Children’s Book Idea

Idea behind writing a children’s book

Where does one begin to write a children’s book when they have never written one? For me, it all began with the main character, a simple little mountain beaver. I would never have imagined a casual sighting of my mystery critter would send me on such a journey.


Mountain Beaver

After realizing I had a mountain beaver living beneath my feet, literally, I learned all I could about them. There were many fascinating facts such as: they are only found in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States; they are the most primitive rodent alive today; they have lived unchanged for approximately 40,000 years; they live within an extensive burrow system spending 75% of their lives underground; they were discovered during the Corps of Discovery Expedition in 1806; and the most intriguing facts of all, they are not even a beaver and they don’t live in the mountains!

How can someone not be fascinated by a mountain beaver?

Since they are only found in the Pacific Northwest, I began asking different people if they ever heard of a mountain beaver. Their response EVERY time, “Of course, they live in the water in a lodge made of sticks and mud and they like to build dams.” This, however, is the American Beaver they were thinking of!


American Beaver

I soon realized I was not the only one who never heard of a mountain beaver. Even people who spent their entire lives in the Pacific NW had never heard of them. It was becoming clear to me that the world must learn about this fascinating little critter!

As I began talking more and more about my mountain beaver, I began to wonder what it would be like to be one. I mean, if you spend 75% of your life underground, who are your friends? What is it like in your burrows? Do you have any idea how mysterious and misunderstood you are?

I would talk to my sister, Patty, about my mountain beaver and share the wonderings of my mind. Then evening would come and my ever-so-tolerant husband, Rick, would listen about my crazy “what ifs” regarding mountain beavers. And then, perhaps to funnel my curiosity elsewhere, they both simultaneously began to say:

“You should write a children’s book about your mountain beaver.”

My response: “Really? Me? I’ve never written a book before! It does sound fun though. Okay!!!”

But first, my mountain beaver needed a name! This part will give you a glimpse into how my mind works ~ for better or worse!

My first thought was this poor little critter is always playing “second fiddle” to the more popular and famous American Beaver. Second thought was he was discovered during the Corps of Discovery Expedition ~ the greatest western expedition in our history ~ led by Lewis and Clark.

Hmm, Lewis and Clark. Here is where my brain really kicks in! You never hear it said, Clark and Lewis, right? So in my mind, Clark is always playing “second fiddle” to Lewis so there is no doubt in my mind, my beloved little mountain beaver must be called Clark!

And just like that, Clark the Mountain Beaver was born!

Clark the Mountain Beaver

Clark the Mountain Beaver is born!

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5 Responses to Children’s Book Idea

  1. Patricia Zilinsky December 30, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    Another interesting and well written piece! My only concern is that I’m not hounded for autographs because you mentioned me in it!

    I can’t help but wonder if these little critters have a kombol in one of their many tunnels. Sometimes I feel like a mountain beaver when I’m in mine so I can totally relate to their life underground!

    Well done Karen!! Can’t wait for the next one!!!

    • Karen B. Shea December 31, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

      Thank you Patricia! Not sure about the kombol but you are definitely both busy beavers!!!

  2. Peggy Zilinsky January 2, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    Loved the book and your blog. Can’t wait for the next one. Thanks Karen.

  3. Sharon Howell February 7, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    I love learning about these little critters – thank you Karen