Q and A: Interview with Rodney Richards

Rodney Richards is at it again with the upcoming release of his new book, Hidden In Snow! This delightful sequel to Hidden On the Prairie series outlining the lives of animals who dwell in cold, snowy regions is full of colorful, vivid descriptions and strong, convincing examples. Today, Rodney has graciously agreed to take part in an interview about his new book.

Tell us, Rodney, what was the inspiration for Hidden In Snow?

Richards: I was on a vacation in Hawaii when I suddenly realised that all of my previous books had focussed on animals in warmer climates. So I was talking with a friend of mine and he said, "Rodney, why don't you write about Antarctica?"

Interesting. I seem to remember from past interviews that you like being on the exact location you are writing about. Did you settle down in Antarctica for a few months while you wrote your book?

Richards: No, I hate cold weather. I visited the San Francisco Zoo instead, because I figured that most of the animals would be the same anyways. It was a lot cheaper, too.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Richards: You see, I've always admired alligators - their impressive wingspan, and sharp beaks - so I thought it was only fitting to make them sort of like the main characters in my book. I designed Hidden In Snow with more of a plot than my previous books, so that children would be more drawn into it and possibly pick up a few more scientific facts than they would have otherwise.

You mentioned a story plot.

Richards: The basic plot involves an alligator who is sad because he hasn't grown his wings yet. He goes around and meets other animals who are sad too, including a frog that hasn't grown his tongue yet, a rabbit that hasn't grown its scales yet, and an anaconda that is sad because he's the only one in his family who hasn't grown a fur coat yet. By the end of the story, children will have met every kind of species existing in Antarctica, as well as the species' habitat, eating habits, lifestyle, etc.

It sounds like a classic plot many writers have used to teach children about animals. Did you feel bad about using a stereotype?

Richards: [laughs] I'm not a typist or anything, so I wasn't worried about what font my book would use.

Uh, right. Do you do have any plans for writing books to follow this one?

Richards: Well, you see, I've been thinking about the other books I've written and how they all have to do with animals in natural settings, but there are so many other animals out there that live in unnatural settings, and I figured they needed some recognition, too. This book was a step towards that direction, because snow can be created artificially, but plants - real, living plants - can't be. So when I chose a setting like a prairie or a forest, I surrounding my characters with natural things. When I'm writing about a snowy region, it could mean anything from Antarctica to the pile of artificial snow outside of an ice-hockey rink.

So you want your next book to take place outside of a hockey rink?

Richards: I've been thinking about doing something like that. After all, I'm sure hardly anyone pays any attention to what lives in the snow outside their hockey rinks; I'm sure that a book on the topic would instantly become a best-seller, because it would be the only book on the topic.

What does live in discarded hockey-rink snow?

Richards: Well, in order to determine that, we would have to go talk about the sport a little bit, and I'll tell you why in a moment. In a hockey rink, one team throws a ball into a big basket hanging from the wall, and the other team whacks it with a bat. For some reason, people get very excited when this happens and drop the popcorn they're eating all over the rink. When the rink is cleaned later on, the discarded popcorn and a pile of injured bats are pushed outside with the snow. Therefore -

Excuse me a moment; where are the injured bats from?

Richards: From the game. After all, do you expect a bat to survive a whack against a huge ball? Most of the bats end up with broken wings, at the very least.

I see. Go on.

Richards: Therefore, bats and anything that eats popcorn - from whales to mosquitoes - can be found burrowing in the snow outside of a hockey rink. As you might imagine, this wide range of animals offers a good platform for a book.

I understand. We're running low on time here, so perhaps you should state your mission to my readers and say goodbye.

Richards: Somehow I think I'm being pushed out of here.... My mission is to educate the young and the old on matters concerning zoology and other sciences that are necessarily involved with my stories. My mission is to show the world that research is only an option, that so much can be achieved in a matter of months.

Rodney Richards is a brilliant author of books about science for elementary school-aged children. Among his many works is his most famous book, Hidden on a Prairie, a book about prairie life. The thirty-two year old claims to have written it in only two months, with absolutely no research. The quality of the writing is unbelievably excellent, and has won him a place in every child's heart, besides nationally acclaimed fame from teachers all across the country.

