Why do I write? The answer lies in the fact I enjoy reading. It all began with Uncle Wiggley Longears, the rabbit gentleman stories by Howard Garis. At bedtime at our house in the nineteen forties, my father would entertain me and my siblings with his own version of an ‘Uncle Wiggley Adventure.’ After an ending, “And if the turnips do not fall into the cabbage patch traps and get eaten by the turtle tribe, tomorrow I will tell you about Uncle Wiggley’s narrow escape from the falling tree near ‘Henry’, the covered bridge.” (In Vermont, covered bridges are named). With an eager readiness at the next bedtime, three children sat in anticipation as my father struggled to fabricate a new Uncle Wiggley adventure.
I learned early that children’s authors captivate a child’s and an adult’s imagination in a magical, mind-stretching manner that no other writer can do. The children/young adult authors who are repeatedly read in our home and are impressive masters to follow are: Howard Garis, Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss, Laura
Inglis Wilder, J.K. Rowlings, Carolyn Keene, Franklin Dixon, E.B. White and Lewis Carroll.
Children’s authors often pen a story for a particular child as Clement Moore did when he wrote the renowned poem, ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ to satisfy his children’s need for a Christmas story. A child has an imagination filled with wonder and welcomes all types of zany and horrific tales. Put it all together and zap – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
I have written a story entitled, ‘The Polka Dot Mystery,’ with my three grandchildren. It began on a rainy day when the children complained there was nothing to do. I pulled out pencils and paper. We sat around the kitchen table and began with the oldest child creating a sentence first. Then the second child added her sentence, followed by a grandson’s wacky sentence. My sentence came next and balanced his morbid one. We continued to do this until we had completed a story, ‘The Polka Dot Mystery.’ To our surprise, it was published in a children’s magazine.
The next time you browse through a bookstore, check out the children’s section. And watch out for rabbits – they have multiplied in the story market. Hop to it!