My Dog Basil is So Special

Author’s Note:  I’m working on a childrens’ book.  Here’s a rough draft of the first installment .  Feel free to let me know what you think…

*********************************************

This is my dog Basil.
He’s a big old friendly dog.

But he’s also, well….kind of “special”.   My Dad says a few bricks short of a full load.

When some dogs bark, they go “Yap! Yap!”, “Woof Woof” or “Bow Wow”.

My dog Basil is so special, he goes “Nee!  Nee!”

Some dogs are afraid of the vacuum cleaner

Basil is so special, he’s afraid of the barbecue.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

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62 Comments on “My Dog Basil is So Special”

  1. wendikelly Says:

    You are on your way! Looking forward to the next part! I love his name!

  2. Friar Says:

    @Wendi

    The name is from a dog I used to live next to. And much of the book will be based on the silly things Basil actually did (I couldn’t make make some of this stuff up!) :-)

  3. Brett Legree Says:

    Friar,

    The offer still stands, you can beta test this on my kids… :)

  4. Brett Legree Says:

    PS – you should call your dog “Bob Dylan”. Your book would skyrocket to the #1 Bestseller list in a week… ;)

  5. Friar Says:

    @Brett

    I have enough ideas for 20-30 cartoons (and it keeps climbing). When I get the whole package together, for SURE, I’ll test it on the little Brettlings.

    (Though your kids seem to like me so much, I think they’d be just as thrilled if I read them the phone book).

    A Boy and His Dog called Bob Dylan. (Hmmm…!). There might be something there…:-)

  6. Steph Says:

    Okay, this is AWESOME!! Kids’ books are so hard to write, in my opinion, as easy as it may seem. So far you’re doing a great job! I can see it’s going to make kids giggle and laugh aloud. And the illustrations are excellent!

    For the title, I might take out the “so” just for flow.

  7. Steph Says:

    hmmm, then again, you use “so special” in the text to good effect.

    Ignore what I said, then.

  8. Steph Says:

    PS. When this is finished, send it to me by email. I’ll edit it for you.

    My fee is you have to make laugh. Shouldn’t be too hard. :)

  9. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    No…any feeback you give me is much appreciated. (Like I said, this is a very rough draft).

    Actually, creating the pictures is easier than the words. (Kids books are deceptively difficult to write!)

    I thought of writing “My Dog Basil is So Stupid”,which I personally think is MUCH funnier (because this dog really IS stupid!) That’s going to be the point of the whole book.

    It might piss of parents (they typically don’t like kids to use that word). But it might appeal to the kids more.

  10. Steph Says:

    I would stick with special! I think it’s hilarious!! Esp. since kids are always getting told they’re special.

  11. Steph Says:

    I know a “special” dog too, a boxer named Mia. She’s the dumbest twit I’ve ever met (but I love her dearly and used to dogsit her). I wish I could post a photo of her here, you’d fall over. I think she might be inbred.

  12. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    Thanks! I might just take you up on that offer.

    I’ve been meaning to do this book for a YEAR. But it’s only now that I’ve gotten around to it.

    (But then again, I did a “considerable” ammount of practice writing on my blog!) :-)

    I also have another book that’s starting to percolate:

    Stinkin’ Lincoln
    Whatchya Thinkin’
    With your big brown eyes a-blinkin’ ?

    (Lincoln is an obsessive Golden Retriever).

  13. Steph Says:

    Stinkin’ Lincoln?! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    I love it!!

    You have to work on these books!!

  14. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    Again, based on an actual dog I knew (who WAS called Stinkin’ Lincoln!)

    The best comedy material is provided by Real Life!!!

  15. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    Like you, I dog-sat all the time.

    Basil was a 110 lb. yellow lab. He had a square head like a cinder block. He was big and stupid and clumsy, and destroyed things, and drove you crazy.

    But he was also one of the most lovable dogs I ever knew.

  16. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    I tested it on my 7-year-old niece. She’s a pretty good reader, and she was able to get through it all herself (okay, except Basil, which she kept pronouncing “BEE zil”). She liked the drawings and the story (she’s feeding me what to type right now). She giggled especially at the vacuum cleaner drawing.

