Olivia by John E. Stack

Several months ago, I wrote about “Inspiration” and how talking with my then three year-old daughter inspired me to take on the task of putting her ideas into words. She wanted a story about a girl named Olivia who had a pup named Mike (Sorry Mike, it wasn’t my idea and Allie said I couldn’t change it because that was his name!). Anyway, there was a strange forest where the trees looked like candy canes and lollypops.

Allie described a strange and wonderful place where the clouds looked like cotton candy and marshmallows and the sidewalks were made of chocolate (which just happens to be her favorite food group). I told my middle school students about our story, so with a little input from them, we finalized Olivia’s Sweet Adventure.

Here is an excerpt from that book:

As she (Olivia) followed the narrow path, her hair kept getting caught in the tree limbs. The leaves that stuck in her hair smelled like candy so she picked a few from her hair and put them in her mouth. They were quite tasty. She gathered some extra leaves and put them in her pocket for later.

When Olivia came out of the forest, she was just outside of a small town. It was a funny looking place and all the buildings were brightly colored. As she walked along she noticed the clouds, and that they looked surprisingly like marshmallows and cotton candy. Some were really large, some were really small and some were even pink. The looks of them made her very hungry. Olivia continued to walk and as she entered the town there was a sign that said Welcome to Sugar Falls.

“Sugar Falls?” she thought, “such a strange name.” As she looked around she noticed that the road and sidewalks appeared to be made out of chocolate, and the buildings were made of the candy trees from the forest. This seemed to be a very unusual place.

In the distance she heard a dog barking. “Maybe that’s Mike! I sure hope he is okay,” said Olivia aloud, and she started to walk quickly toward the sound.

“Who’s Mike?” questioned a voice out of nowhere. As she slowly looked around she saw a very large, very tall Schnauzer dog with a white beard, and it was standing on its hind legs. He was also wearing a pair of bright green pants and a red polka-dotted necktie.

Olivia goes through a lot before she ever gets home and it takes a special person to help get her there.

My illustrator is a young high school student named Ben. A few weeks ago he sent his initial “Olivia” drawing. I showed Allie the picture without talking about it and asked who she thought the picture was. When she screamed, “Dad, that’s a picture of Olivia” I knew that God had sent me the right guy.

Olivia’s Sweet Adventure has a publication date in May. And, the excitement here builds with every new drawing we see.

***John E. Stack is also the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo.

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