December 16, 2002
Banana slug inspires new childrens book
dedicated to UCSC campus mascot
By Scott Rappaport
A chance encounter with a banana slug on a rainy-day visit to UCSC has
inspired the plot of a brand-new childrens book dedicated to the
|Sally Slug looks at a day in the life of
a banana slug family.
Sally Slug, written by Anne Neufeld Levin and illustrated by
Patricia Rebele, explores a day in the life of a colorful banana slug
family that lives beneath the redwoods on the UCSC campus.
Young Sally, her brother Stanley, and their parents, Mugg and Pugg,
slide into some sticky situations in a story that comes complete with
its own special "slug" terminology.
"Stanley is supposed to slug-sit for Sally while her
parents attend the Cowell Creek Banana Slug Derby," explained Levin,
"but he shirks his duties and Sally slips away into the forest.
Sally meets another slug from the other side of the mountain named Daisy.
They become best friends and are rescued from their misadventure by
a wonderful frog named Umphy."
"It all ends very happily with a celebratory picnic," Levin
All proceeds from the book will benefit the UCSC Foundation and will
provide for art history purchases and Special Collections exhibits in
the University Library.
"The banana slug was voted Best College Mascot by Sports Illustrated
some years back, and many people have said its a shame that more
hasnt been written about slugs," Levin noted. "This
all started as an exciting way to do something creative for us and bring
a little benefit to the university."
Levin is a UCSC Foundation past president and has served as a trustee
for 15 years. She endowed the Neufeld Levin Chair in Holocaust Studies
in 1995, further supported by her familys archive in Special Collections
of the University Library. Levin and her husband, Paul, have been strong
supporters of the university, contributing to a wide variety of programs
and organizations including scholarships, the Long Marine Laboratory,
the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community, and research in the
natural sciences. She has been a Santa Cruz resident for almost four
Rebele is a graduate of Porter College at UCSC, where she and her husband,
Rowland, endowed the Rebele Chair in Art History in 1996. They have
supported numerous community arts organizations over the years, including
Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Cabrillo Music Festival, and the Santa Cruz
Symphony. Rebele studied at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and
enjoys doing watercolors in her travels. A longtime resident of Aptos,
she has served as a trustee of the UCSC Foundation for nine years.
Levin showed Rebele her story after seeing snapshots of some paintings
that Rebele had completed on a recent trip to Morocco.
"Pat came into this by a wonderful accident," Levin recalled.
"I asked her to look at the story and within a week, she gave me
a few sketches that brought tears to my eyes. She had painted the characters
exactly as I had pictured them. She actually brought them to life."
The book contains more than 20 bright, whimsical watercolors detailing
the slug familys adventure in the forest surrounding the UCSC
campus. Rebele mused on why the slug is such an appealing character.
"I think the bright yellow color appeals to kids," she said.
"For little children, banana slugs are small and not frightening
at all. And of course, its such an unusual mascot for a university.
And these slugs have personalities of their own. A child can use his
imagination and make up his own story about where a slug lives and what
his family is like."
Sally Slug will be available in local bookstores beginning on
December 16. To order copies, e-mail
or call UCSCs Bay Tree Bookstore at (831) 459-4544.
Return to Front Page