Steve Senn’s Spirituality
I was about 11 years old when I discovered the book Spacebread by Steven Senn about a cat that traveled through space and had all kinds of cool adventures. It was his adventures that inspired my pretend games of space travel. My mom would be inside the Laundromat doing laundry and I would go out to the old Chevy Nova we had and pretend it was a space ship. I’d shove a tape into the tape deck and pull down the visor and pretend that I had maps and star charts up on a screen. From there I would re-enact many of the scenes from the book where Spacebread uncovers a plot to dominate the planet Ralph while she goes in search of her stolen belt buckle.
That same year I read another novel by Steve Senn called A Circle in the Sea. In the book a 13-year-old girl with problems adjusting to her new school enters an undersea world through the power of a ring, becomes a dolphin and aids the whales in retaliating against slaughter by whalers. This led me to pretend to turn into a dolphin every time I went swimming that summer. I’d make high pitch noises underwater and close my eyes. I found that I could tell by how loud or soft the noise was how close or far away I was from the wall of the pool. It was not an exact science, but still a lot of fun to try and master. Then my friends and I would try to find each other in the water using the echo-location techniques we’d practiced. It was kind of hit and miss, but it gave us a little bit of a sense of direction. I thought it would be awesome to really be able to transform and see what it was like to be a dolphin.
Anyway, there were other young adult titles by Senn besides Spacebread and A Circle in the Sea including: Ralph Fozbek and the Amazing Black Hole Patrol, Loonie Louie Meets the Space Fungus, , Born of Flame, Sand Witch, and In the Castle of the Bear. Oscar Steve Senn has also written some award winning adult short stories, including: “The Blood of Eden,” “The Wall,” “The Unexpected Guest,” and “Squeeby Rolic.” I’ve not read any of these, because my local library didn’t own any of them. I didn’t even realize he’d written others until I began to research him as an adult.
His first book The Double Disappearance of Walter Fozbek was adapted for an animated special on the Emmy nominated CBS Storybreak, hosted by Captain Kangaroo himself, Bob Keeshan. The story is about a boy who wakes up in a different universe that is exactly like his own except everything that was Human is now Dinosaur.
I couldn’t find much about him, but I do know that Oscar Steve Senn is an executive/designer, illustrator and an author. He was born in Americus, Georgia in 1950 and was raised in Dawson. He went to school at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. He worked for The Florida Times-Union and the Miami Herald newspapers as an illustrator. He also worked as an Art Director in Jacksonville, Florida.
Oscar Steve Senn obviously has a very vivid imagination and is a very talented writer. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of spirituality seeping through his words and because of that I always felt a particular affinity toward the two books of his I read. I made sure to get copies of them for my own personal libraries so I could share them with my own kids.