If you don’t like how a book ends, write a new one!
Last year, I introduced my daughter to the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter. We started out with The Classic Tale of Tom Kitten, and it wasn’t long before every trip to the bookstore involved a new story about another cute animal. We became pleasantly acquainted with Mr. Jermey Fisher, Moppet and Mittens, Benjamin Bunny, and Mrs. Tiggywinkle. I remembered reading these books as a child, and I was so excited to expose my daughter to the books that I had so adored.
Then we began reading The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck. Kat felt sorry for the poor duck as her troubles with the farmer’s wife led to her eggs being taken away from her every time she laid them. Then we got to the trickster fox who had lured her in with the promise of a safe nest in her time of need, only to try to eat her when she least expected it. The farmer’s Collie came to her rescue, but not before her eggs were eaten by the foxhounds that accompanied him! As a four-year-old, Kat was pretty upset about the whole ordeal, and I couldn’t blame her.
We didn’t really care for how that book turned out. However, instead of simply setting it aside and moving on to the other books of Beatrix Potter, we decided to take matters into our own hands. We would rewrite Jemima’s tale and make our own story out of it! We could add our own storylines, and add some of our other favorite characters. Best of all, the foxes in this story would be vegetarian!
The process of writing and illustrating our own book was challenging and exciting. We had many brainstorming sessions where we came up with plot outlines, characters, the location for the events that took place, and of course, the title. It was a fantastic exercise in the creative processes behind storytelling, and Kat was really able to grasp the concepts of beginning, middle, and end. She came up with various events that would take place, and I wrote the dialog that supported her story. We came up with interesting ideas for our illustrations as well. Instead of simply drawing them, we used various materials such as paint, construction paper cutouts, and pressed flowers to create a more textured look. We learned quite a bit while illustrating that story, such as how to pace our drawings so that we didn’t get burnt out by drawing the same characters over and over again.
This year, Kat wanted to create her very own story. She wanted it to take place in the world of Princess Peach from the Super Mario series, where Peach would play with her fairy friends in her castle gardens. Of course, Bowser would play a role in her story and he would have to deal with a brave little mouse. The story writing process this year was much easier, as Kat is older and better able to articulate how the ideas she has in her head should look and sound. She was an equal storyteller, as she came up with most of the content in the book, as well as the title. She was also an equal illustrator, as she not only created most of the characters, but painted many of the backgrounds as well!
When we were finished, we took them to a nearby Office Max to get the pages copied. When we mentioned that we were going to try to figure out how to put them into book form, the sales lady informed us that they binds books as well! We still want to learn how to bind hardcover books, but in the meantime, this proved to be a very inexpensive, yet effective way to “publish” ourselves.
And we now have actual books to show off!
So, without further ado, may I now present to you…
The Tale of The Sneaky Mouse and The Crazy Day
Once upon a garden, there lived two beautiful fairies named Raindrop and Snowdrop. They lived with their friend Princess Peach, and they played together every day in the lovely castle gardens.
They weren’t the only ones whole loved the gardens. There were many garden creatures, including lots and lots of mice!
One day, while everyone was playing in the garden, they heard a crash, followed by a scary stomping sound. It was Bowser’s mom! Bowser’s mom took Raindrop, Snowdrop, and Princess Peach off to Bowser’s castle! Layla Mouse and Toadette looked at each other. What were they going to do?
Here is Bowser’s SCARY castle!
(Hey! Who is that weird guy dancing around in that castle?)
Layla Mouse knew just what she had to do. She waited until it was dark and snuck into the castle while Bowser was sleeping. She destroyed all his traps, found the Princess Key, and even freed a power star!
Layla found Raindrop, Snowdrop, and Princess Peach. She scrambled up to free them from their cages. The two fairies were very scared! Princess Peach was happy just have her friends with her this time. It seemed like she was always alone in places like this…
Just when they thought they were free, Bowser and his sister Bowserette came running down the hall! Snowdrop quickly used her magic to freeze the ground. Bowser and Bowserette slipped and fell with a crash, and the girls were able to escape the castle!
When they finally got to Princess Peach’s castle, they were exhausted from their long day. They were safe now, and they soon fell asleep on their cozy pillows.
Now we have our very own books that we have authored and illustrated. Kat is very excited about writing her own stories, especially now that we can put those stories on her bookshelf. We will definitely continue to do this, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!