The discussion usually happens around every October. As Halloween approaches, my students and I often enjoy chatting about all things scary -including scary movies. This is the nice thing about the art room, as long as we continue to work on on our project and speak respectfully, we can all enjoy a conversation about neat stuff like that. Anyway, a fave question of mine is, “What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?” Some kids like the made-for-kids type of Halloween movies like Spooky Buddies (in which, btw, I played a hypnotized mom in a Queen of Hearts costume -see my post Doodling on the Movie Set, from way back) and some kids love to brag about the questionable horror movies that they likely sneak-watched on Netflix.
So when I’m asked what the scariest movie is for me, I usually get (understandably) laughed at because, well, it’s Jurassic Park. The first one. Since almost every kid on the planet has watched the Jurassic movies and lived to tell the tale, I can see why they find it funny that I am so wimpy about a dinosaur movie. But when I first watched Jurassic Park in the movie theatre, remember that scene with the puddle water vibrating from the thunderous step of a tyrannosaurus rex, well, I wanted to go home right then. But I hung in there… and for what? Because that later scene with with the raptors was so much worse! You know, that raptors-chasing-the-kids-in-the-kitchen scene. Yikes! Ever since then, raptors have scared the heck out of me.
This is why I decided (and perhaps, for cathartic reasons) to start writing a series of dark little nursery rhymes, all starring at least one raptor. And why not? Don’t stark contrasts make for intriguing scenarios? Not to mention, some very interesting illustrations could come out of it. And so, Four & Twenty Raptors was conceived.
Over the school year, I cobbled together over 30 little rapto-rhymes, created one sample illustration (Rub-a-Dub-Raptor), and a few months ago, sent a query off to a literary agent in New York. I didn’t think anything would come of it because, admittedly, it is a pretty weird concept for a kids book. But I received a response the very next day. My first query! The agent said he loved it…..So, at this point, you are thinking this was supposed to lead to a sun-shiny happy ending, but alas, it didn’t as that particular agent did not pan out. A bummer, yes, BUT, that agent’s initial response was super-encouraging for me to keep trying. And I will, folks, because who wouldn’t want to see Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater get eaten by a raptor (serves him right anyway for sticking his wife in a pumpkin shell).