Arctic Aesop's Fables: Twelve Retold Tales

This book began with a casual inquiry from my husband’s Sasquatch Books editor. He knew Jim and I had collaborated on several books and wondered if we might come up with one for Sasquatch. Although I wasn’t working on anything that seemed suitable for the PawsIV imprint of Sasquatch, I loved the idea of doing another book with Jim. Jim and I started brainstorming possibilities, and the idea of retelling an Aesop’s fable Alaska-style emerged. Once the title “Arctic Aesop’s Fables” popped into my mind, I was off and running. The first fable I drafted was “The Hare and the Porcupine.” I began reading hundreds of other fables attributed to Aesop, looking for stories that could be adapted to the Arctic landscape and creatures and which fit the flavor I hoped the book would have. I wanted morals that seemed to be good takeaways. I also wanted to portray something about the true nature of the beasts and of the beautiful wild land they inhabit. Friends with natural science backgrounds helped answer some questions, as did the wonderful “Wildlife Notebook Series” published by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Several online resources were valuable also, including The National Wildlife Federation and U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service.

Equally important to me though, was projecting a storytelling voice, and I loved reading the stories in their various drafts to my grandchildren Callahan and Cedar, to Jim, and to my writing buddy Bridget, trying to capture the feel I wanted. Listeners are such great helpers in this endeavor! And finally I had a manuscript of ten stories to send the editor who started this whole thing with his simply question. He responded immediately and enthusiastically but requested two more stories, and within days Jim and I had contracts and Jim disappeared to his studio for most of the next few months. At last the editing, artwork, design, and printing are done. The result is Arctic Aesop’s Fables: Twelve Retold Tales, which was released in February 2013.