This is the first story I ever wrote with a “market” in mind (aka, magazines). It was the first assignment I did when I took The Institute of Children’s Literature course. Of course I’ve since discovered I enjoy writing for older audiences, but every now and then I look at this and wonder, could I illustrate this a turn it into a picture book?
Read through it and tell me what you think!
Once, Twice, Three Times!
“This is Magic Soap,” Harry Hippo said to his friend, Richie Rhino.
Richie splashed beside him in the bubblebath. “It is not.”
“It is,” said Harry. “A green grizzly bear gave it to me.”
“Sure he did,” said Richie.
He rubbed the soap on a sponge and creamy blue suds dripped onto a yellow rubber duck. “Once, twice, three times,” Harry chanted, setting the rubber duck on the bathtub’s edge.
“Why are you staring at me, Richie?” Harry made the rubber duck ask. “Is my bill loose?”
Splashing the rubber duck into the water, he said, “See, he talked.”
Richie shook his head. “You made him talk, Harry.”
“Huh-uh,” Harry said. “Once, twice, three times!” He sprinkled suds on a green toy fish.
“Hi, hi!” he made the toy fish say. Dashing water on the walls, he dove the fish into the water. “Ker-splash!”
“Harry!” Richie groaned. “You’re getting everything wet.”
Harry only grinned. “Now, I’ll do the bathtub.”
“Don’t be silly,” Richie said, standing up. “I’m getting out now.” He grabbed a towel and climbed out of the tub. Water sloshed over the side.
“See you do it too,” said Harry. He scrambled out after him and scrubbed soap on the bathtub’s claw feet. “Once, twice, three times!” he yelled. “Oh no, it’s going to get us!”
Harry scooped up the toys, showering water on the floor.
“Stop it, Harry,” Richie rubbed dry with a towel. “You”ll get us both in trouble!”
“Run, Richie!” shouted Harry, racing across the slippery floor. “The bathtub’s going to get you!”
Richie covered his eyes. “Harry, you’re making me dizzy.”
“I’ve got to get rid of the Magic Soap. It’s the only way to save us!” Harry heaved the soap out an open window.
Suddenly, Harry heard footsteps in the hall. Silence slid across the room like a wet shower curtain.
Mama stood in the doorway.
Bubbles covered the floor. The walls were soaked with water stains. Harry stood in a big puddle of water.
“Uh-oh,” said Harry.
“What happened?” Mama put her paws on her hips.
Clearing his throat, Harry said, “Well, it was all the soap’s fault.”
“The soap!” Mama exclaimed.
“Actually, it was the green grizzly bear’s fault.”
“A green grizzly bear?” Mama raised her eyebrows. Scuffing the wet floor with his foot, Harry sighed. “No. It was my fault, really.”
Mama smiled. “I’m glad you told the truth, Harry. Now, who do you think gets to clean up this mess?”
Harry groaned. “Me.”
“Correct!” Mama said. “Now, get this cleaned up, then you boys can have cookies and milk.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said.
Mama smiled at him, handed him the mop and left the room.
Harry glanced sheepishly at Richie. “Whoops,” he said.
“Can I help?” Richie asked. He wiped up some bubbles with his towel.
Harry blinked. “Uh, sure,” he said. “Thanks.” Wasn’t Richie going to say I told you so?”
He took a deep breath. “And Richie? I’m sorry.”
“No problem.” Richie socked him on the arm. “Come on. Let’s make quick work of this!”
A rough sketch for illustrations ideas (they are bears in the picture because I originally wrote them as bears).
So what do you think–picture book or no?