    She ssays she can hardly wait to read more, so you’ve got something.

    She had no idea on the few bricks short of a full load, though, even when I explained it.

    I like “so special,” the alliteration works for me.

    Nicely written!

    Regards,

    Kelly

  17. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    I really appreciate the feedback. I always like to hear it from the source (ie kids). I’m trying to target ages between ages 4-8 (though I think older kids might like it too).

    Tell your niece that there will be LOTS more pictures and Basil stories to come. Uncle Friar is just getting started! :-)

  18. Karen JL Says:

    I like ‘special’ too…tho I immediately thought ‘mentally challenged’. I assume that’s what you want us to think. :)

    Another alternative would be ‘silly’…I think kids just like that word and it could set up the humor for them (especially the young ones). When read out loud it might get more giggles.

    In the drawings make sure you keep the ‘other’ dogs and Basil different-looking (like you did with the barking). In the vacuum cleaner one, it still looks like Basil. Just my two cents. If you want a few more tips on the drawings, let me know. :)

  19. Friar Says:

    Hi Karen

    I agree, the vacuum cleaner dog looks similar. It was going to be tan colored. Basil is a yellow lab.

    The critters will definitely look different once the pictures are colored in (I was trying to color them in last night, but Abode Photo shop was acting up…..). ARGH.

    Actually, that’s one thing I wanted to ask you about. Once I have my black and white sketches finalized, what’s the best way to color them in? (Similar to my cartoons on my blog, but mabye a bit nicer quality for a book).

    One approach is to watercolor them in myself. But my cousin (who’s a graphic artist) says nowadays there’s animation software out there that makes it much easier (plus it’s easier for publishers if you submit electronic files versus galley proofs).

    So this is were I’d like to hear your advice. What kind of software is there? What’s the best way to provide color and shading to pen drawings?

    We can discuss this off-line via email if you like…


  20. LOVE IT!!

    Great visual joke and the set ups work really well. No ,parents do NOT want their kids near the word stupid. Stick with special.

    Fun fun. Friar. Go dog go.


  21. I’m hooked and I’m an adult…well, most of the time…um, when I need to be. I chuckled when you said in one of your comments that parents might take offense to ‘stupid’. I used to cringe reading Robert Munsch’s Good Families Don’t because I had to say the word fart. Needless to say, it was one of their favourite books, mainly because I think they knew they were tormenting me. BTW, when you are done with Basil, feel free to write a story about my Siamese. He is stupid!

  22. Friar Says:

    @Janice

    Hooray! “Go Dog Go” was also one of my favorite all-time books.

    Now that I’ve finally gotten some sketches out, and all the positive response I’m getting, it’s really kicking me in the butt to want to produce more. Stay tuned…!!

    @Urban Panther
    I’m glad to hear adults find Basil entertaining too.

    I personally don’t think stupid is a bad word. Some parents hate it, but it’s a common word in the English language, and it’s not cursing. There are worse things to say.

    As soon as parents make something “taboo”, then kids can’t get enough of it. Robert Munsch capitalized on that with his fart book. Which, by the way, I think is AWESOME! :-)

  23. Steph Says:

    Fart and stupid are different, though. Fart’s funny (Walter the Farting Dog!) but it doesn’t have negative connotations (well, unless you live with my husband, but anyway!) like stupid. Stupid just sounds mean to me. I feel a little bit sad when I hear a dog is stupid, even if it is. Dimwitted, twit, even retarded makes me laugh a bit, but not stupid.

  24. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    Basil’s owner would call him retarded all the time (but in a loving way!)

    Of course, you’re not allowed to say “retarded” either. Don’t worry, I’ll be nice with my book and make it Caillou-Friendly for the little rug rats. :-)


  25. Basil sounds like a funny dog, I wonder why he is afraid of the BBQ? Doesn’t he know there are yummy sausages on that thing? And a beer for his master…

  26. Friar Says:

    @Monika

    Basil (in real life) was an enigma. Friendliest dog you ever met. But a few fries short of a happy meal…I don’t think his poor doggie brain could make the connection between the Big Bad Barbecue and the tasty food that came from it.

