Can He also Ride a Porcupine?

Two weeks ago (yes…) I visited my son’s class. I read to them from my current work in progress, a novel soon to be presented IHO Mohan’s eighth birthday.

Before I finished the hands were up and all the mouths were saying ‘Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!’

They had plans for my principal foil, a character named Cowboy Herold sent to the office for riding a horse to school.

‘Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Can he also ride a chicken? Can he also ride an ostrich?’

There were about a dozen electrifying suggestions during an intense discussion of the possibilities for the Fifth Grade renegade, Herold Woodley, castigated by Principal Tuckler for parking his horse in front of the school (everyone knows horses aren’t parked, Principal Tuckler).

Could he ride a bull? Could he ride a pig? Could he ride a chicken?

Could he ride a vampire chicken?

I had to close the catalogue on farm animals a fifth grader might ride to school.

The novel comes out soon, so no backstory here. Just my pleasure at what happened a few days later. Captivated by the idea of Cowboy Herold swapping his horse Palomina for his mule, Mr. Slocumb, the kids showed up to play kickball the following week still buzzing with the possibilities.

‘How about a porcupine named Bus#5? So, when Principal Tuckler tells Cowboy Herold he can’t ride a porcupine at school, Herold can say he didn’t ride a porcupine to school. He rode Bus#5!’


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