First of all, the characters in these brilliant books all drive cars that echo either their personality, job or both. For example, Lowly the Worm drives an apple-helicopter and the monkey drives a giant banana-shaped car. I loved this as a kid. It made so much sense to me and these whimsical automobiles were so much inspiring than the typical vehicles I rode around in.
So, after more than 30 years of dreaming of my own car that mirrors my true persona, I now have my own mermaid-car. Well, sort of. I don't drive a long, voluptuous, half-naked fish woman with flowing locks (yet), but I made my first step in that direction by sticking on a car magnet with the cover of my new novella, Women Float, on the side of my very pedestrian ride. Now, stuck in traffic, I imagine people looking at me and wondering about the book and how to get their hands on one and how cool I must look with a book car magnet on my door.
The second reason I keep thinking of Richard Scarry is because of my daughter. She loves the image on the side of my car and she toddles over to it and points at it repeatedly, a high compliment for her. I also had an 8-year-old girl from the afterschool group I lead at the farm admire it. Mermaids are making me big with the pre-pre-pre teen crowd. Are there any marketing stats on this group? I'd call them neener-tweeners and let me tell you: mermaids are huge.
Is it the mythic fish-lady or Richard Scarry that is appealing to my daughter? See, just she started reading her first Richard Scarry book. A friend got it for us at a Carpinteria Friends of the Library Used Book Sale. I understood why the board book was on sale as soon as we got home. Each of the 10 pages included a jigsaw puzzle embedded in the page, all of which fell out and were lost as soon as we got home. No problem. My daughter doesn't worry about something trivial like losing puzzle pieces. She's still got pictures of Huckle Cat riding Lowly around on his bike and then watching him buzz off on his applecopter. And she now gets to admire Sargeant Murphy pulling over the monkey, Bananas, in his banana car.
I can't confirm this, yet, because she's not really talking but I think my daughter has re-named me with my own Richard Scarry-esque persona name, now that my car has a makeover. I think I'm now Wawamama. (That's Watermother to you.) I'll let you know for sure in a few months when I can discuss all this, and more, with my little reader.
In the mean time, thanks to everyone for their cheers of support for Women Float. Jason, my publisher at CCLaP, told me to tell everyone who pre-ordered that books should start arriving this week. The book is now officially for sale here and I look forward to the book launch, this Friday, in Carpinteria. Come see me so I can sign your book and we can discuss why so many of the Richard Scarry characters wear lederhosen.