Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sweet Animals

By Katelyn Elizabeth Spiegelberg (transcribed by her doting father)

A monkey was on the road. The monkey didn't know where the car was going. So he followed it. Then, a truck came up. The monkey was scared. And then it was a pet store truck. The monkey ran and hid. But the pet store owner caught him. The monkey was very scared. "Hmm," said the monkey. And then a rabbit came up. Why did the rabbit hop? Because it was trying to get to the pet store. And then a little girl came and picked out the monkey as her pet. But the rabbit wanted her. But the pet store owner said, "You can be my pet."

She decided she wanted to make a book, and was inspired by a stencil that had a rabbit and a monkey on it. Those stencils decorate the cover of the book.

Note the tension right away. The road is transition, made more frightening because of the lack of destination. The tension builds as identities are confirmed, and action taken against the protagonist. Then, when all is darkest, some humor is injected with a carefully placed "Hmm." A new character is introduced to keep the reader's interest, along with a change in authorial tone. This seemingly separate narrative strand is entwined to the original plot. Just when we think the rabbit will achieve the monkey's escape, yet another character comes onto the scene. With the resolution of the monkey's plight, it becomes apparent that this was not the primary conflict. The real conflict was between the monkey and the rabbit, not the monkey and the pet store owner. Both animals wanted the same owner, even if the monkey did not have that self-awareness at the beginning of the story. The ending is intentionally open-ended. Is the rabbit happy with this substitution? Does he even agree to be the pet store owner's pet? Is the pet store owner acting out of altruism, or for more nefarious purposes?

[Hey, John Scalzi did it, why can't I?]

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