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What Would You Do with a Mini Canoe?

This is a rhyming adventure story for kids to hear aloud while picturing animals and sea creatures and laughing about "small versus big."

Photo of Rob Carney
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What Would You Do with a Mini Canoe?




What would you do

with a mini canoe?

And where would you keep it

when you were through?


Would you shrink yourself down

and find a big puddle

and paddle around

way out in the middle?


Would you shrink yourself small—

the size of a bee—

and go to the tide pools

at the edge of the sea

where the starfish and crabs

will look larger than you?

What would you do with a mini canoe?


You could float in your alphabet soup,

and each letter

would be so much bigger

and taste so much better,


or float in the bath tub—

wide as the ocean—

and paddle real fast

or row in slow-motion.

These are just some

of the things you can do

when you’re mini enough

for a mini canoe.


But where would you keep it

when you were through

and changed back again

to your own normal size

with your regular feet, hands,

mouth, nose, and eyes?


Maybe you’d put it away in your pocket,

or into a drawer with a keyhole

and lock it,


up by your toothbrush

next to the sink,


in the dish on the floor

where the cat gets a drink,


or under your pillow

so all night you’ll dream

of the oceans you’ve been to,

the puddles and streams.


Mini canoes can fit anywhere.

There’s plenty of room up here

or down there.

Just be sure to remember

wherever you choose . . .


because it’s no fun to look

for lost mini canoes.



THE END

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

My vision is this: toddlers saying to their parents, brother, sister, grandparents, or whomever, "Read it again," then "Read it again," then "One more time." I picture them wanting to learn to swim, and being the kind of kids who ask to take a trip to the ocean someday instead of to Disneyland.

Share your suggested book title

What Would You Do with a Mini Canoe?

PLEASE USE THE VERSION OF THIS QUESTION AT THE TOP OF THE SUBMISSION FORM: Share a draft of your manuscript (250 word limit, not including title).

WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH A MINI CANOE? What would you do with a mini canoe? And where would you keep it when you were through? Would you shrink yourself down and find a big puddle and paddle around way out in the middle? Would you shrink yourself small— the size of a bee— and go to the tide pools at the edge of the sea where the starfish and crabs will look larger than you? What would you do with a mini canoe? You could float in your alphabet soup, and each letter would be so much bigger and taste so much better, or float in the bath tub— wide as the ocean— and paddle real fast or row in slow-motion. These are just some of the things you can do when you’re mini enough for a mini canoe. But where would you keep it when you were through and changed back again to your own normal size with your regular feet, hands, mouth, nose, and eyes? Maybe you’d put it away in your pocket, or into a drawer with a keyhole and lock it, up by your toothbrush next to the sink, in the dish on the floor where the cat gets a drink, or under your pillow so all night you’ll dream of the oceans you’ve been to, the puddles and streams. Mini canoes can fit anywhere. There’s plenty of room up here or down there. Just be sure to remember wherever you choose . . . because it’s no fun to look for lost mini canoes. THE END

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

I'm going to be honest; I haven't read all of these articles, listened to all of these podcasts, etc. I had a dad who taught high school social studies (including Psychology) and so grew up hearing about that field's major names, including Piaget, and it even steered me year later to take Psychology/Sociology in high school, and even some courses from the Psychology Dept. at Pacific Lutheran University despite my being an English major. I just find it interesting. Beyond that, I'm a dad now too (first a single dad of a baby/toddler, then remarried and a step-dad, a blended family, and all that because my wife had two kids herself and then we had a baby), and going through a rewind since my step-daughter, Alabama, left home for college & had a baby of her own at 19. They live nearby. The grandbaby, a girl (her name is Rhyan) is here a lot, and now walking, and teething plenty, and taking an interest in animal picture cards--the same ones I used with my own two boys--and of course books.

Please describe any familiarity you may have with Philadelphia and its residents? (optional question)

I don't, I'm sorry. I'm from the West. I grew up in western Washington, I live now in Salt Lake City, Utah. And between these places, I lived in south Louisiana for three years, in a town called Lafayette (Acadiana, Cajun country). But I believe all kids, even (and maybe especially) kids who don't live in Seattle, can have water in their lives, even if only in their imaginative lives. Just because Elliott Bay and Puget Sound aren't "right over there" doesn't mean kids can't love the ocean and want a magic chance to explore it in a mini canoe. In Salt Lake, for instance, kids live in a high-elevation desert along a mountain range, but I know they'd like this and think of it as a fun aquarium.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

Admittedly, I've crafted it less around the idea of urbanscapes and more on soundscapes: Rhythm and Rhyme. These are universal qualities and loves, and not just for speakers of English. All language speakers share this love for musicality in words, especially when arranged metrically and with end rhyme. There's also the back half of the story (that seems odd to say since it's so short, just 250 words across 12 pages), in which the scenes are all familiar and indoors, whether the child's home is a house or an apartment. It's like a game of hide-and-seek in places like the bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom. Finally, with the right illustrations, you could easily place locate this in the city.

Location: Country

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. I mean in one Salt Lake's city neighborhoods, not the suburbs/exurbs.

Location: State or Department

Utah.

Location: City

Salt Lake City.

Website URL (optional question)

This isn't likely what you mean and doesn't connect to children's books, but if you're curious about my creative non-fiction, this goes to work that'll be in my forthcoming collection Accidental Gardens, as well as some of my poems for adults. I could submit other URLs if needed too, just let me know-- https://www.terrain.org/tag/rob-carney/

Tell us more about you / your team

I'm confused by this question. I've only just learned about the Challenge because my book publisher (I write poetry and creative non-fiction for adults)--Diane Goettel, Black Lawrence Press--forwarded the email you sent her, I guess. She knows I also have an interest in children's book publishing, provided I luck into the right illustrator and editor/house.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

I can't, sorry. I'm not a visual artist and haven't commissioned one (can't afford to). I hope I don't have to have illustrations already in order to be considered?

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

The Book of Sharks (New York: Black Lawrence Press, 2018) 88 Maps (Sandpoint, ID: Lost Horse Press, 2015) Story Problems (Shepherdstown, WV: Somondoco Press, 2011) Weather Report (Shepherdstown, WV: Somondoco Press, 2006) Boasts, Toasts, and Ghosts (Grand Junction, CO: Pinyon Press, 2003) And two more books are forthcoming: Facts and Figures from Hoot 'n' Waddle in Phoenix Arizona, and Accidental Gardens from Stormbird Press in South Australia.

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists

3 comments

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Photo of Itika Gupta
Team

Hi Rob Carney  welcome to the Challenge Community!
Thank you for a such an adventurous story with the little canoe while learning new words on the way. Makes it both engaging and useful for language development.
Also thank you for so candidly answering all the questions :)
How might you evolve the manuscript to make it more descriptive in it visualizations of all the objects, to make it a more engaging read for your audience of 0-3 yrs old ?

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