Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Behind the Books: On the Cutting Room Floor

If you’ve seen the Revision Timeline I created for No Monkeys, No Chocolate, then you have a good idea of the path I took as I wrote and revised the manuscript and what information did and didn’t make it into the book.

During school visits this spring, students have asked me about my revision process for Feathers: Not Just for Flying and if there were any examples in early versions of the manuscript that didn’t make it into the final book.

The answer is . . .  Yes! Here are a few examples:

A horned grebe usually eats fish, frogs, and insects, but sometimes it snacks on something surprising—its own feathers. As the feathers break down, they form a felt-like material that lines the bird’s stomach and pads it from sharp fish bones.

A honey buzzard’s favorite foods are bees and wasps. Tightly overlapping feathers protect the bird’s face from painful stings.

An owl depends on its super-sharp hearing to track down its dinner. Feathers on the sides of its head collect sounds and funnel them into its ears.

How does a male ruffed grouse attract a mate? He braces his body with his strong tail feathers and pumps his wings up and down. The drumming sound lets nearby females know exactly where he is.
These are great examples, but I'm glad we whittled down the list. It allowed more space for illustrator Sarah S. Brannen's beautiful illustrations.

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