Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brendan's Story

A little over  year ago my son Brendan was in the process of writing a story in Japanese. He had just finished the level 2 book he was using for Japanese lessons & our teacher suggested he do some outside-the-book learning before starting the next level. They decided to write a story, so Brendan thought up one about a fox and a rabbit. I it just happened to be around Easter time, & I had made him a bunny holding a carrot amigurumi for his Easter basket. As I mention in this post, I was in the middle of a big amigurumi project anyway, so I offered to make a fox so we could illustrate his story with photos & turn it into a picture-book (btw- amigurumi is the Japanese word for toys & figures made by knitting or crocheting).  The story ended-up involving a fish as well, so I designed a tiny fish to the scale of the other guys (they're about 2"- 2 1/2" tall).
The bunny pattern is from a book my friend Momo brought me from a trip home to Japan, called "ちさなかわいいあみぐるみと小物” which means "small, cute amigurumi and small things". The book is from the レティブティックシリーズ no.2761, published by the Hamanaka Yarn Company. The fox pattern is from Tamie Snow's tiny Yarn animals. I used KnitPick's Pallette fingering & a size C/2/2.75 needle, to get a firm fabric.
The first page of the story goes like this:

「はい、いいですね。 そうしましょう。」

It means, basically, "One day a mischievous fox met a cute bunny. The fox said, cute bunny, let's play! The bunny agreed, but wondered where they should play. The fox suggested a large field nearby, & the bunny agreed."
Brendan's words are more interesting, but that's the gist of it :) The story goes on to tell how they played for a while, then went to the river for a drink, where they met a fish who was hurt. So they took him to the fish doctor (on the fox's back :) and after he was well they took him back to the river (aka watery blue scarf :) & he thanked them. Brendan came up with not only the story, but as is common in Japanese stories, a page describing the characters & an author page. Then we took the camera out to the back yard & created the different scenes, along with Shizuka, our Japanese teacher. It was a lot of fun. Brendan typed it all himself on the laptop, & spent a lot of time learning how stories in Japanese are punctuated (how to indicate quotes, etc.). This process helped him with his understanding of punctuation in general, so that he does it really well in English now, too :) After it was all done, he translated his story into English, put the Japanese into superscripts below, & we sent the story to some kids in Japan that we know, since they are taking English lessons.
Here is the picture from the author page, Brendan with his (& my) creations. It was such a fun collabouration.  I hope we get to do something like this again some day :) 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful, wonderful way to illustrate Brendan's fabulous stories!