Not long ago, I spent many an hour rocking my firstborn
to sleep while staring at his stuffed animals. Unable to sleep, unable to
paint, I stared at his little stuffed animals and thought how wonderful it
would be to paint them, if I only had the time and energy.
So when he was old enough, I did. :)
Presents come in many shapes and sizes. I look
forward to spending my Christmas with my two little guys. And I'm thankful that
once in a blue moon, I also have time to paint.
And even share the happy little giraffe that kept
me company in those long but worthy nights.
TIME: 1 week to produce the illustration and story, completely unaware of the goings on of the other creator - the result... magic!
Ricardo’s Gourmet Pizzeria, Now With Free Delivery
By Catherine Austen
Illustrated by Danielle Arbour
Every day, Ricardo the Armadillo stood by
his clay oven in the middle of the desert, perfecting pizza recipes and praying
for customers. His termite stuffed-crust pizza with bone-marrow pesto would
knock your scales off if you got the chance to taste it. But you wouldn’t. Because
Ricardo couldn’t deliver.
Ricardo was small and slow and scared. Not
to mention nocturnal. He couldn’t walk half a mile under the hot desert sun with
his toppings intact. Whenever a shadow crossed his path, he dropped everything
and burrowed into the sand. By the time he peeked out again, his mouse-lover’s
special had been picked clean.
He tried underground delivery routes. When
the Jackrabbits had a christening, Ricardo made an extra large carrot and
sunflower pizza with strawberry crust. He burrowed it to the church as fast as
he could, sand-swimming furiously with the pizza tethered to his tail. But by
the time he arrived, the party was over, the pizza was dirty, and the Jackrabbits
didn’t appreciate the extra worms.
He tried using an armoured pizza box. For
the Bobcat wedding, Ricardo made a prairie dog pizza with aardvark hearts and
anchovies. He curled into a ball and rolled along with his pizza bouncing safely
behind him. But by the time he arrived, the pizza was steamy and soggy and turning
green. The bobcats refused to pay unless it came with a free armadillo.
Ricardo made one last attempt to deliver
pizza to Sidewinder’s slumber party. He oiled up a rusty bicycle he’d found in
a sand dune. He tied a bat-sausage pizza with scorpions to the fender and rode
as fast as his little legs could pedal. But his wheels stuck in the sand and a
pack of jackals closed in on the defenceless pizza, and Ricardo was left with
nothing. No customers. No pizza. No delivery.
He looked up to the heavens for guidance
and saw a giant shadow bearing down on him. Fast. Ricardo burrowed into the
sand. He felt something land right beside him. It was a miracle. A miracle in
the shape of a hot air balloon, with a basket large enough to hold a dozen orders
and a burner that could double as a pizza warmer.
The miracle delivery-man walked away
without even waiting for a tip. Ricardo thanked the Great Armadillo God and
hopped inside the hot air balloon. He hauled in the anchor, lit the burner, and
flew the craft home. There he quickly baked two extra-large half-carrion half-clover
pizzas on a whole wheat crust. If he hurried, he might just make Raven and
- end -
Catherine Austen is the author of
Walking Backward, My Cat Isis (illustrated by Virginie Egger), 26 Tips for
Surviving Grade 6, and All Good Children. She writes from her home in Gatineau,
Danielle Arbour - When I received my first paint set at age
five, I knew that this was it for me. After studying graphic design at George
Brown College, I spent several years designing for some of Toronto’s largest
Advertising Agencies before starting my own Children’s bedding company. While
illustrating textiles, I discovered my love for storytelling and for character
creation. I now freelance as a children’s designer and ebook illustrator in downtown
Toronto. When I am not busy working, I spend all of my time being entertained
by my two young children and new puppy Lulu.
COPYRIGHT & DISCLAIMER: All art posted on this blog is copyright. Please contact the individual Illustrator for permission. The views expressed here are our own, and not necessarily those of the SCBWI.