Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company Second Printing

I wrote my first children's book, The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company three years ago for my little guy Jack. The reason I wrote him a book about rhinos is that he was short and stubby and his chubby little legs reminded me of a rhinoceros. So I wrote a book about a little boy who was called every time rhinos escaped from a zoo. His mama drew the pictures, and his sister created a list of "Rhino Facts." And we published it. It turned out beautifully, and because we did such a small press run we ran out immediately. They sold so fast, in fact, that I didn't even get one. 

The picture you're looking at is me reading The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company to Jack for the first time. After which he said "We should buy that book." That seemed like the perfect response. He lives with a poet and an artist mama and a big sister who has already written her first book at 11 so it doesn't seem at all odd to him that people make things. It is strange that this was the first time I had ever read it to him. We read books all the time, just not this one. 

We did a second printing recently. Life is going by like a blur. I've had a serious heart surgery since the first printing, and Jack is getting tall and lean and doesn't at all remind me of a stubby little rhinoceros anymore. The West African Black Rhino is gone from the planet forever since I wrote this book. All of life seems to be going by so fast. 

I'd like for you to buy a copy of this book. Reading it just now I realized I'd included some really adroit sprung rhythms that made me smile as I untangled them in the reading. One of my challenges as a writer writing for children for the first time was not being sing-songy with my rhymes or condescending in my message. I wanted to make sure I was writing something I'd want read to me if I was a child again. I remember my mother reading Syd Hoff's Julius the Gorilla book to me over and over as a child. It was one of my favorites.
Me reading the book I wrote for Jack for the first time

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