My son has just now grasped his first two clear words… Dada, and Mama. Truth be told he’s said them both for a while, but in the last few weeks it has a lucid connection to the appropriate people. (“Dada” has been a blanket term for any male or picture of me for quite some time… now…it’s just used for me. A nice change). So it’s obvious that he can’t read yet. But I think his personal library is far larger than mine.
We’re thrilled that our son is so fascinated by books, and he often grabs them and sits, happily flipping through each page and speaking in gibberish. He understands the concept, he just has no vocabulary or actual retention. Supposedly this is a good sign at this age… as opposed to doing it later in life when it involves help from people in lab coats.
All of this mock-reading has exposed me to all kinds of children’s books. And as a writer I’ve been struck by the fact that writing for children is mostly inane and completely lacking in an actual writing talent. Suddenly I understand why random celebrities become moms and then make the talk show circuit as a “new children’s author”. It’s like getting your driver’s license and then going around calling yourself a race driver… operating at the lowest level doesn’t make you an expert.
Don’t believe me? Let’s break down the basic tenants of literature available for the under 3 reader. Pages as thick as a laptop. Bright colors. A story which can be broken into simple sentences and mentions the following: Animals. Colors. Body parts. Basic social concepts. Textures. Shapes. And possibly family. And the real award winning kid-lit does something amazing… it combines things from the list!
Plus, if laid out in simple sentences, the average book could go out as a Tweet. 300 words is the equivalent of War and Peace among children’s books.
Some of you might be saying “I think it’s a lot harder than it looks…”. But I just can’t shake the fact that some actresses who can’t put a thought together without a script in front of them start breeding and decide “I’m the Hemmingway for toddlers.”. These are the same folks who can’t tell you how to get from Hollywood to Disneyland without a GPS.
So, I’m thinking of becoming a children’s author, and I present to you my first work, “Something on your finger”. But without the proper pictograms and industrial cardboard pages you’ll be able to read it quite rapidly.
Something on your finger, Yellow, Green, & Sticky
Touch it. Squeeze it. But it’s awfully Icky.
Don’t wipe on your sister, that’s not where it goes.
Wipe it in a Kleenex, that’s where you put stuff from you nose.
See? Body parts, colors, textures, family, social lessons, and even brand awareness. I forgot shapes, I suppose, but I’ll include that in the sequel “Something in your Closet” – It’s a toddler-horror and it’s gonna be the Twilight series for the under 2 reader.
Watch for me on the talk show circuit.