Saturday, February 21, 2009

Progress Report, Day Twenty

Comics pages: 6
Prose words: 2,346

Back in the saddle today. The prose was split between the novel, a short story, and a new kids' book that I've had rattling around in me for a while. The kids' book is the first in a potential series tentatively called Jasper Stone's Encyclopedia of Young Persons' Knowledge. That label may be a bit bland and may confuse the target audience of bright ten-year-olds, must of whom have probably never seen or heard of an encyclopedia. Anyway, this one is called The Truth About Monsters. Here's a snippet:

I woke up early, like I do every day, so I could read a book before breakfast. The book was called A Complete History of Marshmallows. A fourth-grader named Will Oblong had told me the day before that we should all stop eating marshmallows because they’re made of eye boogers. As a fan of marshmallows, I was understandably disturbed.

At first glance, it had seemed that Will was wrong. According to the marshmallow package in my kitchen, marshmallows are made out of sugar, gelatin, and something called “tetrasodium pyrophosphate.” I was about to leave it at that and tell Will Oblong to shove marshmallow up his nose, but my natural curiosity wouldn’t let the matter lie, and I found myself at Book Universe just before bedtime, loading up my arms with books about food.

And now, the following morning, in a small footnote buried at the back of A Complete History of Marshmallows, I discovered the horrible truth. Tetrasodium pyrophosphate, as it happens, is a chemical that is added not just to marshmallows, but also to pudding, chicken nuggets, and imitation crab. And tetrasodium pyrophosphate, I am sad to report, is the scientific name for:

Eye boogers.

I rode the bus to school thinking uneasily about how many S’mores I’d eaten in my life. I finally decided that there was no use in fretting over it. Some things you probably don’t need to know.

Very rough, but it gets the idea across: one part Lemony Snicket, one part Daniel Pinkwater, and one part my own inner ten-year-old. My girls, who are eight and five, are entranced, so we'll see what happens.

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