    Though he had no fear of thunder (in fact, I don’t think he even realized (or cared) if it was raining outside.


  27. Friar — I love it! (especially because Basil looks so much like my own “special” dog, Riley …) Can’t wait for the next installment.

  28. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    “Caillou-friendly for the little rugrats.” Yep. If you want to sell it, you’ll have to. You will be straddling the line between Friar the fine artist who can do whatever he wants and Friar the commercial sellout, who has customers, called book purchasers, whose needs he must take into account.

    If said customers have 4-8 year olds, the majority do not want *you* deciding when *their* kid should hear the word “stupid.”

    (In my house that word is still for emergencies only. A mild “bad word” on the order of “crap,” which there had better be a darned fine reason for using. We granola-crunching folks don’t want to start our kids on the path to devaluing swear words too early.)

    Coloring: I know Karen will have a bunch to say on the subject, but from a reader-purchaser’s perspective, I’d say look at Jon Muth’s books (watercolor WOW), Peter H. Reynolds’ books (The Dot and Ish—two of the best kids’ books ever), Ian Falcolner’s… a few who have styles that might inspire you. I’m not at home right now or I’d look to see if any of them besides Muth describe how the art was created (he does).

    Pshop’s and Illustrator are great for some, but with your talents, boy, I’d love to see watercolors come into play. :)

    Until later,

    Kelly

  29. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    Don’t worry…I’m aware of what’s appropriate for kids….The Deep Friar Blog is one thing…Uncle Friar’s BedTime stories is a whole different kettle of fish.

    ( In fact, I was almost tempted to put my stories on a completely different blog…I just wanted to put this story out here on the Deep Friar to see what people think so far).

    Thanks for those book suggestions. Splat Creek actually has a decent library (suprise surprise!). I’m going to check out your suggestions in the kids section.

    @Rebecca
    Thanks! (I think what makes this story so fun is that everyone at one point or another has either owned or lived next to a dog like Basil).

    What’s Riley? Is he a lab?

  30. Steph Says:

    All this talk on everyone’s blogs about your stuff, Friar: I have to say, I seriously can’t wait for it!! I can totally imagine the days I’m purchasing your books. Oh, and attending book signings?? That will be sooo cool! Will you read the books out loud, too, to the maggoty rugrats? :) I’ll also purchase to get them in our library here in Belleville. I used to do the Storytime sessions there when I worked there. I love kids’ books! (I thought about being a children’s book editor, but I would much rather just buying and reading them, I think!)

  31. Steph Says:

    whoops, excuse the bad grammar.

  32. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    When we were kids, each week my Mom would go to the library, and come back with an armload of books. She’s just plop them on the floor and we’d devour them (the little maggots that we were!). That’s what started my love for childrens books.

    I still like to go to the kids book section (at Chapters, or the library) to check out what’s popular, and to get an idea of what kids like.

    Well, gee, if every parent was as enthusiastic as you are, I’ll be set for life! :-)

    (I just have to keep plugging away at it…that’s all. )

  33. Steph Says:

    There are tons of parents out there who buy kids’ books!! Having worked at both Chapters and the library, I can vouch for that.

    I drag Colin to the kids’ section and we sit on the floor and I read to him. Last one was on Monday. I read him two: Mo Willems’ The Pigeon Wants a Puppy (Mo’s Pigeon books are HILARIOUS!! I LOVE them. You have to check them out. The illustrations are PRICELESS) and the other one is by a favourite author whose name totally escapes me now. He’s written one about a boy who meets and befriends a lost penguin, and another about that same boy who lands on the moon when his plane runs out of petrol and there meets a martian who’s got engine problems. They help each other out (while the penguin’s at home watching TV). The illustrations, again, are lovely, and I think watercolour, and the stories are very sweet. I’ve been trying to google the author. Oliver Jeffrey? Oliver Jeffries? Oliver anything? Jeff something? DAMMIT!!

