The Holiday Gift that Kept on Giving: writing a children’s book song parody
First, my list of Christmas carols was long. It was just a matter of choosing one, right? But we soon learned that it had to be a song in the public domain. My long list suddenly became very, very short. But that didn’t stop me. I thought about them for awhile, of how I could change the titles, hoping that process would spark a storyline. Thankfully, it did. We Wish You a Merry Christmas became We Wish for a Monster Christmas. Now I just had to write it. What I didn’t realize until I started digging in, was that each stanza of the song required 3 rhyming words each, plus an ending word that rhymes with ‘year.’ For example:
He’ll eat all our peas.
We’ll check him for fleas.
He’ll hang by his knees from the brass chandelier.
Then there were the longer, stickier, multi-syllabic, stanzas:
He ate every chair and table.
He chewed through the TV cable.
So Dad says we won’t be able to keep him in here.
I started making lists of words that may play a role in a story of children wanting a monster, then getting a monster, for Christmas. I pulled it off. It was done. There may have been some tears. Okay, there were tears! But I was happy with the final story –and even better, it actually made sense! And the rhymes worked. We sent it to Meredith.
She asked for a revision.
“Sure!” I said. But what I was thinking was, “That’s impossible! I can’t do it!” Fortunately, I needed to add a stanza or two to break up the repetition, but didn’t have to change any existing stanzas, save for a tweak here and there. So I went back to my process, and came up with more ways the monster could cause trouble.
I was so happy (read: relieved) when we finalized this text. It was by far one of my most challenging projects to date, but in the end, I was so glad I volunteered to try it. The best part is that you can sing the whole book! I even made a karaoke version for you to follow. What are you waiting for, warm up those vocal chords and give it a try!