Sunday, August 14, 2011

Twenty and some years ago, I hand-illustrated and printed a couple of picture books for the amusement of my myriad nephews. I had not thought of them for some while but my recent work reminded of me of their existence, tucked away in my safe with other 'important papers.'

The one is quite absurd and quite unusable in any sort of updated form -- it's about the Easter Bunny fighting a vampire rabbit and was totally intended as silliness, not for general consumption.

The other, however, is Awful Alvin, the story of which I subsequently rewrote in rhyme. It could readily be turned into a book. The original pictures are not any use, as they are, but might serve as guides to a new series of illustrations.

Which might well be in color. Not sure on that one; it could certainly work as a pen and ink thing. Heck, if they are color pictures they'll probably just be drawings to which I add color anyway (comic book style).

So I'm adding it to the list of projects. Why not? It's not like I have anything else to keep me busy...

I may have posted the text of Awful Alvin sometime in the last few years I've been blogging here. But here it is again:

Awful Alvin

Some children are as good as gold,
As sweet as sugar, I am told;
Like little angels, some will say,
But Alvin never was that way.

He was the naughtiest of boys;
Sometimes he broke his sister’s toys.
He even scribbled on the wall,
For Alvin wasn’t nice at all.

He was so bad that others came
To call him by a different name;
“There’s Awful Alvin,” they’d all say
And none of them would want to play.

No, Alvin wouldn’t do as told,
Not even when his mom would scold.
It didn’t help to take time out;
He’d make an ugly face and pout.

His father told him, “When you’re bad
It makes your mother and me sad.”
But Alvin didn’t seem to care;
He threw a tantrum, then and there!

What this boy needed was a friend,
A somebody who would depend
On Alvin to watch out for him,
To be his pal through thick and thin.

His parents loved him and they knew
A boy without a friend won’t do,
So, just as Alvin’s birthday neared,
A large, mysterious box appeared.

Who knows what might be in a box?
It could be toys, it could be socks!
Then from inside, there came a yip;
He had it open in a zip.

It was a puppy, Alvin’s own,
To care for and to give a home,
To be his friend in every way
And stay at his side, come what may.

But even this small pup could see
A boy named “Awful” might not be
The kind of friend a puppy needed;
Poor Alvin knelt down and he pleaded.

“Will you be my friend? If you would,
I’ll try my hardest to be good,”
He promised and he didn’t lie;
The best that we can do is try.

The dog believed him, too, I guess;
He wagged his tail and that meant yes.
Then into Alvin’s arms he wriggled
And licked his face until he giggled!

From that day, Alvin did his best
To show the pup he’d pass the test
And so, at last, he found a friend;
His story has a happy end.

For Alvin was okay, inside,
And proved that when he really tried
He could be better than before;
He’s not so awful anymore.

Stephen Brooke ©1998, 2011

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