  34. Steph Says:

    OLIVER JEFFERS!! Yay for me! It’s Oliver Jeffers. Great books.

  35. Steph Says:

    The books are *The Way Back Home* and *Lost and Found.* The Incredible Book-Eating Boy* is also good.

  36. Steph Says:

    I also love classics and have two tall shelves full of kids’ books and a wish list as long as me, but there are new ones that are so great, too. Ever read the Scaredy Squirrel series by Melanie Watt? Hilarious.

  37. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    No…I haven’t seen any those books. I think I’m due for some “research trips” to the local library,

    The nearest Chapters is a few hours drive away. I might have to go to the “Big City” for a special trip.

    The other books I really loved (not so many pictures, but the stories were hilarious) were the ones by Beverly Clearly (the whole “Ramona the Pest” series!).

    I love it when Ramona called her doll “Bendix” and wanted to play Hansel and Gretel, so put her doll in the over into her mom’s cake…!! :-) :-) Or when she had a tantrum and kicked her heels on the bedroom wall, and scuffed up the paint! (Kids can identify with stuff like that!)

  38. Steph Says:

    I LOVED Beverly Cleary!! Remember Ralph S. Mouse on his motorcycle? Ramona the Pest is a fave. Ever read Harriet the Spy? I loved that book, too, and have it on my shelf.

  39. Steph Says:

    Oh man, do you have any independent bookstores in Splat Creek? Anything closer than Chapters but still good enough to carry a nice variety? I’d die if I wasn’t close to good bookstores. Books are the only things I really love to buy. Library books, I’m not so into them after working there. Dirty things!

  40. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    Yeah, I liked Harriet the Spy. I read that when I was 13 or 14.

    We have an independent bookstore in town. It’s tiny. And they close by 5:00 PM. (Which is just when everyone is off work and ready to shop). DUH.

    We also have a shitty Coles in a shopping mall (45 minute drive) which is like a Chapters’ wanna bee. So for me to go to an actual Chapters…that only happens when I visit friends or family in the “Big City”. That’s become a “Big Event”.

    Small town life (sign).

    Hahah. Dirty library books. Do you remember on Seinfeld, George’s book got “tagged” because he took it into the bathroom? :-)


  41. Friar: Riley is a mutt. We think she’s golden retriever, German shepherd, and some kind of hound. The shelter we rescued her from had no idea.
    (Greyhound owners often tell us that she looks like she may have some greyhound in her – and she sure can run fast!)

  42. Friar Says:

    @Rebecca

    Mutts are the best. No hip dysplasia or in-breeding problems.

    I grey up playing with the neighbour’s dog…a german shepherd collie mix.

  43. Ellen Wilson Says:

    Forget Bob Dylan (who my mom really liked) and the damn dog, it’s Friday! Time for Gimle and Flight of the Conchords. It’s business time baby! hehe

    Anyway. Why does this dog say nee nee? I don’t get it. E


  44. ( Take look at Mr. Putter and Tabby . It’s a whole series. The watercolors are really nice. )

    I love children’s books. This will be a good one, Friar.

  45. Karen Swim Says:

    I love the art and the name Basil. Is that nee nee pronounced like knee or pronounced like nay? :-) Congrats Friar on a successful start! Will you autograph my copy when it hits the shelves?

  46. Karen JL Says:

    @ Friar – FYI I sent you an email to the address you used to comment on my blog. Hope that was the right one. If not, let me know and I’ll resend. :)

  47. Friar Says:

    @Ellen

    Yeah, I totally forget everything. I went away for the weekend to see friends in Soutern Ontario and went swimming in Lake Eerie. Now back to Splat Creek. Nothing like driving 1000 km in one day, (but it was worth the fun).

    Basil DID bark “Nee Nee”. It was a whiny high-pitched yelp, when he’d get upset if I didnt’ come over and say hi to him. It sounded so funny, we called him “The Dog that went Nee”/

    @Janice
    Thanks for your vote of confidence! (Mr. Putter and Tabby…Hmmm). Another set of books I haven’t come across yet.

