Monday, November 1, 2010

Rabbit and Skunk and Spooks

I don't have many possessions that are rooted in my childhood, but I have a few. I couple of teddy bears my Grandmother Speirs made for me. A few other really ratty stuffed animals that I can't bear to part with -- and I'm no sissy. A quilt, also from Grandma. She was the only grandparent I knew; the rest had died by the time I came around.

I do have a few books. This is one of them:

I love it now for the reasons I loved it then: The story, the endearing characters (always sympathized with Rabbit, who wanted to get along with people and not necessarily scare them with the costume Skunk foists upon him, but at the same time he doesn't want to disappoint Skunk . . .) and the simple, "I could almost do that" style of drawing. Well done, Robert Kraus.

My kids love it for the same reasons. Though they like the sound effects of the scary ghosts who come to haunt the pair as they cower in Rabbit's house, waiting for the ghosts to go away so they can scare people. We trot this book out every Halloween, and it's a hit.

I know from long, hard experience that these books are deceptively simple. They appear easy to write, but in practice are very hard. You have to put a lot of thought into them, and then express that thought in as few words as possible. Indeed, this blog entry probably is home to more word than Carla Stevens' book. No matter. I will keep trying. While I work on "Considering How to Run," with the goal of having it and a query letter ready to send to agents by the end of the year, I'll also work on a childrens' book on the side. I've already got the title: Dumb Bunnies. I think it's got potential.

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