Disclaimer: Please note that all content above is fictional; any resemblance to reality is accidental. Thank you!


A Letter to the White House....

Dear Mr. President Obama,

It is highly improbable that you will ever read this, much less know of its existence, but if by some odd chance you do see this, I hope, that as a young American and one of the uprising generation, my opinion will not be overlooked.

My letter to you involves the topic of space travel and the way in which it is achieved. I realise that there are two ways of confronting this subject, the first being the emotional sob-story way, and the other being the hard-worn path of logic. Since I can not make up my mind which to use, I will use them both.

First, for as long as I can remember, I have held a certain fascination for outer space, and it has been a constant dream of mine to become an astronaut and some day walk on other planets. It was only recently that I discovered that not only has the future of an astronaut become a series of monotonous missions to the ISS, but that even this routine task is to become accomplished by an expensive contract with a foreign power.

Mr. President, where is the joy of exploration and the thrill of doing that which no man before has done when one is performing experiments in a crowded satellite with no assurance that the knowledge being gained will ever be put to use in the capacity it is meant for - namely, the exploration of outer space? And now, even the excitement of doing something for America is dashed in view of the fact that it is done in utter reliance upon a foreign power.

Secondly - and this view I will break up into several different points - there is the logical view. There are several components to this view, including that of national security and - on a more global scale - that of the good of humanity.

The first point, that of national security, refers back to the total dependence on foreign powers. While I am fully aware that a contract with another nation may be more cost effective, I am also aware of the risk involved in such a venture. If, and I say if, our relations with the other nation became other than friendly, not only is our entire means of transportation in outer space obliterated, but also the lives of American astronauts could be endangered, and the other nation would hold a high military advantage over us.

I say the latter because if space travel is possible, why not a moonbase? And if a nation has no qualms about breaking a contract, what is to prevent them from building a large piece of military equipment capable of firing at any point in the USA from outer space? I realise, of course, that this is a very politically incorrect possibility to discuss, but even if it is not discussed, is it wise to dismiss it as impossible?

Secondly, on the grounds of the good of humanity, it has been suggested by some that the over-population of planet Earth, or some global tragedy such as an epidemic, could threaten our home planet and make it unable to sustain life. Although I have my own reasons to believe that such a things are highly improbable, they are, nonetheless, possibilities I think a world leader ought to consider.

If such a tragedy were to occur, would it not be logical to have another place to go that the human race be preserved? And if so, then the fact remains that we need to find that place. If planet Earth were to be destroyed, the only other logical place would be another planet, and the only means of discovering such a planet and learning to survive on it is to send manned-missions to other planets and conducting experiments there.

As a Christian, which I believe you have professed to be, you must know that one of the great things about being a Christian is the assurance that such a global tragedy will not occur unless it be the will of God. You will also know, however, that as we make new scientific discoveries, we learn more about our God - His orderly organization of creation and His love of beauty. He has told us to "subdue the earth," and by delving into the mysteries of creation, on this planet and beyond, we learn more principles of the universe, and thus practical applications of those principles, thereby subduing the earth more fully.

Lastly, I appeal to your sense of national pride. America has a history of people repeatedly demonstrating perseverance and determination; it became a world power as a result. You have proven your own perseverance in many ways throughout your term in office. How can you simply sign over one of our nations greatest achievements to a foreign power and tell NASA to do something other than the space travel it was created to do?

Thank you for taking the time to read through this lengthy note, and thank you for your continued leadership of this nation. Although I personally do not agree with all of your policies and ideals, I am grateful for your efforts and will continue to pray for you.



Dear Pop,

Tell me, how long did you long
To finally see your Savior?
How often did you wish
That this life would soon be over?

Tell me, what was it like to die?
A brief moment when you saw
Your life go flashing by -
Your confusion suddenly gone?

Tell me, what is Heaven like?
That sweet, blessed place...
We have whispers here on Earth
In every moment of joy.

Tell me, what is our Savior like?
Did you stand in awe of His glory?
Did you finally feel satisfied
As you cried with the angels, "Holy! Holy!"?

I know you're gone for now...
I know you're ever so happy
And some day I'll see you again.
How long will I long for that day?

Copyright Curious Cognitive Content - April 5, 2010