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A Maine book shows kids how maple syrup gets made

Stephanie Mulligan turns to food for storytelling inspiration.

LINCOLN, Maine — In her books for children, Stephanie Mulligan sticks to what she knows.

Her first book, “How to Catch a Keeper,” was inspired by the eight summers she spent working on a lobster tour boat in Casco Bay. Her second, “How to Tap a Maple,” came about after her father-in-law retired from his mill job in northern Maine a couple of years ago and started tapping maple trees. When her kids began tagging along as their grandfather collected sap, she quickly realized she had the material for another story. “I’m not an expert [on making syrup],” she says. “I don’t claim to be. But I know a whole lot more than I did two years ago.”

First Mulligan writes the books, then she publishes them through McSea Books, a small publishing outfit she owns. As for sticking with what she knows, after writing about lobsters and maple syrup she’s already got ideas for her next book. “Blueberries and potatoes,” she says with a laugh. Clearly Maine is supplying her with plenty of inspiration. “I love it,” she says. “It’s so wonderful.”

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