Juan Uys

1st Draft


I’ve a first draft of the picture book manuscript. It was written on and off over the Easter weekend. By me, of course.

I had to kill quite a few darlings. At one point I was going to go with a gardening/composting theme, then briefly with a repurposing theme (i.e. getting second use out of bits and pieces, almost like recycling), but it just didn’t work.

Here’s one:

She built toys from throwaway cardboard boxes
Or maybe used it as storage
She turned Dad’s torn socks into dapper blue foxes
(Blue? He didn’t wear orange!)

I already pictured myself drawing lovely blue foxy hand-puppets, but alas.

Ultimately, I settled on a fly-tipping theme. It follows below. BTW, I’m not sure if anyone ever visits this website, but if you do, please email me at [email protected] with some feedback.

There was once a wee lass with a very keen eye
She was known far and wide as Miss Polly McFly
What Polly did best was take pictures of things
But mostly of songbirds and insects with wings

Pictures of magpies, of swans and of geese
Of butterflies dancing along on the breeze
These are the photos that Polly took
For the “Things that can fly, by McFly” guidebook

Snap, snap, snap, sometimes also at school
Like photos of owls where they’re building the pool
“See, this one is stripy, and this one has spots”
Showing and telling how she captured the shots

Holed up in her treehouse, overlooking the park
Getting ready to take a snap of a lark
She saw - What’s That!? - A van drive by
A van in the park? How odd! Thought McFly

It came to a stop right next to the fence
Where the trees grew high and hedges were dense
But Polly could see it from here up high
Quiet and prone; an eye in the sky

Out of the van stepped a codger, a chap
Old man Slick Rick and Benny the Bap
Snap, snap, snap! Of them and the van
What are they doing? What is their plan?

Slick Rick slung open the door on the side
Revealing a pile of rubbish this high
Benny the Bap with his tough builder’s gloves
Started unloading with huffs and puffs

Snap, snap, snap! Oh no! This can’t be.
I have to tell someone! They have to see!
She waited until they were done and drove off
And while zipping down heard a dreadful COUGH COUGH

Oh dear, thought McFly, who could that be?
By the hole in the fence she went down on one knee
Peeked through and saw a most terrible trouble
The little lark’s nest was all covered in rubble

But wait! That paper! That I have seen!
At school, by the pool, where the owls have been!
Polly gets her guidebook and flips to page nine
Yes, that’s it! Let’s go catch the swine!

Through the garden, through the house, as fast as she can
Out front in the street Polly spots the van.
It’s heading to school, to fetch a new load
Polly jumped on her bike, and off she rode

By the time she arrives they’re almost done
Oh look! Thank goodness. There is Miss Gunn!
“Miss! Help! Please come with me!”
“There is something here you have to see!”

Up to the men and the van they trot
“Right” says Miss Gunn, “Let’s question this lot”
Slick Rick and Benny the Bap square up
“Where are you going after this grub?”

“Recycling centre, my dear. Where else?”
“How ‘bout the woodland next to my house?”
“Outrageous!” says Bap, “what proof have you got?”
And like that McFly unravels their plot.

She shows them the snap of the owl at the site
The matching paper, all spotty and bright
The van is the same, and so are the men
Slick Rick has a sigh and says “well, OK, then”

The man from the council gave them a fine
But that’s not all, they will have to serve time
in the park, cleaning up: community service.
“Okay” mumbled Bap, who looked a bit nervous

And wouldn’t the culprits look better with toppings?
The lark thought in fly-by with two little droppings.
And that’s how Polly took her best picture yet
Which made it into the the local gazette.

Along with…

Pictures of swallows and a hawfinch hen
Of dragonflies droning all over the fen
These are the photos that Polly took
For the “Things that can fly, by McFly” guidebook

We got the sad news yesterday that Polly had passed. I wasn’t going to mention it here, but just had a look online, and the news broke over the past couple of hours. Rest in peace, dear Polly.

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