Books > Matthew's Truck
Vroom! Matthew's Truck travels up high hills and down steep cliffs, on smooth roads and bumpy ones. Come along for the ride!
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The Story Behind Matthew's Truck
Matthew’s Truck is a family story. One evening my husband returned home after visiting his brother and family. He reported on our nephew, then about three: “Matthew sleeps with his truck.”
I knew right away that would make a great story, but I didn’t get it right the first time. When I began to write the story, it was more of an argument—Matthew wants to sleep with his truck but Mom wants him to sleep with bear. Matthew wants to sleep with his truck but Mom wants him to sleep with kitty. You get the idea.
When I shared this version with my writer’s group they all groaned. “Tear it up. You can do better.” The problem with that draft of the story was that Mom took over. As in real life, when you give grownups too much of a role in a story, they tend to take charge and run the show. What kid wants to read about that?
I put the idea away for a while and then my sister-in-law sent me a photo of Matthew and me, playing truck. It was after dinner and we were sitting on the floor, running the truck under a footstool. “Hiding,” Matthew said, as the pushed the truck under. “Found it!” I replied.
Once I saw that photograph, I knew exactly how to write the story. Matthew and his truck would have all sorts of adventures and they would sound like they happened in the big world, but in fact they all happened in the house. So it’s a story about pretending, which the real Matthew enjoyed, and so do I. Pretending is what writers do when we make up stories.
Hideko Takahashi’s art brought the story to life. And she added a new character—a mischievous cat. I had imagined the deep dangerous lake as the bathtub, but the artist had a better idea. Because of that cat, the lake became a fish tank. Yum! Mom is still in the story, but she’s mostly in the background now. And Matthew? He’s the one in the driver’s seat. Where he belongs. And at the end—yep, he still sleeps with his truck.