Having released a three-book sci-fi series last year that focuses on the impending doom of the Earth via a swarm of meteors, Qualicum Beach author G. Michael Smith has turned his focus toward a slightly smaller story.
That of Bernie the banana slug, and what happens when he’s tossed from his home in a strawberry patch.
It’s a story that’s been sitting with Smith for a while, he said, and was inspired by a camping trip with his daughters on the Island.
“We were going for a walk up from the lake and an interesting forested area, and we just came across a whole pile of slugs of various types that were in the woods, and it was just a teaching moment,” said Smith.
“Things grew out of that — the whole concept of a slug being a yucky thing was changed into a slug being a very interesting creature.”
That sentiment is not shared by Mrs. McInyre in Smith’s children’s book, The Accidental Adventures of Bernie the Banana Slug. She’s the owner of the strawberry patch, and the one who flings Bernie into the woods.
That’s the inciting incident that sends Bernie on an adventure to get home, said Smith.
“He lands up in a maple tree and he starts meeting all the other creatures there,” Smith said, all of whom accept Bernie as a matter of course.
“It does give some educational aspects,” said Smith of the book, introducing readers to some possibly unfamiliar creatures of the Pacific Northwest. He adds The Accidental Adventures of Bernie the Banana Slug is a fairly long book, and meant to be read to a child.
The book is not only Smith’s first published children’s book — he also illustrated it himself.
Though Smith had originally sought an illustrator to work with, he eventually chose to learn how to use a computer program called Adobe Illustrator to do the artwork himself.
“It took me quite a long time because it has a steep learning curve,” Smith, a former computer, English and drama teacher, said.
Smith said he’s happy with what he was able to create, and that the book is available on Amazon, and at Mulberry Bush bookstores.