Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

RTW – Classics with a Twist! And a pea green boat!


This week’s topic: In honor of this month’s Bookmobile book, Marissa Meyer’s CINDER, name a fable or story you’d like to see a retelling of. If you’re feeling creative, come up with a premise of your own!

I love (LOVE!) classics with a twist, so much so that I devote an entire month each year to reading them. So imagine my surprise when I tried to answer the question and all I could think of was:


Okay, that’s not entirely true, I did consider old Appalachian murder ballads turned into novels (like Sharyn McCrumb’s “The Ballad of Tom Dooley“), but that seemed sorta morbid.

Then, I was doing a crossword puzzle one night before bed – you know, in one of those large print books you get near the registers at the grocery store, since I’m apparently 80 – and the clue was “The _________ and the Pussycat.”

I went hmmm.

This poem may or may not be the reason I have had a lifelong fascination with both owls and cats. I went to a presentation once about owls and pretty much spent the entire time beaming and taking photos. I’m surprised they didn’t throw me out.

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.

(image source – is it just me or does the cat look super shady?)

What if they weren’t really an owl and a cat, but genetically altered people? Or like X-Men type mutants? An assassin who can fly is ordered to kill a cat-girl. No clue why, haven’t thought that far ahead. But he can’t do it and they escape in a green boat to an island, where they encounter various helpful people along the way – Wiggy, the grifter with multiple facial piercings, and Watt, the twitchy guy who lives on the hill.

Fun facts I read on Wikipedia about the poem:

It was the inspiration for X and Henrietta in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

My older brother is genius smart and wears glasses, so kid-me always thought of him as looking owlish. I used to talk to him in the Henrietta voice, “Meow, can we, meow, go outside and, meow, play?” Which drove him nuts and his exasperation made him even more like X. It was fun. For me, at least.

And apparently, in one of the Winnie-the-Pooh movies, Owl mentions a relative who went to sea with a cat. Owl is my 2nd fave Pooh character, behind Rabbit.

So what about you? What fable/story would you like to see retold?


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

4 thoughts on “RTW – Classics with a Twist! And a pea green boat!

  1. I like this idea of a genetically altered owl and pussycats. You know, I love both owls and cats and it never occurred to me that this poem might partly be why.

  2. I love the poem. I haven’t seen it in a long time, or I might have only read an excerpt. The classics, even with a twist, take me to another time.

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