You’ll probably notice the writing isn’t really for “little kids”. I suppose when this all started it was just the lyrics to the song Zōsan, which were much more simple:
You have a very long nose
Yes, my mama has a long nose too.
When I wrote, I found myself writing detailed descriptions — imagining sounds, and putting myself inside the head of a little elephant. It ended up being more in the in the spirit of E.B. White, Holling C. Holling, or Lewis Carroll. (If I may be so bold.)
So it’s not a book for wee ones to read, but one that you can read to them. When I read to Eliot, I ham it up, make of characters voices to characters (hence the audiobook version). But that’s how my book was written.
The illustrations are a nod to some of my favorite artists — Maurice Sendak, Robert McCloskey, Edward Gorey — black and white only. I thought about color, but decided I wanted to focus on this pen-and-ink hatching style because it leaves the color to the mind’s eye.
The audiobook was brought about by how I read to Eliot & Marcel, but also by all the books-on-tape I listened to as a kid — most notably those made by a company that called themselves Jabberwocky. I still have a few of those, among them is my favorite, a double-sided cassette of “Alice in Wonderland”.
I also have one tape I cherish read by Jack Nicholson and performed by Bobby McFerrin of two Rudyard Kipling stories. Since I heard these, it’s always been in the back of my mind to do them myself – with other voice actors.
Sample – Chapter 1
But enough chat. Here’s a draft sample of the first chapter, which sets the stage for the rest of Zochi’s adventure.
You can also hear the first chapter if you like!