Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Books in a pod

I believe in Mister Grieves

Charlotte at Charlotte's Library reviewed a new book I've not seen yet. Rabbit & Squirrel: A Tale of War and Peas is apparently not your garden-variety garden book, and I'm gonna find it and I'm gonna read it. It's by the team that came up with Ugly Fish - the illustrator of The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster and the author of the Rocko and Spanky books.

Charlotte was kind of queasy about the book - mostly because she's feeling very protective of the baby peas in her garden. I know how she feels. We've been getting enough peas for dinner every night this week and there is nothing as sweet and full of life as a mouthful of peas you just picked out of your own garden. All that tilling, and planting the li'l suckers in cold crappy March, and it comes down to a tiny green burst as they pop between your molars.

I wonder what it is about peas, though, that so inspires children's authors? There's Little Pea, of course, Pickin' Peas, and The Pea Blossom. We met Henry, who believes that peas bring on an uncontrollable physical reaction in him, in Night of the Veggie Monster, reviewed earlier here, and another picky eater in Don't Let The Peas Touch. There was Paul the pea in The Runaway Dinner, although he got eaten by a duck, so that's kind of sad.

Rachel Isadora, Lauren Child, Harriet Ziefert, and Mini Grey have coaxed multiple princesses (and one penguin) into attempting to sleep on multiple peas. There's The Monster Who Ate My Peas, The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea, and Shanté Keys and the New Year's Peas. We've got Pea Pod Babies, which is especially gruesome if you know how my sons and I eat our peas. There's even a picture book biography of Gregor Mendel, fer Pete's sake!

My theory - and you know I have one - is simple. Just as it is easy to grow peas - the seeds are big and easy to handle, the soil needn't be tilled too deeply, they're early enough that weeds and powdery mildew don't really come into play - it is easy to draw peas. Get a green marker. Draw a slightly irregular circle. Color it in. Hey! You drew a pea! Draw a face on your pea. Hey! You drew a character! Now all you need is a plot, some dialogue, a friendly editor, a publishing house, and you are on your way!*

In fact, here's a plot for you. Thank me later.

When he says "giraffe" I'm fairly certain he means "raft".

*I am joking. No disrespect intended. Keep writing about peas.

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