Saturday, September 29, 2012

Phoebe, a North American Wood Elf

"How Phoebe Got Her Name" - digital - 2012, DS

"... It was a small brown bird with a tufted head which, staring straight at her said, "Pheebee! Pheebee! Pheebee!", and then dove straight at the stag beetle.

The bird, of course, was a Phoebe, which is normally a flycatcher and ignores insects which crawl on the ground. But this was a young bird and curious... although, once it saw that it's prey was not really made for dinner, it flew off to its favorite hunting ground, the air. The stag beetle, on the other hand, who was not as dangerous as it appeared, was thrown of its game altogether, and, turning in its tracks, lumbered away as quickly as it could, back to the rotted stump it had come from.

The relieved elf just stared in awe. But, then she felt a familiar stirring in the air above her head, and heard Laura's strange, far-away voice say:
"Well, elf, I think you've just been named. Your name is Phoebe."

And so the birds sang to the wind and the wind whispered to the trees and the trees informed the stars that an elf named Phoebe had come to live in the old forest."

- Excerpt from Chapter 6 of an unpublished children's book  MS - The Tail of the Tail-less Mouse - Copyright 1999, Dia Sobin


Born of a mouse and befriended by a Victorian ghost, Phoebe is one of the mysterious and rarely witnessed denizens of the forest which comprises my back-yard: a North American Wood Elf.

I initially wrote her first story in 1999 as a children's picture book proposal, but the story has expanded into a chapter book for young readers, and I recently finished my first illustration for it (1 of possibly 4 or 5)... see above.

Of course, trying to interest a publisher in a book by a new author (who is not a TV celebrity) is next to impossible these days - with or without a literary agent (and no, I don't have one) - but then, I don't do anything for the express purpose of  financial gain. Obviously. Perhaps, this isn't wise. In fact, I know it isn't... but integrity dies hard. My intuition, however, is that the Phoebe stories - which sprung from my own childhood fascination with the worlds created by known naturalist/authors for young children, Beatrice Potter, Hugh Lofting, and Thornton Burgess - will eventually find their way out into the world. 

That's the one advantage of life in the digital age - digital self-publishing!

(This text replaces the former paragraphs posted here on the original posting date.)


  1. YAY! So good to see you post some of your new work again. Your style is so unique and this works so well.

    Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Bob! Let's just say I'm attempting to post. I think I may have jumped the gun. Still grappling with it. We'll see if I can finish it before I pull it down altogether! ;-)

  2. My first niece was just born - her name is Phoebe AND she looks like a wood elf ;) Have you thought of self publishing?? Then ppl can just order it online and it prints as they order?

    1. Hi Su! How wonderful about your little Phoebe... Phoebe is such a great name!

      I think yours are the first encouraging words I've heard regarding the Phoebe project. As it goes, however, I have a number of projects - all of them vying for attention - and the little Phoebe story is, sadly, currently gathering dust. I will be printing some things shortly though, so this illustration may be available for purchase at some point. Regarding the story, well, you're right, I should self-publish. Will I? It remains to be seen. But, thanks so much for your interest.

      BTW my closest friend has just welcomed a new grandchild into the fold. His name is David. Best of luck and good fortune to all 11/15 babies! :-)

      PS There's a Phoebe doll, too. If you like, I'll post her photo here.