‘Where’s Alfie?’: Duo combine on children’s book that is Glens Falls to the core

By Zander Frost, Chronicle Staff Writer

Mary Jean DeSantis has written & Anthony Richichi illustrated a wonderful new children’s book, Where Are You Alfie?, writes Chronicle editor Mark Frost.

Where are you, Alfie?, written by Mary Jean DeSantis and illustrated by Anthony Richichi, is an ode to Glens Falls.

The paperback children’s book tells the true story of Alfie — the year-old mini Australian shepherd brought here last summer by Pittsburgh vacationers and lost from a Glens Falls doggy daycare business for 16 days.

Last week Alfie and his family returned at the invitation of the City of Glens Falls to participate in the Memorial Day Parade.

“You have to read it ’til the end, because you won’t believe the ending,” Mary says. “People will read it and say, ‘no way.’”

Anthony said, “I’ve done about a dozen books with Saratoga Springs Publishing. This is my first based on Glens Falls.”

It abounds with local landmarks.

“To draw all the different [places], Glen Street, Maple, City Park, City Hall,” says Anthony.

“LARAC, the bandstand,” Mary adds.

Alfie on the night of his rescue after 17 days lost. Tired but otherwise okay.

“It was a dream come true to be able to capture your own hometown in a book that will last beyond you,” Anthony adds.

Landmarks also include Rob and Deb’s Frozen Dreams on Dix Avenue, which became the makeshift hub of the huge search for the missing Alfie.

Major moments are recreated — like the searchers’ cooking bacon outside Rob & Deb’s at the advice of Clifton Park Pet Search’s Josh Grassi.

Alfie became a local celebrity. At the parade, fans yelled his name or held up book copies, Mary and Anthony said.

The book’s initial printing has sold out, but more copies are arriving soon. It’s priced at $14.99 and can be ordered at www.adkyou.com.

Mary said profits will be donated to animal shelters and rescue groups.

July 9, 2022 — Dog Alfie with his owners Michael Catarisano and Sandra Miranda outside Rob & Deb’s Frozen Dreams, whose grounds were search headquarters. After 17 days lost, Alfie was found by Michael and Sherry Winfield in their backyard not far away.

Mary writes that the book is “In loving memory of my wonderful parents, Vincent and Shirley (Mayor and First Lady of Glens Falls 1994-1997).”

Mary, who was a long-time substitute teacher at Shenendehowa school, says she’s wanted to write a children’s book for years.

She was an instrumental part of the search team for Alfie. His return turned out to be an ideal first story for her.

A friend who also worked on the Alfie search saw an article about Anthony, and Mary reached out to him to illustrate it. They instantly connected.

They have plans for more children’s books on local stories. Next up: The Queensbury tree that became Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree last year.

Mary says the Alfie story is filled with good lessons for kids — on how to search for a lost pet and more. “It’s a story in itself. You can’t make it up,” Mary says.

Copyright © 2023 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved

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