Lenny the Laughing Leatherback
The other night I was brainstorming my original story about Larry the Lonely Leatherback. I wrote it and illustrated it thinking it might make a decent picture book. Then I thought of this idea which is going in a whole different direction, and which is also longer in text.
I would love to hear what any other writers think of this story. PLEASE feel free to leave constructive criticism. I would greatly appreciate it! I have not started on any artwork for this yet.
Lenny the Laughing Leatherback
Lenny loves to laugh. He laughs when jellyfish sting other fish. He laughs when octopuses get tangled up in seaweed. He laughs when abalone are found and taken out of the ocean by divers.
The fish who get stung by jellyfish do not like Lenny.
The octopuses who get tangled up in seaweed do not like Lenny.
The abalone who are found and pried off of their rocks by divers do not like Lenny.
Lenny doesn’t seem to care if the fish, octopuses or abalone like him or not. He is one of the biggest sea creatures in the ocean. He is the largest type of sea turtle there is! Sticking his nose up in the air as he swims by, he notices out of the corner of his eye that the other sea creatures just shake their heads at him.
The fish frown.
The octopuses ogle their eyes.
The abalone stamp their sticky feet!
So Lenny shrugs his massive shoulders and swims away. He looks around for things to do to amuse himself. He’s not hungry, so eating doesn’t appeal to him. He’s tired, so swimming doesn’t appeal to him either. In fact, Lenny’s biggest problem is…feeling bored all the time. He doesn’t have any friends. He just hasn’t realized yet that no one wants to hang out with bullies. Lenny has given himself a bad reputation in the ocean so all of the other sea creatures try to get out of his way when they see him swimming towards them.
The fish who are swimming together scatter and hide in seaweed.
The octopuses camouflage themselves in the coral.
The abalone stick themselves to rocks so Lenny won’t see them shaking in their shells.
One day Lenny swims all day but doesn’t see any of the usual sea creatures about whom he usually sees. He realizes they must be avoiding him. His favorite place to swim is by the coral reef. So he decides to go check and see if anyone is hanging around there. The coral reef is Lenny’s favorite place to eat seaweed and jellyfish. The gigantic mushroom-shaped jellyfish are his favorite food, especially the bright pink ones! Sometimes they just can’t get away from his enormous mouth in time and he gobbles them up in one…two…three big bites.
Then he lets out a burp that can be heard all the way to China! (A bubble above his head says “Oh, pardon me!”)
Just as soon as the bubbles are gone from his enormous belch, he sees something skitter across the sea floor. He stays as still as he can to see if it will move again, because he isn’t sure of what it is. Lenny waits a little while and then hears a little clicking sound coming from under a seashell. He looks at it curiously and decides to pick it up.
He doesn’t see the little hermit crab hiding inside of it at first. So he shakes the shell swiftly. The hermit crab holds his shell tightly with all of his claws, but Lenny is shaking his house so hard and fast that the little red crab falls out on the sand! Plop!
Just when the hermit crab is getting ready to yell at the one who made him fall out of his home, his eyes grow wide with fear! He is so scared he pees right there in the sand. Lenny starts laughing hysterically and pointing at the tiny puddle under the hermit crab. The crab doesn’t find this amusing at all. His face turns even redder than his shell. Then he scowls and yells at Lenny.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing you big bully? You just made me fall out of my house! That isn’t funny at all! How would you like it if another sea turtle came along and gobbled up the jellyfish you were just getting ready to eat? Do you think you would like that?”
Lenny was stunned into silence. His face reddened and he hung his head low. Then he cleared his throat and said, “Oh, I w…w…wouldn’t l…l…like that a…a….at all.”
The hermit crab was surprised. He said, “Hey, you’re stuttering! Have you always talked that way?”
Lenny nodded and a huge tear came sailing down on the hermit crab’s head with a mighty splash. He fell down at the weight of it. Then he walked back over to his house and crawled inside. Sticking out just his head he said, “I guess it feels embarrassing to talk like that, huh?”
Lenny nodded again. He said, “Everyone m…m…makes f…f…f….FUN of me all the t…t…time! I hate it!”
The little hermit crab said, “I won’t make fun of you. Sometimes other sea creatures don’t understand why I like to crawl inside of shells and carry them around on my back, so they make fun of me, too. It used to hurt my feelings, but I don’t let it bother me anymore. I just laugh and crawl away from them now. Is that why you’ve gotten a bad reputation for being the biggest bully in the ocean?”
“I guess so.”
“What’s your name, big guy?”
“L…L…Lenny. No one has ever l…l…listened to m…m…me l…l…long enough for me to t…t…tell them how much it hurts to be made fun of. I’m glad you did. What’s your n…n…name?”
Lenny started to laugh. He said, “I’m s…s…sorry. I’m not making fun of you; I p…p…promise. I was just exp…p…pecting a name like Hermie or Crabbie. You know, like m…m…my n…n…name starts with an L, b…b…because I’m a Leatherback sea turtle.” Then he smiled at Ed.
(Note: The smile will look so goofy, it will make Ed laugh hysterically!)
Ed broke out into a fit of giggles. Every time he stopped laughing, he would gaze up at Lenny and start giggling all over again. He laughed so hard he fell out of his shell!
Then Lenny was laughing along with Ed. He had made his first friend. He decided it wasn’t nice to laugh at others in a mean way so he never did it again.
Lenny and Ed became great buddies, and Lenny made many more friends in the sea.
© Patsy H. Parker
I know this story needs work to become a picture book! Please give me feedback. I would greatly appreciate it.
(I was thinking about a softball coach I had when I was a kid who stuttered. I loved him so much! I don’t know if he was ever made fun of when he was a kid, though. Anyway, this is for Ed Organ. I love you Ed and still remember the sound of your voice! R.I.P.)
Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