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About Peter

About Peter

Peter Vanderwall based Mac’s Big Wish on a bedtime story he created to tell his sons, Eric and Kenny, when they were growing up. The story was inspired by his first encounter with a therapy dog many years ago. Trooper comforted Peter’s mother and the other residents of a memory care center in upstate New York. The story was also inspired by his rescue of Sandy, a Yellow Labrador, who he found as an abandoned puppy wandering in the morning fog and who became a lifelong companion.


Mac’s Big Wish is the first in a series of children’s picture story books to be published by Sophie & Sheba Books.


Peter is a screenwriter whose produced movies include Hide Away starring Josh Lucas and James Cromwell, Reverse Angle, Shadowheart, and Without Evidence, all available on Amazon Prime. His action thriller, Shore Excursion, is in pre-production for filming in the Greek isles.


Peter and his wife, Kathleen, share their time between the Pacific Northwest and Utah where they enjoy skiing, hiking, biking, kayaking, and other outdoor adventures.

Photo by Amber Nichole (@ambernicole_photography)

Mac's Big Wish
Do Not Touch, Vital for MOBILE
-- Order Mac's Big Wish
Corgi Dog

Mac's Big Wish 

special job at Oak Knoll Care Center and learns that he too has much to give. The author supports the work of the Humane Society of the United States.

An inspiring tale for all ages, Mac’s Big Wish helps us understand the true value of friendship. After spending much of his life alone at Puddleton’s Pet Rescue watching other dogs leave happily with new owners, Mac almost gives up hope for a loving home. But then he gets a  

Order Mac's Big Wish
Amazon offers Mac's Big Wish in hardcover, paperback and ebook.
Screen Shot 2022-08-20 at 1.42.55 PM.png offers Mac's Big Wish in hardcover and paperback
Since 2020, has raised over $22,000,000.00  for local bookstores. 

Mac's Big Wish is a children's picture story book suggested for ages 2 through 8.

Colorful Balloons

I thought it was going to be a sad book,

so I got ready to be resilient.

Then I realized it was a happy book,

so I just felt the joy -

like sunshine.

Third Grade Student

Laurel Elementary

Junction City, Oregon 

Every time I read this story

my heart just bursts for that little dog, Mac.
The illustrator has done such a nice job;

she is so great with animals!
And I just love her WISH art.
It is perfect that Peter Vanderwall

supports the Humane Society!

Amy Betz
Tiny Tales Editing

Bethel, Connecticut

A great story of hope, purpose and friendship. Vanderwall has a patient pace in this happy ending children's tale. Can't wait for the next "tail" in what's sure to be a classic children's series. Janis Lillian's illustrations make this a perfect read along for early readers and an attractive visual for those who tackle it on their own.

Michael Carroll

Retired Child Welfare Professional

Scottsville, New York


Reader Reviews

Kirkus Reviews is an American book review magazine founded in 1933 by Virginia Kirkus. Kirkus is a credible, industry-renowned resource among authors, publishers, the media, libraries, booksellers, and readers. It is a trusted measure around the world.

A dog learns that each pup is special in their own way in Vanderwall’s debut picture book.

…Vanderwall builds the story well for newly independent readers, with simply structured sentences, repeated phrases, and fun sound words (squish-squash-squish, click-clack, squeak-squeak-squeaking) … Illustrator Lillian’s two-page spread …  is … joyful. The painterly cartoon style allows for humanlike expressions on otherwise realistically portrayed animals’ faces, and the diverse cast of humans of varying skin tones, shapes, and ages is a delight. 


A … book for dog lovers featuring a strong lesson about the value of friendship.

--Free Lesson Plans
Happy Corgi Dog.png

Free Open-Source Lesson Plans For Teachers and Others

Reading In a Bookstore_edited.jpg
Dr. Susan Inman, and her graduate students, developed lesson plans to accompany Mac's Big Wish. These freely contributed lesson plans give teachers and other adults in childrens' lives ideas and structure for sharing Mac's Big Wish in the classroom and other settings. Classroom teachers, parents and significant individuals in a child's life can download the lesson plans which are open source and free of charge.
As a reviewer of Mac's Big Wish, Susan was astonished by how the book can be used to focus on literacy, including the "moral of the story," and to focus on social emotional learning including optimism and offering help. Susan was so motivated by the story that she offered her students, who are school teachers themselves, the option of developing lesson plans based on Mac's Big Wish.  Dr. Susan Inman is a successful public school teacher and administrator currently serving as a school improvement consultant and adjunct faculty, at Bushnell University.

Literacy Lesson Plans

Click below to download a lesson plan: PDF maintains original formatting, a good choice for printing as is. RTF lets you revise the lesson plan on most word processors. As open-source and free documents, feel free to customize the lesson plans to meet your students' needs.

1st Grade 
2nd Grade
3rd Grade
The literacy lessons are based on the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts-Literacy. Our goal is to add lesson plans for pre-K and to expand the available lesson plans to explicitly engage all students.

Social Emotional Learning Lesson Plans

Click below to download a lesson plan.

1st Grade
The Social Emotional Learning Lesson plans target competencies developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. These SEL lesson plans also address literacy standards. 


Peter Vanderwall -- Screenwriter, Author
Send Peter your inquiries about Mac's Big Wish, screenplays, or questions. He will promptly respond.

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