Our second submission of the month comes from Cheryl. Here are the first 300 words of her "Peter Rabbit type adventure story." The age of the intended audience is 4 – 8 year olds and the setting is the American Southwest. The main character is, obviously, a prairie dog! My comments are in purple and to see what Dianne Salerni had to say, check out her blog, In High Spirits.
Prairie Dog Town
Under a sunburnt sky, below a long sandy field, lay a town of prairie dog families. Now, the prairie dog mothers all loved their babies, and the prairie dog fathers all loved their burrows. But what the prairie dog babies loved most of all was listening to stories. I like this beginning. It has a certain cadence to it I imagine might be appealing to children.
Especially, one baby named Angel. Angel loved hearing stories about the earth above. I'd like a more imaginative name but that's just me...
“Tell me about the sky,” he said to his aunt.
“It’s bigger than this whole burrow,” she said, again.
Angel’s eyes opened wide, wondering how anything could be that big.
“Tell me about the trees,” Angel said to another aunt.
“They’re taller than all our burrows stacked together,” she said,
Angel twitched his nose, trying to imagine something so tall.
“And the plains,” he said to a third.
“Are longer than all of the tunnels in Prairie Dog Town, end to end,” they said together.
“The desert is so fun,” said a fourth. “You’ll love it!”
One day, Angel couldn’t wait any longer. When his mother wasn’t looking, he raced to the end of the tunnel and stuck out his head.
“Is that the …?” he said, staring up at the vast blue space.
An eagle swooped down and snatched Angel up in his talons.
“Oh my,” Angel said, feeling the pinch of the eagle’s claws. “The sky may be big, but it hurts.”
The eagle flew to a patch of high ground and landed in a tall pine tree.
“Is this a …?” Angel said, twisting with excitement.
The eagle loosened his talons in surprise.
Down, down, down, Angel fell.
Until THUMP, he landed in bank of snow.
“Goodness,” Angel said, shivering. “The trees may be tall, but they’re very cold.” If Angel is a baby he should talk a little more like a baby, imo. How about this: Angel shivered, eyes big. "The trees may be tall, but they're very cold."
Angel shook his coat, and started walking. Downhill. After a while, he came to a plain filled with waving blue grass.
“Look here,” he said to two sets of straight legs. “Is this …?”
“MOOOOOOOOOO,” said a bison.
Angel stepped back, and back,
Until BASH, BUMP, CRASH,
he stumbled over a pile of rocks.
I would love to see the illustrations that might go along with this story. That said, I have to profess my ignorance when it comes to picture books. It has been a long time since I bought them on a regular basis and my tastes run to the old fashioned like Mike Mulligan and Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak. I do think this sounds like a fun story about a naughty baby praire dog who is going to learn a lesson. I also hope my friend Sheri will stop by because she knows lots more than me about PBs!
Thank you Cheryl for sharing this and I hope my readers will chime in on this one.