I would like children to see Alpha Buddies Land as a kids’ world. They can learn and they can play in this kids’ world. They can learn the alphabet and words from the Alpha Buddies through the exciting adventures. I would like kids to feel like they are walking into the pages of this picture book, like they are actually in this fairy tale magical place where anything is possible. My dream is to one day have an Alpha Buddies Land cartoon that also teaches children.  

Anything you can share with us about the next Alpha Buddies books?  

In the next books in the series, the Alpha Buddies characters pair up with their friends and go on many exciting adventures. Some of my favorite characters and adventures are, in book two, “Cutie Pie C” goes on a carnival ride she will never forget. In book four, “Hannah H” is happy in the hills with her horse, Hero. In book five, “Kala K,” “Lovable Louie L,” and “Magic Milo” go on a magical but spooky adventure to Mystical Mountain. In book seven, “Rocking Red R” plays his bright red, electric guitar, Roxy, at the Alpha Buddies dance party with “Suzy S” singing and “Donny D” on the drums, when suddenly “Rocking Red R” finds himself shooting up to the sky on a red rocket in an outer space escapade! In the last book, all of the Alpha Buddies hold hands across Alpha Buddies Land and go, along with their animal friends, on an exciting outdoor adventure to the end of the rainbow! I’m also writing songs that will go with each of my upcoming books; two of my songs are “Alpha Buddies Music” and “Alpha Buddies Dance.” Visit me on LinkedIn under Donna M. Rink.