As I was driving home from quintet rehearsal this morning, listening to cute little Theodore getting progressively better (and louder) at playing my piccolo horn from the backseat, I guess I started to think about kids, education, and children’s books. All those thoughts tangled up together and reminded me of this, a rare treasure presented by Rainbow & Pink Ponies Productions. It’s a first edition, signed by the author/illustrator.
Bearly Bearable, written and illustrated by Ninth Grade Me, first hit the shelf in 2002, when I brought it home from my honor’s English class. The book, inspired by one high maintenance sparkly pink bear, combines a heart-warming tale and a wonderful moral, making all its readers smarter than the average bear.
The coolest part about this project was not in making the book. We spent weeks working with third graders from a local elementary school. We each had a buddy, and we helped our little buddies to write and illustrate their own books. My third grade friend was one of those quiet ones. Smart, funny, mature, and with dreams of becoming a real author one day. He was even very good at illustrating spaceships.
This is my favorite part of the book. The End. Because while it was the end of our work together, it was the beginning of my picture book career, and of his. I don’t know where he is now, but I always knew he would do wonderful things, no matter what they were, even from that short time that our paths crossed. This little book is a great souvenir of things that were and things that will come – of beginnings coming from endings. So, there you go. The End. And The Beginning.