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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 and other streaming services. 


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.

Peter Vanderwall reads Macs Big Wish

Photograph by Bruce Grandin.

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

Mac's Big Wish 

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 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.

Order Mac's Big Wish Online
Mac's Big Wish is also available from most book retailers and some brick and mortar bookstores.  

Amazon offers Mac's Big Wish in hardcover, paperback and ebook.
Macs Big Wish Book Cover

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

Link to Macs Big Wish on Amazon

Children vote for their favorite book

Founded in 1997, the award is named for Patricia Gallagher, a retired Western Oregon University professor of children’s literature, who is a former president of OSLA. By awarding high quality children's literacy,  and involving children in the process, the Oregon State Literacy Association fulfills its goal to promote literacy and a love of reading.

Order Mac's Big Wish
--Children's Choice
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Macs Big Wish Kirkus Review from 10/15/2022

October 15, 2022   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.

Colorful Balloons

Mac's Big Wish is such a beautiful book with many important lessons for my grandchildren. It is likely when their books are passed down to their children they may relate our meeting to them!

I shall encourage that!

Janine E. Arnold

Caboolture, Queensland


Beautifully written and gorgeously illustrated, this book is a hidden treasure waiting to be found and passed down for generations.
It's a story that will not only capture children's hearts but anyone's heart no matter how old you are. Mac's journey takes you through the emotions that we all experience. Loneliness, sadness, fear, hope, happiness, and pure joy. This story reminds us that dreams and wishes really can come true, and that no matter what,
there is always hope.

Sherry Meregillano

Retired Social Worker

Eden, Utah

Mr. Vanderwall: Your book, Mac's Big Wish, has been nominated for the Patricia Gallagher Children's Choice Book Award for 2024. The purpose of the award is to promote a love of reading with high quality children's literature. Thank you for your wonderful contribution to children's literature.

Cara Miller
Patricia Gallagher Book Award Committee Chair

Oregon State Literacy Association

Free Lessons
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Mac's Big Wish in the Classroom

__Peter Big Smile with Students_edited.j

At Harrisburg Elementary 390 K through 4 students enjoyed Mac's Big Wish over the course of five author readings. Peter had a great time engaging with the students.

Peter has read Mac's Big Wish to students in Oregon schools, over Zoom to students in the Oregon Charter Academy, to children in public libraries, and in Humane Society facilities.

3rd Grader as Mac, Macs Big Wish

Third-grade student in Virginia appears as Mac, her favorite cuddly puppy, at school's book-character dress-up day. With parental permission.

K-1 Social Emotional Learning, and K-5, 6/7/8, and 9/10 English language arts/literacy lesson plans have been developed by classroom teachers to give teachers and important adults in students' lives ideas for inspiring students' learning while reading Mac's Big Wish. Click on "Free Lessons by Teachers for Teachers" to learn more about the lessons, and to download the lessons for your use.

In the Classroom


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

Note to educators: please include your name, role, school or district, grade-level(s) and general timeframe. Peter enjoys reading to students and adults.

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