How Did Archie Come To Life?
How Did Archie Come To Life?
I was driving our family (my wife and three small children) up to Sequoia National Park in California and the kids were getting more fidgety by the minute. When this happened, I would often start to sing a little song to get everyone to stop thinking of how long the drive had been and how uncomfortable our old Chevy station wagon was.
But for some reason on that day as I was driving up the hill to the park entrance, I started singing and what came out was: “Artichoke, you’re a funny bloke.” I think it surprised me more than anyone else but undoubtedly it was a result of my wife and I trying to educate our kids on the attributes of eating vegetables.
The lyrical line was easy to sing and from there I wrote more lyrics to finish what eventually became known as The Artichoke Song. After that, I wrote a song about a silly dance I used to do with my kids around the house and it became known as Archie’s Dance Tune.
The Artichoke Song stayed as is for several years, but eventually I wrote a set of rhymes based upon each line of the song. Later yet, I wove the set of rhymes into a complete story about a dynamic garden full of vegetables and their engaging leader, Archie Artichoke. Once illustrations were added by my friend and neighbor, Brett Bednorz, this story became my first book called: The Big Show.
I’m afraid The Adventures of Archie Artichoke books weren’t completed in time for my own children to enjoy, but the timing has been perfect for my grandchildren who have become big Archie Artichoke fans. I’ve added a few additional songs that children can easily sing and with the help of several special friends, created this website and began publishing books.
So that’s the story of the evolution of Archie Artichoke. It’s definitely been a labor of love and I sincerely hope you and your children enjoy the stories, rhymes, and songs.
Lastly, I’d love to hear from you with suggestions and comments, if you care to write.
Take care and my best regards,
T. A. Kuepper
About The Author
T. A. (Ted) Kuepper is an environmental engineer with a deep appreciation for nature and the environmental challenges we face today. In his career, he has been the managing director of a seawater desalination test facility for the US Navy, and executive director of a nonprofit humanitarian organization. His non-profit work was focused on supplying safe water to rural villages in developing countries, and as a result, he has traveled to some of the world's most remote locations, helping to supply water during natural disasters.
As the “How Did Archie Come to Life” story above describes, his writing about vegetable characters started quite by “accident” and was undoubtedly the result of his wife and him educating their children on the rewards of eating vegetables. Ted is glad to say that his efforts to introduce vegetables to his kids in a fun way worked beautifully! He believes it’s important to reinforce vegetable-friendly eating habits to children through positive stories. But his illustrated chapter books are more than simple stories about vegetables as each one is written to help children develop their imagination through the visual imaging dialogue used by his vegetable characters. In addition, the stories have positive messages and contain a variety of child-friendly rhymes and songs, while striving to teach children about:
Making good decisions;
Accomplishing a difficult task and solving problems;
Working with others to achieve a common goal;
Caring, helping others, friendship; and
and of course, the names of many important vegetables!
Soon after beginning to write about Archie Artichoke, he wrote a song about a little dance he did with his kids around the house, and its title became “Archie’s Dance Tune.” You may recognize its melody since it’s borrowed from the military cadence song “I don’t know, but I’ve been told…” Ted was in the Marine Corps during the 1960’s, and that particular song made a lasting impression on him as it was sung during the many exercises that all Marines endure during training.
One last thing – Ted donates the Adventures of Archie Artichoke books to children’s hospitals throughout the United States, and profits generated by the books are shared with children’s hospitals and other healthcare organizations. This is an important motivational force that drives him to try to expand his veggie character’s popularity.