For years, Bob Peace would play silly quiz games with his grandchildren by making up questions about a cranky wicked witch.
While talking to them on the phone, he would fire off multiple choice questions designed to make them laugh about what the witch liked to eat or learn about in school.
It was fun way to connect and to introduce them to the sorts of standardized test questions he knew they would encounter throughout their academic careers.
“I thought let’s get started while they’re young with something fun,” said Peace, 72, a retired North Carolina State University professor of business law and taxation.
Now, he’s put together a whole book of the questions to help prepare other children for multiple choice quizzes.
The book, “The Wicked Witch Pop Quiz,” asks readers to pick the best answers for Willow the Wicked Witch. Does she grow roses, tulips or stinkweed in her garden? Does she prefer her peanut butter sandwiches with honey, jelly or spiders?
Each answer appears alongside a full-page color drawing of Willlow by illustrator M. Rasheed.
Peace said that when comes up with questions, he relies partially on his teaching background. But mostly, he’s thinking like a grandpa trying to have some fun with his grandkids, who are now 12, 11 and 7.
Peace never expected to write a children’s book during his career as a lawyer and then professor. He and his wife, Sandy DeAngelis Peace, have lived in Raleigh since 1975.
But in the mid- 2000s, he decided to give writing fiction a shot and found he enjoyed giving life to the scenarios in his head. Those first scribblings went on to becomes his novel, “Moonlight Manifesto,” published by The Paper Journey Press in Wake Forest.
The same press published “The Wicked Witch Pop Quiz.”
Peace said it was an uphill journey to find a publisher, but he hasn’t let that, or the pressures of selling books, diminish his love of writing. He’s working now on a second quiz book, this one featuring a pirate.
“I sort of laugh my way through it, making things up,” he said.
As long as his grandchildren are delighted by the book, Peace knows he will be, too.