Once a year, we send Bobbledy Club members a book with a few prompts and invite them to bring their full creative powers to the task of writing and illustrating their own books.
This year’s prompt book looked like this:
This time around, we added a twist by including a sheet of Robbi-drawn stickers for kids to use as inspiration for their own stories and drawings.
We sent out both of the above. We waited and waited while kids made their books. Then, suddenly, packages started arriving in the mail, padded envelopes, Priority Mail dispatches, even the carefully wrapped parcel or two.
The fun part was reading them and seeing all the amazing stories and ideas and images that flow so freely from the minds of kids. It’s a tap of eternal inspiration and imagination, and we’re so lucky to get to drink from that firehose.
The hard part was picking just one of the dozens of great books kids sent our way. But we hemmed and hawed and hemmed some more and finally came to the conclusion that the one true winner of this year’s contest was, for the first time, the product of more than one kid. Please join me in congratulating Eleanor, Isabel and Will Bolas on their triumph of sibling collaboration, Peacock and Duck Save Friendship!
I would give you the setup, but the kids do it so well themselves.
From there, things get exciting a hurry. There are various hijinks, threats, and mishap.
There are moments of hilarious pathos.
There is a truly epic “backstory,” which allows us to identify with and cultivate sympathy for the evil robotic overlord antagonist.
There is justice, but also mercy.
And in the final estimation, there is the happy ending that one hopes for in books about friendship.
Here are the author/illustrator triumvirate as drawn in their own inimitable style.
And here they are, drawn by Robbi (Eleanor, Isabel, and Will, left to right).
I have it on great authority that the arrival of the package was met with great joy in the Bolas household. Eleanor was overheard saying “it’s like a dream! I keep thinking I’m going to wake up!” And with good reason. It is not just everyday that one’s first published book arrives in the mail. I had to wait until I was 35 for it to happen.
Over the course of that first exciting evening, the book was read repeatedly by various configurations of Bolases to various other configurations of Bolases.
The next morning, books were taken to school to be shared and gifted to respective classrooms. One of Eleanor’s classmates was so enthusiastic, that he plans to write fan fiction to continue the story with the same characters.
Take a close look. These are the faces of tomorrow’s literary landscape. If you are literally searching for your wallet at this moment in hopes of obtaining your very own copy of Peacock and Duck Save Friendship, I will do you the courtesy of providing the link that will expedite this transaction.
But we must take a moment to acknowledge all of the other incredible kids who shared their amazing work with us. Here is just a little glimpse of each book we received.
I think you’ll soon see why our decision was so very difficult.
As far as we can tell, Peacock and Duck Save Friendship has been enthusiastically received by kids who entered the contest but did not win.
Here, for example, are Aurora and Leila, enjoying their own book while seeing what Eleanor, Isabel, and Will came up with.
And here is Joseph, whose mom reports the following:
Joseph came in, took off his backpack, tore open the red and purple envelope and settled in to read for his twenty minutes of homework. I felt as if the steam from the book, hot of the press, was still rising from the book, it was so freshly read this afternoon.
Joseph said ” I didn’t like the book, I LOVED IT! They wrote a great story! The robot slipped on a banana peel like oooooooo!”
And there you have it. Perhaps the only thing better than seeing the excitement that results from seeing one’s book published is seeing the support and excitement other kids can feel for their fellow young authors — even when they themselves don’t win.
Thanks to EVERY LAST KID who participated in this contest. We hope you enjoyed making a story and bringing it to life with pictures. We sure enjoyed getting the chance to glimpse inside your brains and hearts. Which is, after all, what making books (and sharing them) is all about.
This is Hope. Hope recently experienced the singular thrill of celebrating the anniversary of her birth. Note the festive pink hat. This girl knows how to party. We are flattered and delighted that in the midst of the jubilee, she took a few moments to draw us a picture.
And what a drawing it is! We challenge you not to be riveted while examining this scene in which the Kitty Sheriff (his earnest, crime-fighting intentions are evident in his expertly-drawn eyes), rides bareback on a muscular steed in hot pursuit of a cat robber with the ill intentions of stealing something, presumably Hope’s birthday cake. Because it’s Hope’s birthday, if you didn’t catch my earlier meaning.
What do I love about this drawing? Perhaps the better question is what I do not love. And the answer to that question is “nothing.” Because I love it all. The crescent moon. The sheriff’s neatly coiled (rope? lasso? Indiana-Jones-style bullwhip?), the lovely architectural detail of the the sheriff headquarters’ roofline, the look of grim determination on the eyes of the robber in question.
The scene suggests a grand finale — the forces of darkness and light in collision. How will it end? Which cat will prevail? We do so hope that Hope will draw the next scene, if only to sate our curiosity.
Perhaps at her next birthday? Or perhaps (hopefully) even sooner.
All of this is to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOPE! Thank you for sharing your drawing with us! WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE MORE.
Candy. You know you love it. It’s terrible for you, but THAT IS NOT THE POINT. It fills your mouth with joy. It comes in many shapes and sizes, and it has been making kids happy and dentists sad for a long, long time.
According to the dictionary, candy is a confection that features sugar as the main ingredient. Popular kinds of candy are chocolate, gum, and lollipops. BUT YOU KNOW ALL THIS ALREADY.
But what don’t you know about candy?
Did you know that the very first official candy was created between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE (that means 2,500 years ago!) when people in Southeast Asia boiled sugarcane juice to create pieces of delicious sweet sugar? I did not know until this very moment. That is called research, my friends.
Did you know that once upon a time, candy was considered MEDICINE!? As in something you would eat to calm a bellyache or make your sore throat feel better? That, my friends, is what we call the good old days.
For a long time, only rich people could afford candy, but then, in the early 1800’s, sugar became easier to get ahold of and machines were invented that could make candy much more quickly and cheaply. At which point, someone invented the candy store! And so children, who had been stockpiling pennies for a long time without anything delicious to spend them on, started trading those worthless copper disks for sweet delicious delight.
At this point, all the dentists got together and cried for the sake of everyone’s teeth before realizing that the development was actually rather good for business.
And that is the brief and utterly incomplete history of candy. Just know this: if you like candy, you are lucky to be living in a time in history when it is easy to get. If you don’t like candy, you should probably check to make sure you are an actual kid and not a robot cyborg.
But here is my true confession: I don’t really like candy. It’s just to0 sweet. I prefer a nice ripe peach.
That’s quite enough for today. There will be more about candy to come. For now, I leave you with this delightful video of a man making cotton candy while dancing on a beach. The internet is a miraculous place. Though, I advise you not go there unattended.
In parting, here’s a little quiz: write a comment on this post with all the kinds of candy you can think of and then let us know your very favorite kind.
Over the past few days, we have been inundated with requests from eager young authors and illustrators (and their eager old parents) requesting JUST A BIT of extra time to finish their versions of Once Upon a Time. Because we at Bobbledy are more interested in doing everything we can to help kids write and illustrate their own stories than we are in being sticklers about deadlines, we have decided to extend the deadline by TWO FULL WEEKS so that kids can have the entire Columbus Day weekend to work on their books.
The new postmark deadline is October 15!
Are we playing fast and loose with the rules of the game? Perhaps.
Are we far too generous for our own good? If you say so.
Are we looking forward to reading your books? Absolutely.