Karel Hayes


The Kingdom of Rattlesnake Mountain

The Bell Box
July 23, 2024 release

In this exciting conclusion to Karel Hayes' Lake Kanakonda trilogy, the mysterious Mr. Blackendoff appears to tell Alex the story of the bell box, which begins in far off Peru. Soon Alex realizes he must take control to finally unravel the ancient mystery that surrounds Lake Kanakondah. Is he on the right trail or is he making things unimaginably worse?

  • Down East Books (9781684751044)
  • Paperback $16.95
  • Print length: 156 pages

The Kingdom of Rattlesnake Mountain

The Kingdom of Rattlesnake Mountain

"I want you to know that I love The Kingdom of Rattlesnake Mountain. I requested for the Orange County Library to order it and they did - I was the first person to read it. The characters are great. I very much like the way you develop the characters of both children and adults - your books remind me of Madeleine L'Engle's - the family that the reader becomes attached to, the children's struggle against a fantastical evil creature. And the sense of place - the lake, the loons, and incorporation of the natural world - the loons calling out because the turtle is a threat to their young. (I never thought about turtles being a threat to loons before)."
Barbara Prince,
Librarian (retired)

The exhilarating second book in acclaimed children's author Karel Hayes' Lake Kanakondah trilogy. Spring has come again to Lake Kanakondah, but it is not a peaceful spring. A menacing presence has invaded the deep dark waters of the bottomless lake. Caught in a mystery that began a long time ago in Peru, Alex, Maizy, and Harvey must right a wrong to save their lake. When Harvey disappears, Alex and Maizy find themselves fighting a dangerous force that plummets them spinning into an upside down world with no way home. With every step they take, the ancient mystery grows dangerously unsolvable, until Alex and Maizy are left wondering if they can right the wrong, find Harvey, and save Lake Kanakondah—and most important: find their way home?

  • Kindle $16.00 Read with our Free App
  • Paperback $16.95
  • Reading age: 8 - 12 years
  • Print length: 232 pages

The Mystery at Lake Kanakondah

The Mystery of Lake Kanakondah

Alex, a twelve year old boy, who does not like change, finds himself unwillingly pulled along by events he can’t control. The story begins with the seemingly harmless decision of his parents to change their vacation plans. Instead of going to the beach they will spend the summer at Lake Kanakondah—a lake Alex can’t find in a computer search. Soon he’ll be harassed by a ghost that might not be a ghost, a monster that might not be a monster, and a villain that is truly a villain. With the help of his older sister, Samantha, and two new friends, Seth and Maizy, Alex will learn that solving each mystery only pulls him deeper into a dangerous adventure. In the end Alex, who has always let his older sister fight his battles for him, will find himself alone to fight the final battle.

  • Publisher: ‎ Down East Books (May 15, 2022)
  • Paperback: ‎ 230 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 1684750407
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1684750405
  • Reading age: ‎ 9 - 12 years
  • Grade level: ‎ 4 - 7
  • Mystery & Adventure

Click on the book cover to check out the buzz on Goodreads!

the Winter Visitors

The Winter Visitors

This is a fun story about a family of bears who move into an empty summer cottage for the winter. In 2008 The Winter Visitors was awarded the:

  • Time of Wonder Award from Maine Discovery Museum;
  • Bronze Medal for Best Children’s Picture Book (all ages) at the IPPY Awards;
  • Honorable Mention in Best Children’s/YA Books category from the Maine Writers and Publishers Association.
  • “In a near-wordless offering, Hayes’s finely detailed pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations cleverly unspool a playful spin on the Three Bears...The more closely readers look, the more they’ll find to like.” Publishers Weekly
  • “Delivers a clever twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”The Boston Globe
Summer Visitors

The Summer Visitors

The bears are back! Following the award-winning The Winter Visitors, the family of bears and a human family return to stay at a lake cottage. Pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are a feast for the senses. Children and parents (and grandparents) will delight in following the antics of the bumbling bears as they enjoy the comforts of cottage life, but also try to avoid detection by their human “hosts.” Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews describes the book, “This book with its minimal text tells a charming story about a family of bears who like the comforts of life but who are determined to keep their presence a secret. Children are sure to laugh out loud when they see what the bears get up to.” 

Read the New York Times Sunday Book Review. 

2011, Down East Books, Ages 4 to 8

The Autumn Visitors

The Autumn Visitors

Karel Hayes

In this fourth and final book in Karel Hayes's acclaimed Visitors series, the beloved family of bears gets in another round of adventures as they experience the full enjoyment of a New England autumn. First up the country fair--the bears sneak onto the midway after hours to play the games and be thrilled by the rides. Next comes Halloween, for which the bears all cleverly disguise themselves to gather a load of trick-or-treat candy. And finally there's a big Thanksgiving feast for all the friends of the forest. As always, the bears manage to have all their fun while carefully avoiding detection.

