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Chester County Press

Local Writer Publishes New Book - A New Picture Book By a Resident of Cochranville

09/23/2020 06:57PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Iris Gray Dowling, a Cochranville resident who has written everything from books about local history and nature to picture books and teaching articles, recently announced the publication of a new picture book titled, “Toads: Friends You Never Thought You Had.”

The book tells the story of the life cycle of toads from the eggs to the tadpoles to the adult toad. It explains how toads differ from frogs and explores how toads are a true friend of the gardener by getting rid of pests.

The subject matter and pictures in the book are suitable for children who are in kindergarten through elementary school. The illustrations were drawn by Dowling or photographed by the author or other family members and friends who live in the area.

Dowling was born in Upper Oxford Township and went to a one-room school in the township. She graduated from Oxford High School and West Chester University, earning B.S. and M.Ed degrees. She taught school in Willistown/Sugartown and substituted in other elementary schools from West Chester to Stratford/Valley Forge and Great Valley.
She has also conducted homeschool evaluations for Pennsylvania Accreditation Agency for 30 years.

Dowling has also worked on the Historical Commission of Upper Oxford Township and the Oxford Area Historical Association. She wrote a book for the Oxford Area Historical Association titled, “History of Churches in the Oxford Area.”

For many years,  she worked with West Chester area churches on special children’s programs, plays, and Vacation Bible School programs. She wrote several books about nature stories, object lessons, children’s poems, programs, and puppet skits. Three of her stories were chosen to be translated into six different languages and sent to foreign countries.
In 2020, Dowling also published a book, “Praying Mantis- Disappearing Friend.”

More information about the author and her books can be found at