Thursday, October 11, 2007

Picture Book Thursday

So yesterday I was at the library and I thought I'd snag some picture books for Prawn. How can I accurately describe the mood in which that put me? I'll try by saying that I would LOVE to find books that are real STORIES that I want to read to my five-year-old for the purpose of enjoyment, as opposed to thinly veiled MESSAGES. But I'm afraid that the Otts Children's Publishing Theme Song would be "We're Bringin' Didact Back." :-P

I can't tell you how unlikely it is that if you pull a random book out of the hundreds on our library's shelves it will be an actual story book. I'm fed up with "Little Johnny is Sad," and "Merwin Recycles a Can." I've had it with "Hattie's Grandma Got Diagnosed With Cancer and then Got Run Over by a Bus," and "Jory Ate a Day-Old Chicken Sandwich and Died." Enough, please of "Charles Was Petrified of Going to School, but it Turned Out not to Kill Him After All," and "The Dentist is My Friend in Spite of all the Horrifying Instruments of Torture He Keeps On Hand" and "Harry Finds a Dead Frog," and "My Fish Died, but He Makes Great Fertilizer."

Granted, there is a time and a place for some of these, but more often than not, parents are looking for something to read that will delight their little ones and feed their imaginations -- something that makes their kids giggle or "oooh" and "aah," and then run off to build castles and dance with fairies and paint pictures and pretend they can fly. And also preferably something they can read more than once without barfing. This is getting increasingly harder to do.

So I was delighted yesterday to find "I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean." It's a simple book with a great punchline and a couple of cute little gags for the visually observant. It made all my kids laugh, and BG and me, too. I found a few others that look Less Than Awful as well. I'll keep you posted.


armalicious said...

"Hattie's Grandma Got Diagnosed With Cancer and then Got Run Over by a Bus,"

That made me choke on my cupcake. I hear you though...some of these books that my nieces are reading in their 1st & 2nd grade classes worry me. I agree that there is a time and place, but come on. Kids don't need floofy fluffy picture book stories to prepare them for life. Life isn't floofy and fluffy, so people should try to soften it for kids like they seem to do a lot lately. Maybe that's a little harsh of me being a non-parent and all, but oh well. There needs to be more delight and feeding of imaginations when it comes to story time. Save the life lessons for another venue.

On another note. I hurt yesterday. But I hurt worse today. How does it work like that? I had fully planned on going back to tkd tonight, but upon getting out of bed, I realized that that would be a bad idea. So I have to wait until next Tuesday (due to my own schedule conflicts). I want to go back tonight, but my body is kind of freaking out and I have a lot of walking I need to do on SAturday and if I go tonight I have a feeling I'll be even worse come I'm going to take it a bit easy. But I really do enjoy it so far. Hurting muscles and all. It really is a good kind of a hurt.

armalicious said...

shouldn't...they shouldn't try and soften it. Grr to typos.

Candace said...

That's funny, cuz I read it was "shouldn't" anyway. :)

Yeah, it's annoying.

Oh yeah, day 2 is always worse for the hurting. Surprisingly, if you go back when it hurts, it will help. Loosens things back up I guess.

Also, a soak in a nice ot bath after class is a Good Thing. With Mr. Arm is even better. Well, I'm guessing about that. I do it with MuNKi, personally. ^_^

Candace said...

Hot, not ot, of course. :-P

Winters said...

I agree very much with you on the unsubtle "messages" issue, C.

I mean, when feeding animals at the park, is it really necessary to spear whole baguettes with pitchforks and shove them into the ducks'faces?



Claire said...

YES! -couldn't agree more. The other prevalent message books are full of PC crapola. It is truly annoying. Gimme back my Green Eggs and Ham, Good Dog Carl, Go, Dog, Go and Goodnight Moon.

Candace said...

Winters - Exactly, Winters! Exactly!

Claire - OMG it is getting SO OLD!! OK, so a few here and there - fine! I can see the niche market. But NOT EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN' BOOK please!!!! Sigh.

I can't decide which I hate more, the ones thinly disguised as a story, or the ones that don't even bother to try. :-P

Michael C said...

I think you need to start writing children's books. Or at least do the titles. I would volunteer my services, but if my 5 year olds are any indication, my humor is over youngsters heads...and unfortunately over most adults' as well.

I think I will get the ocean book. You have me very intrigued!!

Jay said...

You know, you're pretty brilliant. I love how it just sneaks up on me - I think I'm just reading about crappy kids' books, but your wry intelligence just slaps me in the mouth!

Candace said...

Michael - You know, I look at the crap on the shelves and I have to seriously wonder why some of mine haven't been published. Maybe I'll do one of Picture Book Titles. ^_^ Seriously though, it's really frustrating to have your baby come back with a standard rejection letter, looking like it was never actually flipped through, and then see something like "Jake the Acoholic Rake" out there. :-P

At least my smut sells. ^_^

Jay - You are too kind. I am, after all, just griping about crappy children's books. ^_^

radioactive girl said...

My 7 year old and I want to write a children's book and we both agreed when we began that it had to NOT have a message to it, and just be fun. It sounds like you have written some before and know where to send them to and how to do you mind sharing that info with me?

Candace said...

That's AWESOME! :)

Two of the best things you can do are to get a Market Guide like this or this

and join the SCBWI

The books tell who is looking for what, who accepts unsolicited, unagented manuscripts, and all that stuff. They usually have info about writing cover letters, too.

Manuscript format is important, and can be found all over the web at pages like this.

That said, I've had a kids' story published in a magazine, but not yet had a book accepted. I'm finding that it really, really helps to know the right people. It's tough to break out of the slush pile.

There's good info here.

Good luck!!

Candace said...

Oh and THIS is supremely depressing, yet helpful.

radioactive girl said...

You are so awesome! Thank you! When I get done cleaning up puke (sorry for that visual) I will check out the places you linked.

tshsmom said...

I LOVE your titles!

Michael C said...

Uh, you write smut? I have missed something ;-)

How about a children's book title called 'Whiny kids end up in dungeons so their daddy can watch NASCAR' I swear it's not autobiographical. Ok, well it was last night.