Down East Books, Ages 4 - 8

The Spring Visitors

The Spring Visitors

In this fifth book in Karel Hayes’s acclaimed Visitor series, the family of bears awakens in the cottage after a nice winter sleep. But torrential rains and a little too much fun hamper their efforts to leave the cottage shipshape for the returning human owners. Will they be able to avoid detection once again?


The Christmas Visitors

The Christmas Visitors

It’s Christmas at the cottage by the lake and the bears are busy getting ready for the holiday. The owners of the cottage, however, are in the city feeling glum until they decide to spend the holidays at their cottage! What follows is a set of misadventures as the family and bears enjoy their holiday. Publishers Weekly writes, “In a nod to The Night Before Christmas one of the children catches the bears leaving a decorative surprise for the family on Christmas Eve night...the watercolor scenes of ice skating families (both human and bear) and holiday celebrations are fun and festive.” 

2013, Down East Books, Ages 4 to 8

Snowflake Comes to Stay

Snowflake Comes to Stay

“Harriet Harrington lived alone in a little house in the woods...” until a small white dog came to stay and changed her life forever. The antics of Snowflake, the charming little white dog, warm the heart of her hostess, and eventually the pair learn that they need and enjoy each other's company very much, despite a few inconveniences! The Midwest Book Review writes, “Snowflake Comes to Stay is a love story that will appeal to children of all ages.”

2010, Down East Books, Ages 4 to 8

Amazing Journey

The Amazing Journey of Lucky the Lobster Buoy

Karel read an article about a lobster buoy that was lost and washed ashore in England while on a sailing trip. She knew there was a story- a very fun story for children!

Tim carves his first lobster buoy out of wood. The buoy looks like a face, so Tim paints it eyes and a mouth and names the buoy, Lucky. One day, Lucky is set adrift in the ocean and after fun and amazing adventures, Lucky returns to Tim.

2009, Down East Books, Ages 4 to 8

Little Bear's Friends

Little Bear's Friends

The cute cubs of Karel Hayes's acclaimed Visitors series now have their very own board book series for the youngest human book lovers.

Youngsters are introduced to the animals of the forest and can help Little Bear count all of his friends, right down to his very best friend.

Illustrated in Hayes's signature watercolor style, Little Bear is a great way to help toddlers discover the wonders of New England wildlife.

Little Bear's Balloons

Little Bear's Balloons

Little Bear has balloons to share with all his friends of the forest, but something unexpected happens when his littlest friend chipmunk takes one extra and begins to rise into the air. Can Little Bear save him or will he need some help? A charming tale to help the youngest of readers grasp concepts like friendship and working together.

Little Loon

Little Loon

Fran Hodgkins - Illustrated by Karel Hayes

Little Loon traces the birth and first summer of a loon chick on a New England lake, ending with the loon’s migration for the winter. Readers follow along as the baby loon grows and discovers the world around her. Along the way, they’ll learn that loons are so perfectly adapted to life in the water that it’s very difficult for them to walk on land. They only come out of the water to lay eggs, so their nests are built are very close to shore and are very susceptible to flooding in heavy rains. Readers will also discover that the biggest threats to loons come from people—boats, pollution, and fishing tackle. Lavishly illustrated in full color, the book closes with a page of pertinent loon facts and ways for children to help protect this beloved waterfowl.

Down East Books, Ages 4 - 8

Who's Been Here

Who's Been Here?:

A Tale in Tracks By Fran Hodgkins

We take a walk with Willy the dog as he finds many different paw prints in the snow. The reader sees the paw print and turns the page to find out what animal made the print! Reviews include:

  • “Hayes’s watercolors evoke the frosty air of a winter wood, and Hodgkins’s simple, repetitive text allows readers to be a part of the story. With multiple curriculum connections and a style perfect for group sharing, this book is ideal for classrooms or storytimes.” School Library Journal
  • “Lovely twig-framed interior pictures...The layout requires a page turn to identify each animal, providing an opportunity to guess at identity from the tracks and a few supporting textual clues.” Toni Buzzeo, Children’s Book Author and Library Media Specialist
  • “The colorful artwork beautifully captures the beauty of fresh winter morning snow in this playful and inquisitive story.” Midwest Book Review
  • “The illustrations fit like a snow boot, as good ones always do, and the ending is an absolute hoot.” Lincoln County News, Damariscotta, Maine
Time for the Fair

