The simplest lessons in life are often forgotten as we become adults.
When I asked children’s author Katy Koontz (a fellow Blue Ridge Literary Agency author) to visit my blog, I never dreamed her book, The Banana Police, would have a lesson for me, too.
This lovely children’s story, about co-existing with our neighbors, gave me a moment to pause and think about my own small town. Most days here are problem-free, but every so often we find ourselves divided on an issue, easily forgetting how much we all need one another to make this great place work smoothly. Katy’s book showed why it’s important to accept our neighbors, despite differences. A second lesson emerges, too; finding the courage to admit when you’ve made a mistake. No matter how old you are, these lessons are worth repeating.
Katy, thank you for taking time to talk about your book.
Q. What is The Banana Police about?
A. The Banana Police takes place in jungle town where people happily co-exist with elephants—until the townspeople become increasingly annoyed with their lovable, lumpy neighbors. After all, the elephants snore loudly, hog the best seats at the movies, and block all the aisles in the supermarket. Who needs that? When Mayor McFroontz calls on the elephant police to devise a clever scheme to get the elephants to leave, the town ends up buried in all the extra bananas the beasts usually eat.
Q. What will kids get out of reading The Banana Police?
A. What really makes this story shine is the unspoken message about the value of inherently different groups—in this case, the elephants and the townspeople—learning how to live together and cooperate peacefully.
Q. What sets The Banana Police apart from other children’s books?
A. The Banana Police is a little unusual in that there’s no hero or central character. Although Mayor McFroontz is the only character with a real name, the story certainly isn’t about him—and in the end, it’s the clever townspeople working together who become the real heroes.
First, they work together to come up with amazingly creative ways to solve their problem. When they attack the mountain of bananas, they end up eating them plain, fried, baked, boiled, mashed, sliced, puréed, frozen, pickled, and even covered with hot fudge and nuts, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, and spinach and creamed corn. You gotta love people who are brave enough to eat bananas with spinach and creamed corn!
An even more important reason why the townspeople are heroes is that they are big enough to admit they made a mistake. After they finish eating all those bananas, they realize that they really need the elephants after all! So they call on the elephants to return. Living together isn’t necessarily easy, but the townspeople do learn to appreciate their lovable, lumpy neighbors after all.
Q. What inspired you to write The Banana Police?
A. I wrote The Banana Police for my daughter, Sam, soon after she was born in 1993 because I was so excited to have this beautiful little baby girl and I thought it might be fun to write some silly stories for her. When I was a child, I wrote stories all the time, and I even wrote a song called “Elephant Banana” for my stuffed elephant PJs. So when I sat down to write something for my daughter, that song came to mind, and it got me thinking about elephants and bananas. The rest just tumbled out of my imagination.
I was under no pressure to please anyone else, and my newborn certainly didn’t have any expectations. (If she did, she certainly kept them to herself!) I read the story to Sam several times when she was growing up, and I even read it aloud once at her school. But I didn’t even consider trying to publish it until Sam was in her last year of middle school. At that point, I did some more tweaking here and there, but the tale is essentially the same as when it originally came to me.
To read an excerpt, visit the book’s website, TheBananaPolice.com
To view a video of the book click here.
Or visit the publisher’s website www.WillowMoonPublishing.com
Available in print or e-book (Kindle and Nook)