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Once upon a time, there was a rabbit. No...Not a rabbit. Lewis Carroll already did that… How about an Amazonian river dolphin. Ok. once upon a time there was an Amazonian river dolphin who wondered about his cousins in the wide, open ocean, free from mud and muck and strangling roots. 

Hey - It’s not much, but it’s a start. Think back to any story you really loved as a child. Chances are, it starts with a tiny thread like this one. After that, it's up to the courage, imagination, and perseverance of the storyteller to write it, rewrite it, and get it out into the world, with all the perspiration that entails. 

My guest today, Jacob Sager Weinstein, has pulled this trick off brilliantly. He's the author of a smart, funny, utterly charming adventure trilogy for kids, the first book of which is called HYACINTH AND THE SECRETS BENEATH. It weaves together a semi-mythical history of London with details like a giant boar who communicates by handing out elegantly printed cards appropriate to any occasion, including if the Queen of England happens to spill peanut butter on your pet electric eel.

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

Andre C. Willis on the real meaning of hope, Michelle Thaler on the next stage in human evolution

Jacob Sager Weinstein quote: This is just one children’s author’s opinion, but the only thing kids should be learning from books is that books are awesome. So if your kid is reading Captain Underpants at an age when you were reading Dostoyevsky—or whatever it is you think you were doing when you were that age—just let them read Captain Underpants! Because a kid who takes joy in reading now may one day take joy from reading Dostoyevsky. But a kid who learns that books are sort of this bad tasting medicine . . . will never get there.

About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.