Ode To A Planet – my first children’s book. This was written just after we built our house and moved in. Because the house is sitting in the middle of the woods, surrounded by rocks and trees, with lots of windows facing south and looking out on a meadow ringed with pines, cedars, white birch, maples, butternuts, and other assorted trees, we feel very close to nature. Perhaps that’s the reason this book came into being.
The first version was written in 1993, long before ebooks were a reality, so I self-published it, printing it on colored paper, with hand-drawn illustrations. (I am definitely not an artist!) I sold a few copies, but decided marketing wasn’t my thing. The original sat in a box until I discovered Smashwords, and joined the camera club. What I learned there allowed me to take photos for the illustrations, but it was a long process.
The most fun was using Photoshop to add little faces to some of the pictures – like the earthworm and the daisy. Some of the characters were created out of plastic from pop bottles and then painted with fabric paint – like the fairy, the cloud and the dolphin. The little elf was made from flour and water paste, then baked and painted, and his house was a painted stone. Lots of fun!
When one of my brothers-in-law read the original, he said, at the last page – “Is that all there is?” Made me feel good, because he was in his fifties at the time. I figured if he enjoyed it, maybe the kids would as well.
Writing the limericks was a bit of a challenge but I created the images first and that made it easier to give the characters a voice. The skunk proved to be a problem because to find one for a photo was a major challenge. It didn’t occur to me to just change the skunk to a rabbit or a raccoon – no idea why. Then one day I was talking to my sister, Marilyn, and she showed me a photo she had taken of a skunk walking down the side of the road – exactly as it said in my limerick. With her permission (and many thanks from me) I was able to add it to the story.
The process for putting together the kids’ books is very different from sitting and writing a romance, but still fun in a different way. I’m currently working on the third (and probably final) book – this one about fruits and veggies.
And on that note, it’s time to go write some more limericks.
See you next week,
P.S. You can find my books here: