Adventure in Thorny Wood
JC Summers is a 7 year old boy with a powerful imagination. He is staying for the summer with his granny, near Thorny Wood.
JC has a great friend called Mr. Wisscoccally, an imaginary friend, who comes to stay for the summer in Thorny Wood.
So strong is JC’s imagination and so magical is Thorny Wood, that when the peaceful lives of the woodland creatures are threatened, bullies are exposed as cowards, and the helpless join forces to beat the mighty.
Written by Ruth Campbell and illustrated by Vivienne Byrne, Mr. Wisscoccally is a magical story to be read to children from age 3+.
How it all started . . . . .
The day that Mr. Wisscoccally was born is as clear in my head now as if it were yesterday.
It was in about 2007 or 2008 and I was minding two of my grandsons. John was 3-ish at the time and AJ not yet a year old.
The little guy had fallen asleep on the sofa when John brought me a piece of paper and a pencil. The paper had already been used – there was a childish drawing on it – I can’t remember what.
“Will you draw a monster for me?” he asked and he climbed up on the chair beside mine, confident I wouldn’t refuse. Grannies don’t, ever – do they?
I’m not the best sketcher in the world but I was sure I could draw a monster adequate to please a 3 year old!
As soon as I started to draw a fairly standard monster, a dinosaur-ish thing with scales and drool, John put his little hand on mine and said, “NO! Ruth, draw my monster for me.”
I was not surprised by this because John was one of those children who had a headful of imaginary friends of all sorts, with great names and personalities.
“OK,” said I. “What does he look like?”
With his elbow on the table and his head in his hand he started:
“He has only one leg………..”
(I don’t know about you, I don’t draw a lot - but I never start to with the leg!)
“he has ears like a dog, not pointy ones, long floppy, curly ones.”
And so, it began, over the next 20 minutes or so I got my instructions and came up with a drawing that satisfied him.
“That’s him,” he said nodding his head. “He has a friend, a bird called Elephant.”
“Where do they live?” I asked.
“In a hill, and he sleeps in a basket……. with a lid.”
I looked at the beautiful, serious little face and marvelled at the mind of a child. What a wonderful thing.
We continued our work and, by the time my daughter Clare came home, we had a veritable picture gallery, the monster, the bird, the hill, the laundry basket, even another friend (but that’s another story) ……. The lot. We even had the name.
That bit was astounding. I asked him if the monster had a name.
He looked at the drawing and then looked at me and said, “Yeah!” (in the way children do when they mean, ‘Duh! Of course he has a name.’) That’s Mistercocccally. Mister Wisscoccally, I mean.” Quite a difficult word for a small boy. He examined the picture again and said, “That’s him. Thank you Ruth,” and he slid off the chair and carried the picture off to his room.
We showed Clare what we had been doing. She smiled at John and admired his characters and then, over his head she looked at me and said, “That’s right Mam! Disappoint another generation!”
Ouch! That was a reference to all the stories I had told my children and – despite all their asking – never wrote down.
Ouch! Harsh words, but true.