Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Picture Books in the Wild

          My family ventured into the great outdoors for a camping weekend recently. The girls had a blast swimming in a too-nice-for-a-campground pool, catching fish who jumped on the hook without much coaxing, and a playground with an old-school merry-go-round (which mom rode for quite awhile only to remember her accelerated age causes dizziness and nausea on spinny things.)
            Even though I wasn't writing on our trip, picture book images kept appearing.
Take for instance this celebrity:



       Yes, the Very Hungry Caterpillar himself!  And my oh my it looks like he has been filling up on hotdogs and s'mores and cheeseballs. The girls, assuming he had a tummy ache, gave him a nice green leaf. 
       After proudly showing him to the boys at the next site (carefully, too - boys squish things,) we placed him in a tree to enjoy a nice green leaf. It has been about two weeks, so he may be becoming a beautiful butterfly very soon. Or actually a beautiful moth - this guy may be a luna moth caterpillar, but I had a hard time identifying him.  
       And this guy dressed to the nines for camping? 

       Why that's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Yes, Roald Dahl's patriarch of patriarchs was out enjoying the splendid weather.  He has found dropped ice cream sandwiches from small children leaving the camp store are almost as delightful as a fat chicken. 


            Now this guy visited us at breakfast. 
        As I moved my hand to shoo him away from the cocoa pebbles he jumped into the air and with a "click" was dead!  Now, I know what you're thinking since there have been bug incidents on this blog before, but I didn't shoo him hard, really I didn't. I didn't even touch the guy, I swear! I am nothing but kind to bugs, except on certain occasions

         I considered that he may have had an allergic reaction to chocolate, the poor fellow.  But after a few minutes he flipped himself over and started moving again.  The little stinker was playing dead!  After all the sorrow I felt, here I was the butt of his joke. This was my first time meeting a click beetle, and I thought maybe he was inspiration for a new picture book. But, alas, I found Mr. Carle has done a nice job with the Very Clumsy Click Beetle
      Have you found picture books coming to life around you, too?

22 comments:

  1. LOVE this post! We've been seeing quite a few "Charlottes" around, though "Wilbur" been quite hard to find in our suburban neighborhood. Can't wait to hear what other kidlit characters folks see. Very clever and fun, Lauri.

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    1. Eww, eww, Laura you reminded me of the Charlotte's Web incident I had last year. I was getting something off the workbench when I touched a spider web. I moved my arm but it hit another spider string. I scanned my surroundings and realized I was in the middle of a hatching! Little spiders were hanging from their little silks and flying off bravely into the world. It was disgusting! And inspiring. But mostly disgusting :)

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  2. Great post Lauri! I've seen lots of "Runaway Bunnies" around my hood lately. They're adorable but driving my cat crazy! p.s. I would have been completely grossed out by those baby spiders!

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    1. Aww, baby bunnies are so curious as they get a little farther from the hutch every day! I'm glad the cat didn't get them yet. :) I was in the garage yesterday and there is a 2 foot spiderweb on the chop saw - "no, not again!!!"

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  3. Just came back from Vermont. Pretty sure I saw Oliver Jeffer's THIS MOOSE BELONGS TO ME. Or maybe it was Bullwinkle...

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  4. You saw Marcel?! Oh Cathy you lucky dog. That's my favorite picture book right now!

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  5. I didn't realize cocoa pebbles could be a ploy for playing dead! LOL! I have seen a click beetle before. They're kind of cool with that clicking and flipping!
    Sounds like your camping was adventurous and educational!

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    1. If bugs had TVs and their TVs had commercials and their commercials were for beer, then Mr. Click Beetle would play the role of The Most Interesting Bug in the World. Giant bright red amazon poisonous beetles would say "No way, I'm much more interesting." But then Mr. Click Beetle would click and play dead and the other bugs would feel really bad for making fun of him and would name him the Most Interesting Bug in the World (posthumously.) But then he would click back to life with a smug smile on his face.

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  6. Did you see any reminders of the book "Everybody Poops?"

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    1. Oh yes! A worm pooped on me (though where worms end and poop begins is so hard to tell) and there were many piles of deer poop. So of course the girls had to get down on their knees and stick their noses an inch from the steaming load to check it out. Luckily we had no roll-down-the-hill-through-poop incidents!

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  7. I love your picture book adventure! I am going to look at my surroundings a whole new way. I want to live in a picture book too!

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    1. It's so much more fun living in a picture book world rather than the boring old "real" world designed for grown-ups and children who have lost their imaginations due to neglect.

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  8. Fun post, Lauri! I've never met a click beetle before (unless it was playing dead so I didn't notice it) but I hope I do-- got to love a bug with a sense of humor.
    I'll be looking around for the picture book life moments!

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    1. Mr. Click Beetle plays dead with flair! It's not just like a roly-poly who rolls up casually and won't come out. Or a turtle who pulls his head in. He clicks and flips and jumps through the air. Love it!

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  9. After cleaning our yard yesterday, I had way too many Itsy Bitsy Spider flashbacks. :) Great post, Lauri! And even though I am spider challenged, I always had fun camping with my kids!

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    1. We had a few too many high-pitched screams caused by daddy long legs. I kept trying to tell the kids they were the nicest spiders, but they weren't buying it when they were all over the outside of the tent. Which reminds me when I was reading by lantern light in the tent, lightning bugs would light up the outside of the tent trying to mate with me (er, well, my book that is). That was pretty cool!

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  10. All of the time! Every day I encounter a critter, insect, child, situation, or clouds in the sky that inspire me. Characters, rhyming lyrics, chapter book ideas and situations pop into my head. I have a YA idea that isn't ready to be written. When I bike on a certain path, those characters start whispering to me. I equate all of this to "opening the window." Once my creative writing window is open, the ideas stream through. When I have to focus all of my energy on my family, I shut the window, but there's always someone who gets caught on the sill! http://bmoreenergy.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/beach-blanket-bingo/

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    1. That sounds like the start of a great blog post... "Jessi, the constantly sulking 15-year-old heroine of my YA WIP, was really in a fine mood after spending the night on the ledge after I had to shut my writing window to make dinner."

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  11. You have Jedi Mind Powers, obviously. How else could you kill a bug just by looking at him?

    LOL

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    1. If I had those powers, wouldn't I be able to get my kids to stop screaming at me just by looking at them??? (ahh, wouldn't it be nice!)

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