Duke Riley & the Imaginary Kids Book

I’m still knocking around ideas for turning the Duke Riley phenomenon into a kids book. Here’s the latest set-up:

A teenage Duke Riley has just built his first ever submarine — from plastic lard containers thrown away from a potato chip factory.

After a couple of swimming pool tests he convinces a grown-up (wacky ex-hippie Capt. Larry)

(Capt. Larry’s Houseboat.)

to take him to the middle of New York Harbor in his houseboat and dump the sub overboard.

After just a few moments, Duke gives the emergency signal, but a passing cruse ship has created a powerful wake that is rocking the tiny houseboat violently.

Finally,Capt. Larry is able to start hauling on the rope that will bring the sub back to the surface.

 Duke popped out of the hatch and almost tumbled out as it rocked back and forth. He lept for the houseboat and collapsed on the deck damp but not drowned.

 “Capt. Larry! You won’t believe it!”

 “Whoah, dude, was it leaking or what?”

 “Yeah, a little bit, but that wasn’t the problem.”

 “What was it then?”

 “Another sub! A real sub! A military sub!”

 “You mean like the Navy?”
 “Yeah, but not our navy. It looked more like a Karenina Class Russian Prowler, a nuclear sub loaded with electronic eavesdropping equipment, radar, sonar and even the new phazar!”


 “Yeah, Capt. Larry, this is serious! We’ve got to warn somebody!”

 “This seems like a bad time to tell you that we’re sinking.”


Duke Riley: The Children’s Book

I continue to be intrigued by Duke Riley and his recreation of the Turtle and so do others, judging by the continued hits on my original Riley post.

So here’s a take on turning the Turtle into mid-grade Kidlit:

 Since it was my first ride on the Staten Island Ferry I didn’t realize how unusual it was for a tiny submarine to pop out of the water near the boat.

 Even I knew it was unusual, however, when a tiny hatch raised up and a man wearing a old-timey suit starting calling my name!

 “Tabitha! Tabitha Jollyfeet!”

 “Most people call me T.J.,” I yelled back, which was a lie since most people call me Smellyfeet.

 “Hurry, Miss!,” the man called, wobbling as the ferry’s wake almost sank his little submarine. “You’re needed below, immediately!”

 Any idea where this story is headed? Let me know…

Duke Riley – Artist, Patriot, KIDLITTER?

 Normally I try to dissuade people from trying to publish a kids book, but I think this submarine guy could probably cook up something amazing.

A makeshift submarine replica is seen approaching the Queen Marr 2, docked in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Duke Riley, in case you missed it, was the gentleman inside the replica submarine in New York. (It’s that metallic blobby thing in the foreground.)  He was arrested, of course.


It turns out he’s an artist with all sorts of wild, historically grounded ideas. http://www.dukeriley.info Things that involve boats and upsetting the police also seem to rank high on his list.

Duke Riley - The Paul Pierce CollectionDuke Riley - The Paul Pierce Collection

In this picture he’s taking old clothes from a burned out warehouse, which apparently he had to use a raft to get to.(?)

 He also circumnavigated Manhattan…  http://www.dukeriley.info/collaborations_circumnavigate.html (Sorry my link maker isn’t working.)

Seems like he might cook up a book like Octavian Nothing, only weirder. (If that’s possible.)

He has collaborated on a book, called Book, with some far out artwork. But I have a feeling it ain’t for kids.

I’d like to see what he could come up with for fifth-graders.

Of course, the other option would be if someone wrote a book about him “The Man who Sailed Under New York.”