Why over the years this simple little book has had such a unique appeal to children and to others as well, I do not know. Yet, why did I write this book in the first place? Why am I writing a second children's book similar to this one?
I have always liked silly words, wits, and rhymes. I liked the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz at the end of Dr. Seuss's "ABC's". I liked Shel Silverstein's book, "The Missing Piece", and I really liked, "The Real Mother Goose". These books fascinated me when I was young. I read them and read them. I liked how they spoke to me, and sometimes from across the pages came a simple message wrapped in a certain kind of wit, humor, or in just plain silliness. I loved words. I loved how they sounded and were put together. I loved how they felt and how they made me feel. I don't know how many times I read that last page in Dr. Seuss's "ABC's" - The Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz.
Today I still love playing with words. "A Yellow Jellow Telephone" was the first poem written for this book originally titled, "A Yellow Jellow, What?", and now tilted, "A Yellow Jellow, What Did You Say?". This poem was inspired by a word game I played with the Cox children who belonged to a family from whom I rented out a room.
One rainy lost Sunday afternoon, I watched the Cox children playing with a large broken toy calculator. The kids were pointing the inoperative toy out the backyard window, pushing buttons, and naming the different things they were imagining, which were then appearing on the back lawn from out the front of the broken toy that they were now calling the "making machine."
I, being unable to rest in quiet or resist playing the game, asked them if I could play too. Then after they all quickly agreed to let me into the game, they re-evaluated and explained some of the rules to me.
We started playing the game by taking turns being in charge of the now re-invented toy calculator while the rest of us went in turn naming something we wanted to have made, and then to have that something magically projected out the front of the "making machine" and onto the back lawn.
When it was the eldest child's turn to be in charge of the "making machine", he held it all ready to go, steadfast and aimed, out the back window at the back lawn, while he waited intensely for one of the rest of us to start the game by announcing what we wanted made before he would push any of its buttons. Then finally one of us called out what we wanted made; then the eldest child with relieved tension push the first button; then he waited again for one of us to say what we wanted it made out of; then he would push a second button. Then someone had to say what color we wanted it to be, and then the eldest child would push the final button. Then there on the subdued wet autumn lawn, a top the wilting yellowish greenish grass and damp dark leaves was something all of us wanted to see, something all of us made up together, and something you could almost see if you really thought about it and looked really hard.
One of these times while the eldest child was pointing the "making machine" out the window just waiting to push a button, one of the three of us called out 'telephone,' and he pushed the first button; then one of us called out 'jello', and the eldest child didn't hesitate and pushed the second button; then during a brief moment of contemplative silence somebody yelled out 'yellow' (which wasn't me), and then they started laughing really hard. And that was it. In a few seconds we all got the accidental joke; and we all thought it quite clever what had just happened; and we all had a new reason for this being such a good game. Then I thought, I may have a poem out of it too.
This three-word combination became the poem that I later put with this book's title, "A Yellow Jellow, What Did You Say?".
"If I had a machine
That could make almost anything,
I'd make my wish
And pull its switch;
Then that machine
Would start to twitch;
It might squeak and squawk,
Bleep and blop,
And out of it would pop
A Yellow Jellow Telephone,
Bouncing with a jiggle jiggle,
And ringing with a little wiggle giggle."
My late father said, "The quality of a man's work was second to that of putting all he had into it - and not just with his back, mind you - but from deep within the truth about himself." However, this is not a word for word quote. It is a paraphrase of something very close to what was said, or at the very least, in the way I understood it at the time.
I have had little at my disposal to produce books from conception to finished project. Sometimes I have felt as if I was trying to produce and publish books while being blind folded and wearing mittens. Then trying to make marketing packages for them as if from out of the ears of sows.
I produced "A Yellow Jellow, What Did You Say?" three times now in three different bindings both conventional and digital, and with as much heart, professionalism, and discernment that I could obtain at any one given time because that's all I had. However, as with all things, I learn as I go, and I would like to think I get better with time as I begin to understand about what I have learned in my experiences of success, failure, heartbreak, and joy; and then connecting this reality into the deep corners and driving passions of my heart for the next time, and the next.
Recently, I finished a musical audio book CD based on one of these poems in "A Yellow Jellow, What Did You Say?". This poem is to become the title of a newly written and illustrated children's book, and the new CD will become part of this new book's package. The number of poems and illustrations in this new book far exceed those in "A Yellow Jellow, What Did You Say?". Also, the new illustrations are far more advanced. At one time, I suffered from epileptic seizures and after several of these seizures I brought back out with me a highly increased ability to draw. Surprise! Now, the seizures are gone, but the new drawing ability has remained.
In conclusion, I hope you enjoy "A Yellow Jellow, What Did You Say?". It is also my wish of course that you someday buy and enjoy most of my future books. And at best, with all the many great authors and illustrators out there now being made more available, I hope you find with ease and at a good price what you might be looking for in a great book. Thank you in advance for your purchase. And thank you for taking the time to read. Happy hunting and further pleasant reading.