Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Children's Books that Never Were, Part 5

This one is for Schelle at Brand New Ending.


From the editor:

Dear Robert McCloskey,

I am befuddled by “Make Way for Puggles.” All this time, I thought a “puggle” was a pug/beagle hybrid. Now, you tell me that a “puggle” is actually a baby echidna. Both you and Marjorie Flack may very well be onto something with your obsession over monotremes, but I don’t think the American public is yet ready to accept new Australian animals into their lives. They’re still dealing with the ramifications of the kangaroo, wallaby, wallaroo, koala, kookaburra, dingo, wombat, tree frog, frilly-necked lizard, bottlenose dolphin, and dugong. I’m trying to warm the senior editors up to the idea of a
fruit-bat in a children’s book, but so far they are resistant to this innovative concept.

The mother echidna trying to lead her puggles across a busy street in Sydney to find a park thick with termites and ants is indeed a compelling story that, in the right time period, would endure through the ages. I was particularly intrigued with the role of the policewoman, Matilda, who feeds candied fire-ants to the family of echidnas on a regular basis. (Isn’t Matilda worried that the confection will rot the puggles’ teeth? Oh, whoops, echidnas have no teeth. How clever.) When Matilda stops traffic to let the puggles walk across the street, I cheered. Those puggles are so confoundedly cute. However, I believe that monotremes lay only one egg at a time. Is Mrs. Echidna perhaps the adoptive mother of abandoned puggles? Now there's another story altogether! Think about it.

You know Boston, Massachusetts fairly well—-why not
set your story there? If you changed your echidna to an animal more familiar with contemporary American audiences (and also one that is known to have multiple offspring), I’m sure I’d be able to pitch your manuscript at our next editors’ meeting. Maybe you could turn the echidnas into the pug/beagle hybrid I mentioned earlier. Then, the title of your manuscript could stay the same.

Sincerely,
Garrulous MacKenzie
Assistant to the Junior Editor
Children’s Division
Varangian Falcon Press


Addendum:
In the comments section, Schelle writes,

I'll have to tell you the story of how we were driving to an exam one day when we saw an echidna by the side of the road. Not wanting him to be squished while trying to cross (we usually rescue tortoises from the middle of the road) my husband screeched the car to a halt, and jumped out - I gave him my blue velvet coat to grab the echidna with, we popped the little adventurer on the back seat and continued to the exam - not having time to go home first. While I spent two hours in my law exam, hubby amused the echidna who had a great time exploring the car - when we got home again, he had burrowed his way down behind the back seat and we had to take the seat out to get him - he was perfectly happy to be carried into the bush and released, and we still occasionally find dug-up ant nests. He has probably found a lady echidna and started making puggles by now! Unfortunately, my coat has never been the same, as it is now full of holes from Mr Echidna's spines - but somehow I don't really mind!

7 comments:

Lady K said...

Is it possible to adopt a sister? If you were to become my sister, would you come down and just read stories to me while I do crossword puzzles and eat soup and jello?

You are my new superhero.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Lady K: I am there! I'll even make you homemade jello (after peach-juice jello, you'll never want boxed jello again) and paint your toenails.

limpy99 said...

Woman, there are literally tears in my eyes at this one. "Make Way for Ducklings" is a great book, but replacing ducks with echidnas, well, that's just genius!

Seriously, waht kind of a mother names a kid Ouack?

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Limpy99: Thank you, Limpy99! As to your question, "What kind of mother names a kid 'Quack?'", I humbly direct you to Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing.

Fridaysweb said...

I swear I've heard of that book. I believe I've stayed clean and sober too long if I can remember titles such as this. I may have to start reading kids' books again, even though my own kids are too old.
xoxo

Schelle said...

LOL... I am honoured! what a lovely idea for a book ;) I'll have to tell you the story of how we were driving to an exam one day when we saw an echidna by the side of the road. Not wanting him to be squished while trying to cross (we usually rescue tortoises from the middle of the road) my husband screeched the car to a halt, and jumped out - I gave him my blue velvet coat to grab the echidna with, we popped the little adventurer on the back seat and continued to the exam - not having time to go home first. While I spent two hours in my law exam, hubby amused the echidna who had a great time exploring the car - when we got home again, he had burrowed his way down behind the back seat and we had to take the seat out to get him - he was perfectly happy to be carried into the bush and released, and we still occasionally find dug-up ant nests. He has probably found a lady echidna and started making puggles by now! Unfortunately, my coat has never been the same, as it is now full of holes from Mr Echidna's spines - but somehow I don't really mind!

You have inspired me to take your challenge - I have an idea for a children's book that never was - I shall have to go see how quickly I can write it up!

Schelle said...

Oh - I shall have to try peach-juice jelly! I make Wombat's fresh jelly from juiced Granny Smith Apples - yum!