Wednesday, October 10

Cowboy & Octopus


by Jon Scieszka
illustrated by Lane Smith
Viking 2007

Cowboy and Octopus are friends. Cowboy is a paper doll cut from a book. His clothing tabs occasionally show. Octopus was cut from a comic book. His bold colors and zip-a-tone dots give him a party dress appearance.

"Do you like our book?" asks Cowboy.
"Do you like our book?" asks Octopus.
"Yes, I do. I like it very much," I say.
"Do you think kids will understand the stories?" asks Octopus.
"Sure," I say, " They have that same irreverent humor of George and Martha books, but with some unexpected twists."
"What's a Martha," wonders Octopus.
"Twists?" drawls Cowboy, "What do you mean when you say twists?'
"Well, Cowboy, while Octopus can be a very understanding friend -- eating your seven course meal of beans without complaining the way George eats Martha's pea soup without telling her he didn't like it -- you are much more blunt about things."
"What's a George?" asks Octopus.
"For example," I continue, "When you asked about each others fancy hats, Cowboy, you flat out told your friend that you didn't like Octopus's hat. I believe you compared it to a cow pie."
"Yeah, and he hit me over the head with a hammer!"
"True," I say, "But that was different. That came from a misunderstanding."
"But I said that being a friend meant being honest with one another," says Cowboy. "Should I have lied?"
"You asked me about the twists. That's what I was talking about. I didn't expect you to be so... coarse."
"Horse? You didn't expect me to be a horse?"
"Not horse, course. Rough around the edges."
"That's not my fault I'm rough, I was just cut out that way."
"Me too," says Octopus.
"But you still liked it, our book?" wonders Cowboy.
"Yes."
"You didn't say anything about my scary costume?" whines Octopus.
"We have to save something for people to be surprised about," I say.
"Yeah," says Cowboy, "I still have nightmares about that."
"I trust we'll be seeing more of you boys down the road?"
"Maybe," says Cowboy.
"Maybe," says Octopus.

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