SCBWI Canada East Blog

June 6, 2013

8:14 PM 11
Special thanks to our pioneers, Jocelyn and Christine - for taking on the first round of the SCBWI Author/Illustrator MASH UP. Both (amazing) creators were given the following (random) attributes:
Name: Henry
Species: Giraffe
Occupation: Mad Scientist
Location: Submarine
They had no contact with each other (nor did they know who they were paired with) and had ONE-WEEK to complete the story or illustration...

On his tenth birthday, Henry received a message from the Extremely Brilliant Society of Mad Scientists. But they didn’t wish him a Happy Birthday as in other years. Instead the email read:

Dear Henry,

It has come to our attention that you are not properly qualified to work as a Mad Scientist, Level 10. You are not even qualified to be a Mad Scientist in training. You are just a giraffe. We must ask you to resign your position and leave your Sublime Spotted Submarine with Extra Leg and Neck Room™ immediately. We will of course refund your membership fees. We wish you well in future endeavors, and apologize for any inconvenience.

Henry had often felt like a fish out of water, but a giraffe? He wasn’t even sure what a giraffe was. His meteoric rise through the ranks of Mad Scientists after his invention of the Sublime Spotted Submarine with Extra Leg and Neck Room™ had resulted in him not knowing everything he should about the animal kingdom.

A hazy memory of the East African Giraffes’ Junior Science Fair came to mind, but he could recall nothing more specific than a huge splash at a watering hole.

So Henry googled ‘Giraffe’. After reading about the magnificent creatures, he knew he was indeed one of them. Which would explain why he dreamed of savannahs and tall trees. And why he yearned for the taste of acacia leaves instead of seaweed.

But what to do? Henry loved being a Mad Scientist, Level 10. He felt so important in his Sublime Spotted Submarine with Extra Leg and Neck Room™, doing his mad marine experiments. Could he give up his invention and his work and be happy as just one of the herd?

@2013 Christine Tripp

And how had the Extremely Brilliant Society found out about him being a giraffe anyway? Who had revealed his true identity? Was it the sea serpent he’d turned into an anemone? Or maybe the giant squid he’d turned into a jelly fish?

Well, no matter. He might be taking a shore leave, but he wasn’t giving up. He’d find a way to become a Mad Scientist, Level 10, again. He’d show the Extremely Brilliant Society that a giraffe can do anything.

As Henry booked his flight to Africa, he was already planning a Sublime Spotted Space Ship with Extra Leg and Neck Room™.   

©2013 Jocelyn Shipley 

About the Author:

Jocelyn Shipley’s teen novel, How to Tend a Grave, won the 2012 Gold Medal Moonbeam Award for Young Adult Fiction - Mature Issues. Her previous YA books include Seraphina’s Circle, Cross My Heart, Getting a Life and the co-edited anthology Cleavage: Breakaway Fiction for Real Girls. Jocelyn won the 2011 Surrey International Writers’ Conference Writing for Young People Award and her books have been translated into many languages for Stabenfeldt’s GIRL:IT book clubs. Born in London, ON, she lives in Toronto and on Vancouver Island. 

Website and blog:
Twitter: sageshipley
Facebook: JocelynSageShipley

About the Illustrator:

Christine Tripp is the Illustrator of, Penelope and the Humongous Burp, nominated for
the Ontario Blue Spruce Award, Penelope and the Monsters, also nominated and Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party.
She has Illustrated more then 50 Educational Titles, for Publishers such as Scholastic Canada & USA.
She lives with her husband Don and their bad dog “Jake”, in Ottawa Ontario.
Her 4 grown Children, their husbands and wife, and 8 Grandchildren live close by.



  1. Wonderful. Thoroughly enjoyed both story and illustration. Good job!! :D


  2. You guys set the bar high! I LOVE Henry! He is the cutest mad scientist and I want to see the whole picture book! Nice work you two!

  3. What a great kick off to the Mash Up series! Way to go Jocelyn and Chris!

  4. This is AWESOME - love this and look forward to more mashups!

  5. Thanks so much, everyone. I'm overwhelmed by the positive response. It was really scary to go first, and I almost backed out of it. Now, I'm glad I got over myself and did it. Can't believe how perfectly Christine's illustration works with the story. And I love the idea of a picture book. Maybe all the mashups could make a book?

  6. Thanks guys, thanks Peggy, thanks Jocelyn for NOT backing out!:) I had no idea who Henry really WAS when I drew him, now I know all about his life, his struggles, thanks to your great storytelling! I do hope he finishes his space ship soon:)

  7. What a cool story. Kudos. I love the imagination of it!!!!!