SCBWI Canada East Blog

July 2, 2013

11:04 PM 3
Special thanks this week's participants, Sue and Stephanie - for taking on the third round of the SCBWI Author/Illustrator MASH UP. Both creators were given the following (random) attributes: 

Name: Luke
Species: Kangaroo
Occupation: Lumberjack
Location: Cave
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...

“Luke, where are you? I need you!” 

How could this have happened?  Louis was the best lumberjack in the country.  He could take down a hectare quicker and cleaner than any bulldozer out there. 

And now he is laid trapped beneath a huge pine tree. 

“Luke, where are you?  I am hurt.” 

If I had not seen what happened next I would never have believed it.  From a small cave in the side of the mountain, I saw a Kangaroo peek.  Yes a kangaroo.  She hopped towards the fallen Louis.  Gave him a sniff, a quick but reassuring lick. 

“Good girl Lucinda.  Get me out of here.” 

The marsupial reached in to her pouch and pulled out a plethora of wood cutting tools.  She then leaned back gently on her tail and quickly made sawdust of the pillar that pinned poor Louis to the ground. The tree bark and splinters flew through the air at records speeds.  A chainsaw could not have broken down the log any faster.  With every piece of wood the aroma of fresh cut lumber rose like a cloud about the forest. Not only that, the piece were being stacked in perfect order for loading on the morning rig. 

As I quietly approached the scene, the two culprits stared then turned their gaze to each other.  It was obvious that I had witnessed something I was not supposed to see.

“Who are you?  What are you doing here?  Nobody is supposed to be in this sector."

“I am just a lost hiker.  I heard you calling and made my way over here to see if I could help… but you obviously have everything under control.  I have never heard of a lumberjack kangaroo.  How did she get here?”

“Well, when I was in Australia I found her beside her mom on the side of the road. Her mother had been hit by a car.  I just could not leave her.  I brought her home and she would follow me while I chopped and started picking up my tools and joining in.  She hides in the cave.  I am afraid a circus or research lab will steal her for a cruel show or experiments.”

With a look of sadness, Lucinda was almost begging.  I knew there was no way I could tell this story.

So if you are reading this, it means that you are peeking in to my private journal.  And since you don’t want to get caught snooping, you better not get caught blabbing.

About the Illustrator

Sue Todd carves linoleum for a living. Her lino-cut illustrations are scanned and coloured in Photoshop. Sue has created art for a wide range of clients from advertising and corporate to editorial and publishing. Her images appear on book covers and interiors, packaging, posters, t-shirts, a TV commercial and most recently, a bus. Sue has worked for many educational publishers and has illustrated five picture books. She is presently writing and illustrating her first picture book, with lots of help from SCBWI. Sue makes art in a yellow studio in uptown Toronto.

About the Author

Stephanie Maidens is a mother and writer.  
She has submitted an article on raising a child with ADHD for entitled How French School Helped my ADHD Child.
She is presently working on a mid grade novel and a novel in verse.  
She is living in Shelburne ON, with her two children and her dog Tito. 


  1. Guys, THAT was FUN!!!:)
    Stephanie, I loved the story being told in third person and in "confedence" (with a little threat involved:)

    Sue, Astounding work! The Background of the piece being "tree bark", and Luke's carving his name in the tree was a wonderful touch! And, of course what Lumberjack Kangaroo is complete without a matching checked hat:)

  2. Thanks, Chris! But I failed my homework because it is supposed to be a cave wall, my bad. That's what you get for downloading free texture backgrounds:-) Stephanie, I love your story, especially the surprise ending. Excuse me for snooping!

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