Show Us! (Post 52)
Show Us! (1987) started out as a story about a girl who had a horse called Helicopper. Or did she? I really don't remember how that idea came up, but I suspect it was from something one of my children said. In any case, I changed the horse to a pig. Again, I don't remember why!
Anna Louise, the self-possessed heroine, tells her friends at school that she has a pig at home. They don't believe her. Each day, she adds another detail to the story of her wonderful pig. It's very old, it belonged to her granny, she washes it in the tub, it needs a lot of money, and it's an unlikely colour. Whenever Anna Louise adds a new detail, her friends question her and ask her to, "Show us!" She always has an excuse.
Eventually the children get so persistent with their challenge (having asked various mentors whether pigs really are like that) that Anna Louise arranges for them to come to her house in the week end. There she shows them the famous pig and lo! Every single thing she said was true. She simply never told them it was a china money pig.
Show Us! is a bit of fun, a tall tale that turns out to be literally true. Anna Louise is a past mistress at the art of creative truth-telling, managing to mislead a whole class while never saying anything untrue.
Apart from the story, which I enjoyed creating, there are three interesting points.
1. This book was released to both the trade and education market.
2. The first publisher I sent it to rejected it with the comment that it wouldn't be possible to illustrate without revealing the twist. (The publisher that did take it had no problem, electing to use thought-clouds to show what the class was visualising.)
3. The book was dated even before it hit the shops becoming possibly the last children's book in Australia to feature a picture of a two dollar note.
Show Us is, like quite a few of my older books (goodness! It's 30 years old!) kicking on in the eBay and abebooks market. There are no copies available at the time of writing, but if you want one check eBay often.
About the Blog
Sally is 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.