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Fighting in a PB

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Forgive me if this isn't the correct place to ask this question...

I'm working on a new pb in which a brother and sister are discussing who would win in a "squabble" between a tiger and a bear. They are in for a surprise when Bear and Tiger show up to dispute the idea that they would ever get into a fight. They are the very best of friends. While disputing the argument that they would ever argue, of course they end up arguing. Before you know it they are on the ground wrestling.

It is very harmless and playful, but I received feedback from a critique partner that "fighting" is very controversial in children's books and that parents might have a fit over it. Is this true? Any insight?

Thank you!
#1 - October 03, 2016, 10:49 AM

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I wouldn't worry about it. I think squabbling is normal sibling behavior. Have you seen Shark Vs. Train? A hilarious book on the topic of who would win in different scenarios. It's hilarious!

I once had a critique at a conference of a PB about a kid with a temper tantrum. The author who critiqued basically felt the same, it wasn't the most appropriate topic for a PB, or at least the way I resolved it. BUT, my CPS love it, and so did a former editor who definitely encouraged me to send it out. This industry is SO subjective. If you like it, keep going with it and see where it goes.

Good luck!
#2 - October 03, 2016, 06:32 PM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, May 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, October 2021)
Peculiar Primates (Running Press Kids, October 2022)

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I agree that you should go ahead with it if you're happy with what you have and feel it would be appropriate to share with the kids you know.

If you're genuinely unsure about the fighting, though, you can always make it sillier or more fantastical. Could you have them tickle each other really hard? Or show the tiger using his tail to swoop dust under the bear's nose and make him sneeze? Or have the bear give the tiger such a hard bear hug that the tiger can't get out? There's plenty of room for play here. 
#3 - October 03, 2016, 09:44 PM
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

Great advice! I had been considering making the argument who would win in a bake-off, so maybe that is something to explore. Thanks so much!
#4 - October 04, 2016, 06:21 AM

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I agree with the others about staying true to your story because fighting is normal sibling behavior. I like to think of it as iron sharpening iron. We learn how to fight properly by fighting. By the way, if you get a chance, read Enemy Pie. It is one of my favorite PBs.
#5 - October 04, 2016, 06:51 AM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags

I had been considering making the argument who would win in a bake-off, so maybe that is something to explore.

Slightly off topic:   I work in a library, and one day I overheard a couple of teenage boys arguing about who could bake a better cake.  It amused me for the rest of the day!

I agree with the others that a playful "squabble" would be fine for a children's book, and it's definitely something a child can relate to.  I like books that demonstrate "unwanted" behaviors because it opens up that dialogue with the child from a different perspective (much the way we might give a friend advice, even though we don't follow that same advice!)
#6 - October 04, 2016, 12:17 PM

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I just pulled BOOTSIE BARKER BITES off my shelf and the title tells it all. Granted, it was published in 1992! But the author handles the 'problem' in a very humorous way, which makes the story work.

Ditto what everyone else has said. Write what you want to.  :)
#7 - October 04, 2016, 01:25 PM
ROYALLY ENTITLED (inspirational/historical YA) and OOPS-A-DAISY (humorous MG) out now.

Thanks, all!
#8 - October 04, 2016, 01:26 PM

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As a parent, I got instantly excited about this idea. It sounds like super cute and possibly hilarious twist on the "who would win in a fight" game kids play. If this gets published please let me know, I genuinely want it.
#9 - January 21, 2017, 06:37 AM

Gosh, thanks so much, Amber! After lots of feedback and revisions, I have an MS that I'm proud of. We'll see... :)
#10 - January 21, 2017, 06:46 AM


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