Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Story of Kanga-who?

Welcome to the shadowy and not-so-shadowy space behind Sally's books. That's Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. This preamble will be pasted to the top of each post, so feel free to skip it in future.

The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 

The Story of Kanga-who? Post 17

The Story of Kanga-who? (2014) is a rhyming picture book with a difference. I wrote the original version several years ago; it's the life story of Kangaroo, who begins as the roo teen you see on the cover. Each page has one or two lines of rhyming text, each employing a word that rhymes with "roo", and the story goes right through our hero's life until he's an old codger.

This is the story of Kangaroo...

Love in the air?
It's Kanga woo...

Before you know it;
Kanga - I Do!

I had a lot of fun coming up with "roo" rhymes, and walking the tightrope between having Kangaroo totally animal or totally humanised. No one I showed it to seemed to know quite how to take it, but I saw it as a picture book. I thought now and then of self-publishing it, but colour printing can be prohibitively expensive. In 2013, I discovered an illustrator named Jolie who lives in Canada but who had spent some time in Australia. I got her to do a couple of sample pictures for me, and I thought she struck just the right note between humour and realism. I used to commission Jolie to do me another picture every so often, until I had enough to make up a 32 page picture book. The pictures were sepia, but I chose to print in black and white to keep the price affordable.

A black and white picture book? Hmm. The only one I could recall in modern times was one called Arachne. However, back in the 1990s quite a few publishers produced lavishly illustrated stories with short texts, incorporating speech bubbles. My book The Incredible Smell (Post 11) was an example.

It struck me that I could incorporate another idea I had, which was for a picture book that would double as a colouring in book, allowing each person who bought a copy to produce something unique by self-colouring the illustrations.

 So, there you have it; The Story of Kanga-who? a curious hybrid of a book, small enough to slip into a (fairly large) pocket. The verse from the back page encapsulates the tale in a nutshell.

This is the story of Kangaroo
and a cosy shack named "Kanga-view"
a kanga sheila; a joey or two...
an Aussie family real true-blue
it's fair to say they're a lot like you....
That's if you were a kangaroo!

The Story of Kanga-who? is available for $8.00 plus postage from Buy Me

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