A note from Sophie Hirschfeld: Kitty Mervine is working on a project that is important to the skeptic community. She needs our help and asked permission to post her plea here on SheThought. I ask that you help her in whatever large or small way you can. She has been tremendously generous to the skeptic community and this is yet another example of her generosity and thoughtfulness. please do your best to help her. Her humble plea follows:
There is a joke that if Richard Dawkins wrote a book of fairy tales it was start, “A long time ago in a rational kingdom far far away, nothing magical ever happened.” We all know Richard Dawkins has written a wonderful work of non fiction for children. indeed, there are many excellent works of non fiction for the skeptic parent to choose from for their child. still, there seems to be a lack of skeptic fiction for very young children. I decided to help rectify that last year by writing a work of skeptic fiction for ages 3-10. the response was so positive that this year decided to write a second book for ages 3-10.
“Fairy tales, Fairly Told” is a skeptic take on classic fairy tales. “Jack and the Magic Beans”, “The ugly Duckling” and “The Pied Piper” get a new skeptic twist. Original stories, such as “Elephant Evolution” and “Otterly-Impossible” (which follows), are also included. the artwork is by the very talented young artist Noah Whippie. Noah is a big fan of the skeptic movement, and offered to do the illustrations for free. I decided that a goal of mine would be not only to raise enough for the printing of the book, but to give him a fair payment. Noah’s talent and time is deserving of a paycheck.
How you can help, if you wish, is to please make a pay pal donation to , or to contact me at . any amount is welcome. It costs a lot of money to self publish (I currently use Lulu). It’s amazing how much just the shipping costs can be. Shipping costs can be $80 on only $500 worth of books. I try to use promotion codes and sales to keep costs down. I really need your help to make “Fairy tales Fairly Told” a reality. also, if you can’t help out, but would like a copy of either of my books, please email and ask. I’ll be glad to ship a copy of “Zigge and Lisa” (my first book) or “Fairy tales, Fairly Told” when it is published.
My husband has kindly taken on the cost of all postage (no matter where you live in the world).
My first book was given out at the CSI children camp, and I hope to have enough copies to donate books again this year. anyone that wants a copy of either of my books will receive it. I ask people to donate what they can, so I can print more. But no one is ever turned down that asks for a book. It’s not about making money, it’s about helping educate our youngest skeptics!
I often hear people say “Well I want my child to make up her own mind, I don’t want her indoctrinated like I was with religion.” My own personal feeling, raising my two skeptic daughters, was “My Catholic neighbors on one side is indoctrinating their children about their family values and beliefs. My Mormon neighbors on the other side is indoctrinating their children about their values and beliefs. I had better start teaching my children about the values and beliefs our family holds.” yes, skeptic families do have values and beliefs. Tolerance, critical thinking, questioning, and the value of education are just a few. I think “Fairy tales, Fairly Told” can be one way for families to make sure their children know what being a critical thinker is, and why being a skeptic is so important.
It should be noted these stories have all been tested on the age group 3-10. They aren’t written for adults. one criticism is that animals talk. however, most children in this age group are reading books in which animals talk, and they still don’t believe Fido is going to suddenly get up and say “hey want to take me for a walk?”. Children like talking animals, so in my books, animals talk.
If you would like to help get what I hope is an important tool for the skeptic family out to the public, please donate. And if you make a donation, please let me know who you are and an address so I can make sure you get a copy as soon the book is printed! (probably early May, since Noah is working as hard as he can on the illustrations!)
I hope you enjoy this small taste from the book.
Once upon a time, there were three otters. These otters were brothers, and they lived in Scotland. now, usually otters do not have names. They just call each other “otter.” But these three Scottish otters all had names. That’s because whenever they went swimming together they would hear people crying out, “Oh look! It’s Loch, Ness, Monster!” the otters, who lived in a large lake called “Loch Ness” (Loch means lake in Scotland), assumed that the humans were calling them by name.
“Och,” said Loch, “Humans are a wee bit daft! But if they wanna give me a name like Loch, I suppose it’s all right.” Ness and Monster thought their names were a wee bit daft also, but having their own names did make things much easier. They remembered when all the otters were named “otter”; it made things very confusing. one otter would say “Otter,” and all the others would answer “yes?” now if Loch wanted to talk to Ness, and not Monster, he could just say “Ness.” if Monster wanted to talk to Loch, he could just say “Loch.”
What the otters didn’t know was that the humans were not calling the otters by name. Instead the humans were very confused. Otters, when they swim, often swim in a row. so Loch would lead, and Ness and Monster would follow behind. Usually Loch would poke his head up to keep an eye on where they were going. Ness and Monster could just keep their heads down following Loch and trusting that he knew where they were going.
Also, the Scottish otter brothers liked to swim early in the morning when it was foggy out. Sometimes they also liked to swim about in the early evening hours. They liked to be on the lake when it was quiet, without a lot of dangerous boats.
One day Loch, Ness and Monster decided to go on vacation to the United States to visit their cousins. Their cousins lived in Lake Champlain, which is part of the state of Vermont. the Scottish otters flew across the Atlantic and met their cousins at the airport. Loch, Ness and Monster were quick to relate how they now had real, if slightly daft, names. the American otters just laughed and said, “come with us!”
Soon all the otters were having a lovely time on Lake Champlain. the American otters then said, “swim with us in a line and see what happens!” the otters all made a long swimming line and soon people on the shore were shouting. “It’s Champy! It’s a really long, giant Champy!” they cried. the American otters turned to their Scottish cousins and said “see, we have names also!” the Scottish otters thought the names “Champ” and “Pete” were wonderful.
“I wonder if all lake otters have been named by humans?” Champ said. They all decided that, for their next vacation, they would fly up to visit their second cousins in Canada at Lake Ogopogo and find out.