Today’s second Boosting the Signal feature is for fellow NIWA member April Bullard! April’s bringing me a first–I’ve done anthologies on Boosting the Signal before, but this is the first time I’ve done one targeted for young readers! And this is also the first time I’ve had a work submitted to Boosting the Signal that includes illustrations, as well! April’s stories are intended for readers age 7 and up, and her Goody Hepzibah, presented as the originator of these stories, has a very simple goal with them: teaching. Give Goody Hepzibah a listen, won’t you? AND, April adds to me that there are a couple hidden codes to find and decipher in the book, plus lots of extras to discover in the illustrations! Since she was kind enough to send me some of the illustrations, I’m including those in this post.
My name is Goody Hepzibah and I have to confess. I’ve always loved a good story, especially if someone is reciting the story and better yet, if we are around a campfire or fireplace in the dark, and even better if the story rhymes! I decided to create a collection of my own poems and tales, and here is how I do it.
First take the familiar nursery rhyme or tale and set it in colonial or Revolutionary America or the best historic era for the poem. I use my own family history and old town records to flesh out the characters and situations. Let the characters do exactly what the old rhyme says. Filter those actions through Goody Hepzibah’s Rules to Live By. When the rules are broken severe consequences come crashing down without reprieve or excuses. It surprises me how many little ditties become real horror stories!
Just to be clear, here are Goody Hepzibah’s Rules to Live By:
Two simple rules are all I need
To deal with any race or creed:
I will not lie and I will not steal.
Trustworthy honor this will reveal.
When others do not abide by these rules
I leave them alone and ignore them as fools.
The next little word I chose to live by
Is the word “safe” and each letter tells why.
S is for Sound: home, body and mind.
A for Access, things easy to find.
F for all Flames, severely controlled.
E means exclusive, for those my love hold.
I may look like a harmless, old lady, but these are not your typical, sweet grandmother’s nursery rhymes and fairy tales. You have been warned.