Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sometimes Less is More

I always struggle to come up with new premises for picture books. I rack my brain for something high concept.  Something that has a "Hollywood" hook.

But sometimes the simplest stories are the sweetest!

Today I read POUCH by my new idol, David Ezra Stein.  (Author-illustrator of the ever-hilarious Interrupting Chicken.)

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1—Stein continues to create deceptively simple yet very affecting picture books. One day, little Joey peeks out of Mama Kangaroo's pouch and says, "I want to hop!" Each time he leaves his safe haven, he takes more steps, meets a strange new animal, yells out "Pouch!," and hops back to his mama to hide. But when the final animal is another little joey who also yells "Pouch!," the two realize there is nothing to fear, have a good laugh, and hop off together. When their mamas offer their pouches, the youngsters say, "No, thanks."

I found this book to be so darling, probably in part because it reminds me of Jordan when she was little.   But isn't that always what makes a book special?  The fact that you can see a little part of yourself (or your kids) in it!

When Jordan was 12 or 13 months old, every time we were out and ANYTHING did not go her way (perhaps, for example, another kid grabbed a toy from her) Jordan would come running over to me yelling and signing, "Home!"

Can't wait to get my hands on Stein's other picture books.

NOTE:  Now that I think of it, Jordan did this at home too.  Whenever we were in the apt. and something did not go her way, she would yell  "CRIBBY!"   That was her pouch.  God, how could I have not written this book?


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

That one does sound about perfect--fun and with a useful little life lesson tucked in.

storyqueen said...

Cuter than cute.

Sometimes I wish I was an illustrator. i think it would be easier to take those simple ideas and make them come to life. As for me, when I get a nice simple idea and then type it up, it kind of just looks like a piece of paper with not many words.

Christa Desir said...

Great reco! My kids will love it.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

These are the kinds of ideas I wish I could think up and write well. I recently read a summary of a book coming out in September (I think it's a board book) where the premise is things that belong together - milk and cookies, etc - and parent and child. So simple, yet so perfect. I'm guessing the book has fewer than 100 words.

Kristin said...

That's a pretty dog-gone perfect story arc. And the cover is A-dorable!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

That sounds adorable. Wish I'd written it too!