Alison Miles




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Who is Snippy the Crab?

20 December 2021


Well now, that is quite a story – or rather several of them.


Snippy is a chipper little crab who dreams of exciting adventures in deep distant seas and far-flung places. He is very inquisitive like a cat (but not so furry). Whenever something crosses his path, or comes into his head – an idea, notion, a strange sound, anything really - he has to go and investigate. After all, that is how you find out about the world, right? Or you could go to school - only there’s no school for crabs, so Snippy has to work it all out for himself!


Snippy the crab


He is like many of us – loves the idea of adventure but gets a tiddly-taddly bit scared when things get hairy! Who wouldn’t? He has a couple of useful tricks up his sleeve, though: he loves making friends and he is so open, honest and kind that everyone loves him too! (Well, almost everyone that is – a few creatures would like to gobble him up, but you’ll have to find out more about that in the stories).


I am the lucky person who spends lots of time with Snippy writing up his adventures and drawing the pictures. Oh, and Snippy is very particular -  he told me “I want lots of colourful pictures and my books need to be in rhyme!!


What? IN RHYME? I hear you shout. YES! I did say ‘in rhyme’. They are written entirely in rhyming couplets – Ooh! that’s going to be a bit of brain ache! Yes, you are right again but I had to do as Snippy asked because he is so loveable and he really loves narrative poems! Writing them was not as difficult as it might have been because Snippy was always around to suggest snazzy words that brought to life his travels. Gosh! He knows a lot of words for someone his age (about 6 months crab years and 5 ½ human years) and then if he can’t think of any fantabulous words that really capture his experiences, he tells me to make them up! Well, I don’t know what your teachers would say about that?


But in rhyme, you say again. Yes, I was dubious, too, especially after I contacted a well known poet person who told me (you have to put on a crabby - sorry, Snippy! -  voice for this and say out loud):


“Rhyming picture books are very hard to publish. Picture books in general are the hardest genre to write in. That’s out of writing for adults and children. Most picture books are the result of many years work and many years work before that honing the craft.


Even having written a superb one, picture books are very hard to place as the quality has to be so high. The quality has to be high because they are so expensive to produce - so much so, that a publisher cannot do it on their own… Therefore, they much prefer books that do not rhyme - because then they have to pay a translator and rhyming translations are hard. Unless they know the book is going to sell because the author is so well-known, they are not worth the time and trouble they would have to take.”


Gosh! The words ‘hard’ and ‘so’ must have needed a lie down after that! Poor me, though, that was NOT very encouraging, was it? I had to dig deep and take a leaf out of Snippy’s book (not literally) so I said to myself (in more of a flaky, quiet voice): “Well, I’m going to give it a go for Snippy’s sake. He’d never stop at the first hurdle and neither will I!” That told myself good and proper to not take any notice and get on with recording Snippy’s exciting tales…