Time for the Fair

By Mary Train

Grace spends the year waiting and trying to be patient until the fall when she can return to the fair! Reviews state:

  • “This book provides concrete benchmarks for the rhythms of one year, a concept that young children often find difficult to grasp...The gentle, soothing presentation of daily life and the appreciation of simple pleasures is welcome. A useful reinforcement for teaching time and calendar skills.” School Library Journal
  • “The passage of time is a difficult concept for young children to grasp. The author has done a clever job using seasonal changes to clarify this concept for children in this delightful picture book...The watercolor illustrations could each be framed and displayed.” Foreword Magazine

Lake Winnipesaukee Books!

Andy Opel, the author of the Winnipesaukee picture books, lost most of his stock of books in a fire last winter at the Enfield Distribution Center. To order books, please click here.

The Witches

The Witches: A Winnipesaukee Adventure

By Andy Opel

In a classic tale of kids “messing about in boats,” The Witches captures the timeless magic and mystery of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Join Jack, Franny and J.J. as they learn about the power of the lake and the wisdom of their grandmother. The Witches was awarded the 2011 Best Children’s Book Award by the New England Book Festival. 

2011, Jetty House/Peter E. Randall Publisher

The Bobhouse

The Bobhouse
A Winnipesaukee Christmas

Every year, Lake Winnipesaukee freezes in the winter, presenting new
challenges to residents and visitors. Join Franny, Jack, and J.J. as they spend
their Christmas Holiday on the frozen lake in this newest Winnipesaukee

The Weirs

The Weirs: A Winnipesaukee Adventure

By Andy Opel, Illustrated by Karel Hayes and John Gorey

Lake Winnipesaukee is a vacation destination where families gather to rekindle bonds across the generations. Join Jack, Franny and J.J. as they go on a boating adventure with Grammy. The timeless magic of boating at night is captured in this classic trip to the Weirs. 

2013, Jetty House/Peter E. Randall Publisher

The Mansion

The Mansion: An Old Winnipesaukee Mystery

Hardcover – 2015 by Andy Opel (Author), Karel Hayes (Illustrator), John Gorey (Illustrator)

From the award-winning author/illustrator team who created The Witches and The Weirs comes the latest Winnipesaukee adventure - and this time it's a mystery! Join Jack, Franny and J.J. as they learn about how the lake used to be and Grammy tells them a spooky story about when she was a little girl.

Jetty House, an imprint of Peter E. Randall Publisher

Other Books Illustrated by Karel Hayes & John Gorey

Santa's Tatty Old Boots

Santa's Tatty Old Boots

Santa’s getting dressed for Christmas Eve, when he discovers his boots are worn out! Mrs. Claus, the elves, and the reindeer all want to help, but how will Santa keep warm on a snowy night wearing his tatty old boots?

This richly illustrated, holiday tale celebrates sustainability, and reusing rather than buying, as it shares the funny ways Santa tries to find some warm footwear.

Artists Karel Hayes and John Gorey bring Santa to life as he’s never been seen before, wearing flip-flops and bowling shoes, in a Christmas tale from author Sherry Baldwin that’s sure to keep your toes warm.

Reviews :

“Santa must have a new pair of boots…. Or is there a better solution? Baldwin’s rollicking, rhyming Christmas Eve tale addresses the throw-away nature of modern culture so subtly that little ones won’t realize it’s anything other than fun. Illustrated with beautiful watercolors reminiscent of vintage Christmas cards . . .” —Barbara Jean Hicks, author of FROZEN: A SISTER MORE LIKE ME and ONCE UPON A PARSNIP.

wings in the wind

Wings in the Wind

By Julia Walsh, Illustrated by Karel Hayes and John Gorey

Against all odds an orphan Mallard reaches adulthood on the banks of the Merrimack River watched over from a distance by a young girl

This is a story of one courageous Mallard who lost his family but did not give up, and about a little girl who watched and loved the duckling as he struggled to make it to adulthood. It takes place on the Merrimack River in Massachusetts and is based on a true account of one duckling’s survival. Themes of home, family, friendship, and nature are presented, as it explores the dilemma of safety versus growth.

“I absolutely LOVED your book. What a lovely, personal story that so many could relate to adults as well as children. The illustrations are so real that I wanted to touch the pages with the swaying grasses!”—Lisa Hutchings, teacher, naturalist, mother, Massachusetts Audubon,

Newburyport, Massachusetts

© 2016 - Karel Hayes Managed by The Chalifour Design Group, LLC