The day of the Naming is an important one for young roadrunners. That's when roadrunner parents judge the speed, courage, and hunting skill of their offspring and choose fitting names for them.
One proud fledgling dreams of being named Muscles, or Dash, or even Hunter. If only he hadn't pursued those three juicy grasshoppers for a final snack. If only he'd remembered his parents' lesson: "Always look before you leap." If only he'd paid more attention to the mouse family that had lost two children to a nearby snake. If only the rattler had given some warning before it struck....
Miraculously, the young roadrunner survives the attack, but not without damage. With their son's feet swollen to such an enormous size, his parents have no choice but to give him the humiliating name of Thunderfoot.
It's enough to make a roadrunner wallow in self-pity and give up. But the only thing bigger than Thunderfoot's feet is his heart, and with some not always gentle goading from a wise old gopher tortoise named Berland, he finds the courage to go forward and seek his destiny -- and to become the stuff of legends.
Bill Wallace grew up in Oklahoma. Along with riding their horses, he and his friends enjoyed campouts and fishing trips. Toasting marshmallows, telling ghost stories to scare one another, and catching fish was always fun.
One of the most memorable trips took place on the far side of Lake Lawtonka, at the base of Mt. Scott. He and his best friend, Gary, spent the day shooting shad with bow and arrows, cutting bank poles, and getting ready to go when their dads got home from work.
Although there was no "monster" in Lake Lawtonka, one night there was a "sneak attack" by a rather large catfish tail. Checking the bank poles was not nearly as fun or "free" after that point, but it was the inspiration for this story.
Bill Wallace has won nineteen children's state awards and been awarded the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for Children's Literature from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.