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First chapter of children's book

Tuesday 5/19/20

I'm not going to put up too much of this on here, but I will give a preview of the children's book I am writing, which is called, Silas Beaverton: The Beaver With a Dream as Big as All Outdoors. Here is the first chapter, if you would like to take a look.


***

Spring had arrived, because that is what spring does, and Silas Beaverton sat on the floor of his hut and tried to touch his tippy-toes.

He didn’t understand how his toes seemed to get further away each year but maybe that’s just what toes did. “Oh, dear, tasty wood and cheer,” he said between lunges, getting a little closer each time.

Sometimes he said his rhyme to cheer himself up when he was blue. Not that he was really blue. There were not actually blue beavers. He once heard a legend from his wise friend Micah Owl about a blue lobster, but that was in the ocean, not the pond where Silas lived. Silas was brown. Brown as the sides of a chipmunk, as the saying went. Or one of the sayings in those parts.

He remembered asking his mother back when he was very little why beavers didn’t take long winter naps like groundhogs and bears, or travel south the way birds did.

She said, “Silas, because a beaver is always busy, and if you aren’t busy, mister, then maybe we should get busy playing a game together,” and she softly swatted him on his thick, flat tail with her thick, flat tail, which is how beavers hug.

Silas missed his mom and his dad. They had moved upstream to a smaller beaver hut now that the kids were out of the house in beaver dens of their own. He saw his brothers and sisters pretty often, but life could get very busy for beavers.

“There, I got you!” Silas said to his toes, each of his little hands holding one of his long feet. A freshwater eel named Dalton who sometimes played underwater hopscotch with Silas had said that Silas’s feet were like spatulas, which was mostly true.

“Mine!” Silas yelped, shaking each foot in his hands. He was ready to start the day, so he said his rhyme again. “Oh, dear, tasty wood and cheer.” Wood was delicious, even if his friends tended not to agree. They didn’t know what they were missing.

Silas made himself a nice mug of cinnamon tea—because cinnamon was a bit like wood—and had an oak muffin, which really hit the spot, as an oak muffin almost always does.

The windows were open and he could smell fresh lilac drifting into his hut on a warm, early-spring breeze. Silas was an amazing builder who had designed his home so that it would be toasty and snug in the winter, but also cool and refreshing when it got hot in the summer. That’s a beaver, for you.

He leaped to his spatula feet when he thought he heard a little voice from outside—the voice of one of his very best friends. Nay, more than one of his very best friends. His confidant. That was a super big word for a beaver. For anyone. But it meant something more special than special. You could only use that word for someone you could tell anything to.

Anything.

ANYTHING.

A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

For Silas, that person was Marla Marigold, a monarch butterfly who flew over the pond and made orange and black reflections in the water. The day they met, she landed on Silas’s head. You never knew what Marla was going to do. She dropped down in front of Silas’s nose, hovering in the air where he could see her.

“You look like flying Halloween!” Silas had said. “I love Halloween.”

He just about smacked his lips. Oh, those sweet, sweet memories. Those super duper fun times he used to have in the forest, trick or treating from den to nest to hive to lair to burrow to warren to hole, getting candies made of delicious saps. Num, num, nummy.

Marla also loved Halloween. Even more, she loved making friends. Silas was the same way.

“Hey, beaver,” she had said, not six inches away from Silas’s face. “You have some sawdust around your mouth.”

“Of course I do,” Silas replied. “I’m a beaver. A beaver has got to eat, got to build. Got to be busy.”

Marla took a load off on an upside down rusted watering can under which lived Samson the earthworm. She began to think right on the roof of Samson’s house. Hard. Her wings tucked behind her back. She was only pretend thinking, though, because she knew what she wanted to say.

“Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wipe your mouth, beaver.”

“It’s Silas,” Silas said, “Silas Beaverton,” putting out his hand so that Marla could land there. He didn’t know yet that that’s how beavers and butterflies hug, but that is how it works.

“And I am Marla Marigold,” Marla replied, “A monarch butterfly, in case you didn’t know. Oh, sure, there are a lot of different kinds of butterflies, but no other butterflies look like flying Halloween.”

“I thought the same thing!” Silas shouted—he could get pretty excited.

“I bet you did indeed, Silas,” Marla said and winked.

Silas liked her sass. Once when they were building a porch together behind the family den, Silas’s father had said, “Son, there is good sass, and not so good sass.”

Silas was so happy that his dad let him help. He was really growing up.

“What’s the difference, dad?” Silas asked.

“One kind of sass you use when you’re upset. That is the sass that makes someone else feel not so hot. We have to try and avoid that sass. The other sass is like a joke, to make a friend or have a good time with a friend.”

It was no surprise that Silas’s parents were always happy when he made a visit upstream and Marla came with him. Marla and Silas were very tight. As tight as a beaver and a butterfly had ever been. Probably. These kinds of things were hard to know for certain.

“Marla! Is that you?” Silas exclaimed out his window as he set aside a few crumbs of his oak muffin to share with his good buddy, butterflies never wanting more than a few crumbs.

“Get yourself out here, beaver boy!” came the reply from outside. It was Marla! “We’re burning daylight! Time’s a’wasting! It’s warm!”

“Indeed,” thought Silas, as he dashed to the door of his den. He was so excited to see his friend. His confidant. He had missed her a lot. And he had the most important thing he had ever told anyone to tell her. The time, just like the spring, had come.