Mommy, What's a SuperSonic?

A new children's book gives parents an easy answer to that thorny question.

Here's a scary thought: Children in Seattle born after 2008 might never know what a Seattle SuperSonic was. Of course, if Chris Hansen and his band of wealthy investors have their way, that might change in the not-too-distant future, but for now the story of the Sonics is left to those who recall the era of green-and-gold b-ball to pass to future generations.

Enter Andrew Gall, a copywriter and creative director at Chicago ad agency Ogilvy & Mather and, more important, creator of the recently e-published (and free) "children's book" Mommy, What's a Seattle Supersonic?

Described by SportsGrid as an "ironic coping mechanism for the zombified masses still in shock over the Sonics' departure," the e-book, which started making small Internet waves late last week, isn't actually intended for children—though its brevity (32 pages), childlike illustrations, and rhymes involving Shawn Kemp dunks and Michael Cage's Jheri curl may find an audience among old and young alike.

"I too relocated from Seattle, in my case a year and a half ago, after the ad firm I was working for closed its doors and I decided to seek other opportunities," says Gall of his Seattle roots. "The fact is, it's pretty sad that kids growing up in Seattle today will literally be asking their parents the question of who the Supersonics were and why they left," he says. "I thought that I could create something that would be a nice way for parents to be able to take a trip down memory lane, through the good and tragic times, at the same time teaching their kids an important civic history lesson about what was among many Seattleites' fondest memories—the Sonics."

Living in Chicago, Gall says many basketball fans he talks to don't know the facts about how the Sonics came to leave Seattle, and that even many real-life Sonics fans—himself included—may have suppressed some of the worst parts of the sad transgression. It's part of what inspired him to take on the "children's" book. "People have short memories about what actually happened. I read a couple comments from folks who don't remember that Kevin Durant actually was drafted by, or even played for, the Sonics. Some people actually think it was lack of fan interest that resulted in the OKC move. Still others here in Chicago actually said to me that they didn't even know the team had relocated, and that the Sonics still existed and were alive and well."

And thus Mommy, What's a Seattle Supersonic? was born.

"I decided to do a quick book that parents could read to their kids, complete with embedded highlight videos from YouTube, to help them remember, or learn about for the first time, Seattle's most beloved sports franchise," says Gall. "A kids' book also made sense because while I've written professionally for several years, I am an absolutely terrible artist, and I realized that anything I tried to draw would look like something a kid would do—so I thought maybe kids would relate to that a little better than something that was drawn with a more skilled hand.

"And I thought making the story into a linear tale that rhymed would be a fun way to explain the history of the Sonics in a way kids would enjoy and relate to. And if I got lucky, maybe a kid would even start to ask if they could hear about Shawn Kemp's 'Lister Blister' dunk every night before bedtime."

We can only hope.

 
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