Elizabeth Stevens Omlor
WALK YOUR DOG: An Origins Post
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy right at the end of my street, we didn’t have a dog. We didn’t do much. Life was very boring.
But then, in 2013, our little family adopted a big dog names Scooter, AKA Scoot, AKA Scootman, AKA Scootmagoot, AKA, Scooterdebumbum.
Life was suddenly filled with pizazz! We were bouncing off the walls. We literally couldn’t contain ourselves!
Scooter became our world*. We went camping, took long road-trips, swam in creeks, and watched movies with Scoot. When before, members of our family could be found reading, or in the case of the littlest Omlors, learning to read, now they could be found reading TO OUR DOG. It was glorious! You can't get much better than books and fur balls.
One day Scooter and I were out for a "walk" and I came across this image.
WALK YOUR BIKE. I loved the punch that these three words packed. I loved them so much, I took a picture of them right then and there, knowing that the combination of these words, like that moment, was something special. They reminded me of the spare and simple text in the books I would read with my daughter who was five at the time. Books like, P.D. Eastman's, Go, Dog. Go! and Deborah Underwood's, The Quiet Book.
As soon as I got home I plopped down at our kitchen table, rolled up my sleeves and wrote what was to be the first version of the picture book, WALK YOUR DOG. At forty-five words in length, this was by far the shortest story I had written. There was a pattern to the text that to me, made it feel poetic. I just really loved the idea of writing a story that could be accessible to the youngest of readers and felt like with its silly but sweet tone, I had created a story a lot of families might be able connect over.
So that's that. This is how this particular story came to be. As they say, the rest is history (or should I say a span of four years of submitting and being rejected and revising and rewriting and revising again). But look! Now it's a real book!
There is so much that went into making this book! How do you tell a story in 36 words? I get tons of questions in regards to the book's illustrations and if and how the illustrator Neesha Hudson and I worked together. If you are interested in learning more about what was considered when writing this book, be on the lookout for a post on process coming soon!