Magical myth: Greenwood native pens dragon-filled children’s book

The perfect artist was hiding in plain sight.

As Jodi Scheve finished up her seventh children’s book, “The Littlest Dragon,” she knew she had a heartwarming tale filled with whimsy, fun and important life lessons. But she wasn’t sure who to ask to provide the illustrations to make the story come alive.

Then, inspiration struck — what about Karen Greathouse-Heinzelman, a friend who works for Scheve and her husband Rich at their business, Twisted Wick Candle Co.

“I had no idea Karen was an artist, until she gifted us this beautiful story board she painted for us,” Scheve said. “I was talking to Rich, and I kept saying that I never knew Karen was this talented. I had this book that I needed illustrations for, and I wondered if she’d do it.”

Scheve — with help from Greathouse-Heinzelman’s artistry — released “The Littlest Dragon” in late April. The story focuses on the littlest dragon finding his way thru many obstacles to obtain five virtues in life. During his challenging trek up the mountain, he learns a valuable life lesson about being different.

“I really hope it’s a fun, whimsical story that they get some joy out of, and they learn about being different, that’s it’s OK,” Scheve said.

Scheve, a graduate of Greenwood Community High School, co-owns Twisted Wick Candle Company in Nashville with her husband Rich. Though the candle business keeps them both very busy, Scheve has spent the past decade delving into children’s books as well.

Each of her creations have centered on teaching kids specific skills or life lessons. Her first book, “The Cow Jumped Over the ABCs,” taught upper- and lower-case letters, while her second book, “The Sand Crabs Journey Home,” taught counting to 100.

“Richie Saves Nashville” was about building problem-solving skills, and, like the title says, “Old McDonald Has a Farm With Lots of Shapes and Colors” focused on teaching shapes and colors. “The Magic Cardinal,” Scheve’s storybook published in 2023, the idea was to give young people an outlet for maintaining confidence, even in the face of bullying.

“The Littlest Dragon was inspired in a different way.

The Scheve family had vacationed at Lake Bled in Slovenia, a magical, medieval place tucked into the European country’s mountainous countryside. Tied into the local lore of the lake are stories and imagery surrounding dragons.

“I was running and the story just came to me, about the lake and the dragons,” she said. “I get inspired sometimes when I run, and when we travel, I get to learn about different parts of the world.”

In the story, the Littlest Dragon learns he’s the only one of his kind at the lake. During a trek to the mountain looming over the lake, he learns about different virtues — courage, generosity, friendship, perseverance and humility.

Without spoiling the end, the Littlest Dragon sees the value of our differences.

“It’s really good for kids, but it’s a really good message for adults, too,” Scheve said. “If we all learn this lesson, we’d probably get along a lot better.”

With the story set in place, Scheve searched for the right illustrations. She found Greathouse-Heinzelman.

Greathouse-Heinzelman has always dabbled in art, spending free time drawing throughout her life. In particular, she likes to use her artistry to show appreciation for others in her life.

“I like to give personal gifts that will resonate with people I know,” she said, adding with a laugh, “but I wouldn’t say I’m an ‘artist.’ I’m just an old lady who likes to draw.”

Her gift to the Scheves led to the book project. After Scheve asked her about doing illustrations, Greathouse-Heinzelman said she’d never done a dragon before, but she’d try.

The results were perfect. Greathouse-Heinzelman captured the fairy tale wonder of Lake Bled, as well as the magical array of animals and creatures the Littlest Dragon encounters on his journey.

“I loved the story, and that made a big difference. I tried to think about how to draw this, to make it click with the story. I wanted to have the person reading it to follow along with the dragon — like they’re actually with him,” she said.

“The Littlest Dragon” came out in early May. Scheve has it, and other copies of her book, stocked at Twisted Wick in Nashville. Books can also be ordered through Twisted Wick’s website.


“The Littlest Dragon”

What: A newly released children’s book focusing on the titular littlest dragon finding his way through many obstacles to obtain five virtues in life. During his challenging trek up the mountain, he learns a valuable life lesson about being different.

Who: Author Jodi Scheve, a Greenwood Community High School graduate

How to get it: The book is available at Twisted Wick Candle Co., 102 S. Van Buren St., Nashville, or at