    @Karen Swim
    Basil’s bark is like “Knee! Knee!”. (See my response to Ellens’ comment (above) for an explanation).

    Sure, I’ll sign a copy. (But I guess my first step is to complete the manuscript first and complete the illustrations!) :-)

    @Karen JL
    I’ve been away for a few days…I’ll check out my gmail and see if your email got through (it should). Thanks for the feedback. :-)

  48. Amy Says:

    Nice puppy. Now if only the puppy could run the vacuum……. ;-)

  49. Friar Says:

    @Amy

    Basil wouldn’t be afraid of the vacuum (but just woudlnt’ be smart enough to figure out how to use it). That would the the job for a Border Collie (not a Lab) :-)

  50. Amy Says:

    Friar — I’m not picky. Any vacuuming dog would be fine. Vacuuming dog from your blog, outsourced India kid from Kelly’s blog… after I adopt Brett’s Ian to cook for me, I’ll be living the life of Riley. :-)

  51. Friar Says:

    @Amy

    Ian’s a good choice. He’s probably smarter than Basil, and he’s one of the stronger kids. …you can work him harder!

    Poor Brett is on vacation, he’s not around to defend his little Brettlings! :-)

  52. Amy Says:

    I always forget you know Brett in person. You can test-run the blondies for me. (Disclaimer: blondies is what I call Brett’s children.) I have seen photos of all of them lifting heavy pieces of tree, which I imagine would be hard to stage :-) … so I do believe they are all fairly strong. It is young Ian’s cooking skills which set him apart. ;-) I am the type who burns toast and can barely cook soup (in a microwave), so there is really very little skill needed to impress me in the cooking area. LOL

  53. Friar Says:

    @Amy

    I hate cooking too…It woudl be a safe bet to say I wont’ be spending 2 hours making lasagna from scratch any time soon…

    Kids like hot dogs and Kraft Dinner….Maybe Ian or Basil would cook that. Heck, I could live off that too.

  54. jiggybear Says:

    I don’t get the NEE NEE NEE thing either. Just some ideas out of top of my head…. Would it be funnier if the dog said HELLO? What about MIAOW cuz he thinks he’s a cat?

    I know my daughter also would not understand the ‘few bricks short of a full load either’. Children, I find, often take such expressions literally. Like one time I told my daughter that she wasn’t going to wear a certain pair of shoes. I said cuz it was a ‘pain in the neck’ to put on. She took it as, those shoes are not good cuz they give you neck pain!

    I’m also working on children’s stories. You can see my Princess Mi-Ah stories, which I’ve just started putting into my blog site – http://www.jiggybear.wordpress.com. My focus is on teaching (fun) lessons to my super-energetic 3-year-old daughter.

  55. Friar Says:

    @JiggyBear

    Thanks for the input. :-) I appreciate hearing from parents, to see what their kids like to read. For sure, the text is going to go through several changes, before I finalize it.

    Thanks for the link too. I always like to see what other authors are up to. :-)


  56. Awww…. I LOVE IT! Basil is SO cute! Can’t wait to see more. Keep up the good work Friar.

  57. Friar Says:

    @Melissa
    …that’s JUST the reaction I was hoping for!

    You guys are all definitely encouraging me to do so much more! :-)


  58. I love the name Basil. It is good if a kid learns to pronounce a new word. And “special” seems like the best option of words to capture the double meaning right. Very cute.

  59. Friar Says:

    @Jaden

    The name Basil is so strongly tied to the real-life Basil that I used to know..that I dont’ think I could pick any other name.

    Yeah, I like the word “Special”…especially the double meaning. (People can take it any way they like!) :-)

  60. bmj2k Says:

    Very cute. I especially like the short, declarative style- perfect for a children’s book.

    If you are interested, here is my not-so-serious, nor really for children, children’s book:

    http://bmj2k.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/jack-the-bird-a-childrens-story/

  61. keren david Says:

    basil is cute! bless! :) he’s so cute! :D


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