What inspired Batina’s oversized wings?
In the original short version of Batina’s Best First Day, discussed in an earlier blog post, Batina did not have any unusual characteristics. When redeveloping the picture book to a chapter book I felt the need to give Batina a distinctive appearance – a feature that made her stand out from others – a feature to make her more interesting. It was time to ponder ideas. Here is what I came up with.
There are many children’s books and movies with characters that are unique in their own way. For example look at Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. You got a double dose of character uniqueness in this story. Rudolph and his red nose. Everyone knows that the other reindeer teased him and called him names. And what about Hermey, the Elf. He wanted to be a dentist, for goodness sake. I guess it would be easy to conclude that this is where I got my inspiration considering my book has a dental element to it, as well, but I didn’t. I was inspired by the story Dumbo. I’ll tell you why.
First and foremost, as a child I loved Dumbo. But there’s more to it than that. Dumbo had large ears and people made fun of him. With the help of his friend, Timothy the mouse, Dumbo learned how to use his ears as wings and he learned to fly. WHAT? Yes, an elephant learned to fly. What an accomplishment! Dumbo overcame his perceived defect and turned it into an asset.
What an inspiration it would be to read about a little tooth fairy with oversized wings whose primary job was to fly. Consider how difficult would it be for her to navigate in the air with oversized wings. Consider how scary it would be to learn that she had the fear of being caught in a rogue gust of wind that could stand in the way of her completing her mission. How awesome it would be to learn that she was not deterred. My little Batina became a motivated fairy determined to do a good job no matter the obstacles. Like Dumbo, Batina overcame a perceived defect and turned it into an asset.
Here’s the nugget – Embrace your differences because that’s what makes you, YOU! And no matter your differences, you can achieve your goals.
PS – Dumbo was released on October 23, 1941. Many years later, I was born on that day, too. Another reason Dumbo was my inspiration. That’s the truth.
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