I’ve been writing these stories about a Sheep and his friend Bunny. They are kind of kids’ stories, but kind of not. By that, I mean children could read them and enjoy them, but they are not picture books. I would love to have illustrations of the stories, but that would probably be too expensive if I self-published the book. Normally I don’t write stories like these. They are unusual for me. These, however, are special stories, so I thought you might be interested in where they came from.
I talked to a few people about writing kids books. I discovered kids love stories involving talking animals, stories that have recurring phrases, and kids are really amused by poop. Luckily for the kids, there is lots of pooping going on in these stories. Well, sheep pooping. I didn’t set out to write a kids book, but a series of stories about a sheep and a bunny. It just kind of came out that way…poop, making poopourri, a poop throwing monkey….
So what got me into writing about a silly sheep, his special friend Bunny (who has superhero powers) and poop? Well, it started with my real life friend: Bunny. He is not a real live rabbit but was born in the year of the Rabbit. I was born in the year of the Sheep. So we have gotten into the habit of calling each other “Sheepy” and “Bunny.” “Bunny” is a shy person, and (me being silly the way I am) started making up stories about him having an alter-ego: Super Bunny. Super Bunny has an array of super powers: the power to shoot laser beams out of his eyes, the ability to jump way high in the air with his powerful hind legs, he can swat away flying bullets with his floppy ears, and has a supersonic tail waggle! Above is a picture of Bunny in his rabbit form with black spots and floppy ears.
And here is Sheepy. This is what I imagine Sheepy to look like. If those sheep look familiar, it’s because they are a screen shot from that Honda Ridgeline commercial, where the sheep are singing the Queen song: “Someone to Love.” Shush, don’t tell, but here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Omhwu2Fc4. I love those singing sheep. I want to hug them. You have probably figured out by now that I can silly like a sheep.
That’s how our alter-egos formed, but where did the stories come from? If you look on my Sheepy and Bunny are Friends page, you will find my current table of contents of the stories.
Sheep are silly creatures sometimes, and this one is prone to imaginary flights. So this sheep built an imaginary house to pretend to live in. As Sheepy built his imaginary house, Bunny got his own room. Then other animals came to live in the imaginary house. Bunny rabbits, kitty cats, chipmunks, squirrels, and penguins came to snuggle in our beds. Silkie chickens, beavers, fishes, birdies, maybe even some bees came to inhabit the garden and the fountain.
It’s so nice to have an imaginative landscape that we can inhabit. It’s the kind of thing that writers and other creative people do.
I know most people will criticize. They will say that’s stupid; it’s childish, grow up! Why? Why should I be cold, critical, uninspired, unimaginative? I like my silly stories and my childish imagination.
I guess the landscape of the imaginary house wasn’t big enough anymore. That’s when the meadow appeared full of flowers and trees with squirrels and chipmunks in their branches. Then a big garden full of yummy fruit with butterflies and bees, and a pond with ducks where the sheep to take cool drinks. Rams and ewes with their baby lambs munching fresh green grass in the pasture. And a cow named Bessie since all cows seem to be named Bessie. And a monkey that throws poop (where did the monkey come from?—oh, yeah, both Sheepy and Bunny have brothers that are monkeys). And a moody beaver. That’s when Bad Farmer and his Housewife came into the story (they are not evil, just a bit inept), someone has to feed the animals. And then there is Uni the magic unicorn who poops rainbow candy. All the animals awaited his arrival on Christmas Eve. When he came, all the animals were amazed by his splendor and generosity. All the animals love Uni.
There was just too much good material here to ignore. So I decided to make some stories about these characters, starting with “Sheepy Takes a Tumble”: about how Sheepy tries to get some honey to put behind his ear for Bunny to lick, while Bunny is riding on Sheepy’s back. This first story soon became five, then seven, then 12 and has topped out at 18 now.
These stories grew out of our chats (online, of course) since Bunny lives in Canada and Sheepy is in the U.S. Turns out, my friend Bunny has a similar childlike sense of humor like Sheepy does. I did have one basic rule: All of the stories had to grow out of our chats and remain consistent with the imaginative world we were developing. Some fun new characters showed up, like piggy who is both a hair dresser and magician, and the donkey named Jake. Those two characters grew out of the emoticon smilies on Skype. It was a typo that gave Chippy the chipmunk his boyfriend Chilly. In another typo, moonbeams turned into moonbeans, magic beans that fall from the sky on the full moon before Easter.
I wanted Bunny to share in the creation of these stories. Many of the details were his ideas. I wanted these stories to be as much Bunny’s as they are Sheepy’s. Thanks, little Bunny! Sheepy snuggles Bunny in sheep wool. Bahh.