THE EXQUISITE CORPSE: JANET HILL + MICHAEL HALL + KEVIN SYLVESTER, WITH MEGAN JEAN SOVERN

EXCORPSEBased on an old surrealist game, Kinderlit’s Exquisite Corpse pairs up three illustrators to collaborate on the creation of a character; the catch is that none of three know who the other two are, nor what their contributions look like. To add a little twist, after we assemble the pieces we send the creation to a children’s book author to write a little something inspired by our Exquisite Corpse.

In this edition, Janet Hill created the head, Michael Hall created the torso, and Kevin Sylvester created the legs. (Click on the image to see the media file.) Author Megan Jean Sovern supplies the words…


OR ELSE…

Addy was weird. In a weird good way.

She had weird and beautiful blue eyes that needed glasses to see all the weird things she

wanted to see. She had long blonde hair that she never brushed so it was always weird with

static. And she told weird stories about weird things like when she fibbed that her grandmother

had shot a bear and it tasted just like racoon. That was so weird.

And so it wasn’t weird at all when Addy rummaged through boxes in the attic. Specifically the boxes belonging to her weird Aunt Margo whom she had inherited all her weirdness from.

Aunt Margo had left her things there when she abruptly moved to Paris even though she only knew three French words: Macaron, croissant and vomir which means to barf.

Addy blew the dust from a wooden crate. It was covered in stamps from India, Africa and the Orient. And in big black letters it read: DO NOT OPEN. Ever. Or else. And in fine print it read: Especially you Addy. I’m watching you. But Addy couldn’t read the fine print because her eyeballs could see weird things but not tiny weird things.

She opened the crate and a puff of dust engulfed her nose. She Ah-Chooed! And after she blessed herself she saw IT. A wooden stick with a crook in the top. It was a wand. Like definitely a 100% wand. She picked it up, pointed it and magic happened.

She turned boxes into toadstools. A lampshade in a big, fancy hat. She poofed her old rocking horse into a miniature pony. She had always wanted a miniature pony to have miniature tea parties with. And just like that, her dream came true. She kazaamed the staircase into a slide that she jumped down with a Wheeeeeee!

And then she did what any ten year old would do: She started turning her big brother into weird things.

He didn’t even see it coming. He was sucked into a glowing rectangle sitting on the couch. But with one abracadabra, he was a llama. Addy didn’t know what llamas sounded like so she gave him an English accent. He exclaimed: “Oh bollocks Addy! Whatever have you done!”

Addy didn’t like that so she made him bark. Not like a dog. She made him bark like a seal. But after two minutes the fun of a llama barking like a seal wore off, so she made him juggle. First she made him juggle two balls, then three, then she threw the cat in for good measure. But after that giggle fit was over she wanted MORE. So she gave him new legs. Half boy/half wolf legs that wore ripped jeans and tap danced. And man, he was killing it. A juggling, tap dancing, llama/half boy/hoy wolf that barked like a seal. What could be better?

Next she made him whip.

And then she made him nae nae.

And then she had the very best idea. She gave him his voice back. But he could only speak to compliment her. He started with, “Addy you’re so smart. Way smarter than me. At everything. In fact, of all the billions of people on earth you’re probably in the top five smartest.” He couldn’t believe what he was saying. And then he said more. “Your room is the coolest even when it’s a disaster. I’m sorry I ever said it was infested with A-Bola which is a disease I totally made up but tried to convince you was real.”

Just for kicks, she took him into the kitchen where he made her a bowl of her favorite soup and generously poured her a ginger ale on the rocks.  She was laughing so hard and so loud she didn’t hear her mom’s car pull up. Luckily, she did hear her keys in the door.

Addy poofed her big brother back into his teenaged body with his teenaged voice and teenaged glowing rectangle. And she made sure he had no memory of the last ten minutes. She quickly tidied up and put the cat back on the bookcase.  And then, her mother walked in.

Addy disappeared down the hall and into her room and shut the door. She hid the magic wand under her pillowcase and collapsed into a puddle of giggling glee. This was just the beginning.

And then, a knock.

“Addy? Are you in there?” asked her mother.

“Yes ma’am.” Addy responded.

“Aunt Margo is on the phone. She wants to talk to you.”

Uh-oh.

She opened the door and took the phone from her mother.

“Hello?”

“Addy!” Aunt Margo screamed, “What have you done?!!!!!”

And just then, the miniature pony sauntered behind her mother and down the hallway.

Addy took and deep breath and swallowed.

She felt like she was going to vomir.


Janet Hill is an artist and illustrator based in Stratford, Ontario. Her debut picture book, Miss Moon: Wise Words from A Dog Governess (read our review HERE), is available now from Tundra / Penguin Random House.

Michael Hall is the author/illustrator of The New York Times bestseller My Heart Is Like a Zoo, as well as the critically acclaimed Perfect Square and Red: A Crayon’s Story. His latest, Frankencrayon, was released by Greenwillow in January. (Read our review HERE.)

Award-winning author and illustrator Kevin Sylvester is the creator of the Neil Flambé series and the recent Kindie Award-winning MiNRS, all from Simon and Schuster. He is based in Toronto, Ontario.

Megan Jean Sovern is the Atlanta, Georgia-based author of the phenomenal middle grade novel, The Meaning of Maggie. (Seriously, you need to read it… Check out our review HERE.)

The Exquisite Corpse was assembled by actor / director David Tompa. You should follow him on Twitter.

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