Sunday, August 10, 2008

Author! Author!


Lately, Jooge has been giving me lots of guff when I say no. If she doesn't get a new Polly Pocket, guff. If we don't get curly fries at Jack in the Box, guff. If I only want her to watch one episode of Zoobofoomo (or whatever the heck it's called), guff. It's a heck of a lot of guff for things that don't go her way, and things don't go her way most of the time. It's a new attitude that seems to give our relationship some heaviness we didn't have before.

I just started reading a really good parenting book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline that I think might help me. But in an attempt to create some quality time for the two of us, to counteract the small negativities between us, we are writing a book together.

This summer we came upon some really great books written between 1910 and 1939 by Elsa Beskow, a Swedish author. It seems they've been reissued and bless our library for having beautiful new copies of them. They feature characters who are either part of nature, like the Hazlenut family in one of our favorites, Woody, Hazel and Little Pip, or they live in nature, like the family in Children of the Forest, who live in the roots of a pine tree and wear mushroom caps on their heads so if anyone sees them they stop still and pretend to be mushrooms. When we went camping I was telling Jooge a story I made up as I went about a village in the woods made of mushroom houses. I'm not sure if that came first or if the books did, but anyway, the two intersected nicely.

Given our interest in nature stories and mushroom villages, the book we're writing is called The Mushroom Village. It's the story of a girl named Katie who lives in the village. When every child turns five in Mushroom village they get to decide where the family goes on a special vacation. Katie always wanted to go to the beach, so her family climbs aboard a gull and adventure ensues. I write it, Jooge helps me with details (choosing names, helping me decide what to do next, etc.) and sometimes even writes a line. I draw the pictures and then she spends time coloring them. It's turning out really cute and I'm really proud of her hard work. It's been great fun to share positive time together working on it. My drawings are QUITE sub-par (ahem, there's a tern that appears in the story and let me just say I'm not good drawing wildlife). We're using an old scrapbook album someone gave us when the kids were born that I never used. Twenty once blank pages have been transformed into a collaborative memory maker.

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