ST. HELENS - Children's author and illustrator Petra Mathers will sign copies of "Herbie's Secret Santa" at two different bookstores this weekend.

First up is Mathers' signing and slide show at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29 at the St. Helens Book Shop, 1550 Columbia Blvd. in St. Helens. The slide show is suitable for children ages 4 to 8.

Mathers' book tells the story of Herbie, who's ready for Christmas dressed as Santa and humming a tune. However, when he and best friend Lottie set off to buy a tree in Oysterville and then find themselves in Ali Baba's bakery, the holidays take a turn for the worse.

Mathers was born in Todtmoos in the Black Forest region of Germany and moved to Portland when she was 23. She currently resides in Astoria. She has been involved with books most of her life, selling, editing or writing them. To date, she has illustrated 18 books by other authors and written and illustrated 10 other books with more on the way. Four of her books have appeared on the annual New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books. Her books have been frequently cited on best book lists by School Library Journal and Parent's Choice Magazine. She has won awards such as the New York Society of Illustrators Silver Medal in 1995 for "Kisses from Rosa" and in 1999 for "Lottie's New Friend."

For more information, call the St. Helens Book Shop at (503) 397-4917.

Mathers will also make an appearance at Time Enough Books, part of the Ilwaco Harbour Village at the Port of Ilwaco, Wash. She will be reading her new book accompanied by a slide show at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 with a book signing immediately following until 3 p.m. For more information, call (360) 642-7667. Refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public

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