Tuesday, 17 April 2012

the badger

Earlier this year, I discovered that two members of pop band McFly were to write a children's book. This, in itself, is barely news since major publishers have been inviting all manner of unlikely candidates to add to the infant canon for some time. However, the subject matter... words fail me. Read it yourself: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/17385604

So I wrote a little email to Random House. As is the way now with major corporations, they haven't bothered to reply. Shame on you, Random House! A polite one-liner is too much trouble now?

If they won't publish, I can at least blog the whole story.


The following email was sent to Random House on 20 March 2012.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I understand from the BBC that you have offered a publishing deal to Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter (of McFly) to write the children's picture book 'The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas'.

If this is likely to become a series, could I ask for my book to be considered as the follow-up?

In the interests of consistency, I assume that you would like to work with the same illustrator and so I have not made an attempt at the artwork beyond a few mock-ups.

The work is entitled 'The Badger That Barfed Easter'.

Brief synopsis
A family home is raided by a chocolate-loving badger the night before Easter. The creature eats all of the chocolate eggs, nests, etc. The badger is captured by the family and they decide that the best approach is to make the badger vomit up the items so that they can still enjoy their Easter treats. Various hilarious antics ensue as they attempt to make this happen.

The first draft of the book is attached to this email. (Or reproduced below on this blog post.)

Much as I appreciate that tales of bodily functions are popular with children, I have written other, less scatological, books. You can find out more about them here: http://www.petertarnofsky.co.uk/. I would be delighted to send you either paperback or digital copies of any or all of them. In the meantime, there are extracts on the website.

Yours faithfully, etc


The important part was, of course, the last paragraph. I know, I know - putting the important bit at the end is silly but I couldn't start with it, could I? Anyway, moving on...

It would be inappropriate to post the illustrated version since my hideous mock-ups depended on photographs that I almost certainly had no right to use, especially the one where Brian May stands in for the badger. So you'll just have to imagine what it could look like.

I proudly present to you:


The Badger That Barfed Easter (© Peter Tarnofsky 2012)

The smell of chocolate filled the air
So creamy, rich and yummy
It woke the badger from his sleep
And growls came from his tummy.

He slunk across the moonlit lawn
And walked up to the house
The smell was so much stronger there.
He was quiet as a mouse.

He crept in through the old cat flap
(The cat was out that night)
And what he saw inside the lounge
Just filled him with delight.

Chocolate eggs and chocolate nests
And chocolate bars galore!
But once he'd wolfed down all he found
He couldn't fit through the door.

And then the cat came back inside
And saw what badger had done.
The screeching woke up mum and dad,
And little Johnny, their son.

The family ran down the stairs
And found the big fat badger
The cat was running round and round –
It took them ages to catch her.

Johnny then began to cry
His chocolate was all eaten.
But then his mum said, “Don't you fear
We're not going to be beaten.”

“We'll get your chocolates back, you'll see
It will be easy to do
Not like when dinosaur ate Christmas
And we waited for his poo.”

“No, this time we won't wait as long
In fact we'll have a laugh
There's loads of ways that we can try
To make this badger barf.”

Dad held the badger upside down
And gave him quite a shake
But badger scratched and wriggled free
So that was a mistake.

Then mum found Johnny's old toy boat
And strapped badger firmly to it
They sailed it on the stormy pond
But seasickness didn't do it.

Then Johnny showed him pictures
Of a badger squashed on the road.
He still didn't start to throw up
But he went green as a toad.

Mum and dad held badger down
And Johnny bounced toys off his belly
And still no chocolate was thrown up
But the farting was quite smelly.

Johnny started crying again,
“We'll never get it back
Our Easter has been ruined by
This night-time badger attack.”

“Don't cry,” said dad, “we're not done yet
There are still things to try
Let's sit him on the trampoline
And bounce him good and high.”

But even bouncing didn't work
The badger found it fun.
He smiled as he went up and down
And frowned when they were done.

“Okay,” said mum, “there's just one thing
That's bound to make him puke.
This will work, I'm sure of it,
It won't just need a fluke.”

So dad held badger's mouth wide open
Because his teeth were sharp
And mum reached in and tickled his throat
And, starting with a parp,
The eggs and nests and chocolate bars
Were thrown up on the floor
They let the thinner badger go –
He ran straight out the door.

Mum and dad were pleased and proud
But Johnny cried again.
He said, “These eggs were eaten once
They can't be eaten again.”

“They smell disgusting, don't you think?
And look at all this slime!”
But dad said, “Don't be silly,
They came back out just in time.”

“This Easter feast will be just fine
Once rinsed under the tap.
It's not like last Christmas dinner
Which we picked out of dinosaur crap.”

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