My first picture book, inspired by the movie Jaws?


I suspect the black marker treatment was added long after I had finished the book.

This is the first book I remember making. I have a fairly clear memory of writing and drawing this on the front porch during the summer. Of course, memory being what it is, I probably made it in the middle of winter in my room. But I recall this being the first time I told  a story across multiple pages with some goal in mind.


I gave myself credit as the illustrator on the back cover but obviously no author was involved.

I won’t post the other pages here (no one needs to see all 16 pages!). It is a tad redundant. But I will say the boat makes it through the adventure with only a bit of damage.


The Little Boat faces danger in the story – a shark!

I’ve spent several days thinking about the story. Some odd aspects that I can’t help but think represent some dilemmas I was facing at that moment in my life. For instance, The Little Boat seems overwhelmed at being pushed out to sea alone, his ‘master’ being left behind. He faces dangers and gets tipped over but rights himself. And at the end of the book it says “He was happy.”

When did I make this? Good question.

It was in a big box of ‘Mark’s stuff’ from my folks house. No way to date it, but judging by the writing and spelling, I’d guess 1st or 2nd grade. Remember kids back then (Oh my God, I just talked about my childhood as ‘back then’!) weren’t reading and writing as early as they do today. So I am pretty sure it can’t be much earlier than 1st grade. And I know it wasn’t 3rd grade.

Now the Shark reference in the book makes me think I was aware of the movie Jaws. Which in the summer of 1975 WAS a HUGE summer film (Actually the first of the ‘summer blockbusters’. The genre is considered to have been invented with Jaws.) And my family talked a lot about Jaws because we swam in the river all summer and often fish would bump up against you when you swam which was kind of creepy. So the summer of 1975 seems about right.

And if you are a little boat out at sea – watch out for sharks!



About mfearing

This entry was posted in Blatherings, illustration, kids books, picture books, writing fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to My first picture book, inspired by the movie Jaws?

  1. Very, very cool, and totally excellent– had some real bite! Thanks for sharing one of your first creative voyages! : )

  2. How wonderful to have this book from the earliest point in your career. It makes me wish even more that my parents had kept things from my childhood, writing and drawings. It must be fun to look back at it. Jaws is my favourite movie. I first saw it when I was 7 or 8 and I have loved it ever since, for evolving reasons. It is so cool that the movie inspired you to write and illustrate a book when you were wee.

    • mfearing says:

      I didn’t want to say that in the post but I’m pretty sure my folks took me to the film too. I was allowed to go to a lot of movies, and if I was bored I had to sit still and goto sleep. And my daughter and I love it film now!

      • My parents were totally lax with me when it came to movies. They figured out early on that I had a strong grasp of fiction versus reality and that I could handle thrillers and horror and such like. I was basically allowed to view any movie I was interested in. They were very permissive about content – far more so than I am with my own kids though mine too have seen Jaws.

  3. Wonderful! Yes – this story looks Jaws-inspired. It’s amazing how movies/TV make their way into childhood stories. My first ‘story’ was about the Cosby family. Thanks for sharing, Mark. 🙂

  4. Arp Laszlo says:

    Love it! I remember when that was the de facto paper in school, I have a few things saved on it. It was like a slightly sturdier newsprint.

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