The bold lumpy toad in Our Sunny Day Ride was inspired by a tiny toad that my younger sister and I found hopping around in the bushes underneath the kitchen window one hot summer day.
We already had a turtle named Snipper, a snaggletoothed stray cat called Remington, and three lop-eared bunnies named Leo, Diadora, and MacCarthy, so what was one more creature to call our own? … And Toady was his name.
After passing the little fella back and forth, stroking his stone-gray back and marveling at his smallness, we nestled him into an old shoebox for the night. Imagine our dismay the next morning when Toady did not respond to our rousing cries of “Rise and shine, little pet!” Toady was stone-cold dead.
The beauty of fiction is that the writer can control the story. And so it is that the bold lumpy toad in Our Sunny Day Ride makes it safely to a creek!