In 1988 Scholastic Canada held a contest where I was the prize. The class that wrote the best sort of ‘invitation’ would win me. Lots of places from all over Canada entered the contest and I ended up being won by Anita Olpalka’s grade 2 from Stewart, British Columbia. I thought it was really neat that Stewart was a very isolated town at the end of a long dead end road that was often closed by avalanches. Anita arranged for me to stay with 2 families whose kids were in her class. They were chosen by lottery. I was looking for stories and wanted lots of local contact. I made up three stories while I was there and was almost got killed by an avalanche. NO CLEAN CLOTHES was one of the stories and it was NOT about one of the families I was staying with. It happened quite by chance because a kid named Lacey Clark came to school wearing a shirt that said “Kiss Me! I’m Perfect”. Since the school could not go out for recess because there were three Grizzly Bears on the playground, I made up a story about Lacey walking to school and getting kissed by lots of the local animals like bears and wolves and moose and caribou (NEAT!!) and finally by a boy (YUCK!!). Lacey is now 15 and lives in Smithers BC. I went to her HIGH SCHOOL and launched the book. Lacy invited a lot of little kids to the High School, so I did a big storytelling to little kids and high school kids at the same time. All the buildings in the book are real buildings from Stewart, BC and Michael also hid an elephant in the book. Michael is definitely going crazy. There are LOTS of animals in Stewart, but I definitely did not see any elephants.
No Clean Clothes
Written by Robert Munsch.
Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Published by Scholastic Canada, 2006.