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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: Z-cat on March 27, 2007, 06:26 AM

Title: PBs without kids
Post by: Z-cat on March 27, 2007, 06:26 AM
My current WIP features one adult, and a lot of animals- and no children.
Any opinions?
I've read many a PB with animals standing in for children, but not very many that feature an adult MC exclusively.
 
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Alison A on March 27, 2007, 06:46 AM
Grandfather Twilight comes to mind. Just animals and the Grandfather putting the world to bed.

My PB group is of a mind that animal only stories are a tough sell these days based on what's out there in the market.
Thoughts, anyone?
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: chickennoodle on March 27, 2007, 06:58 AM
Z-cat,

An adult MC is fine as long as the character has interesting child-like traits, vulnerabilities, and similar wants and needs. Also, the conflict that your adult MC wrestles with in the story needs to be one that a child can relate to and empathize with--so that your reader roots for them until the resolution. There have been many very successful pbs featuring an adult as the main character. The trick is to create an adult character that seamlessly stands in for a child and to avoid weighing down your story with adult concerns.

Hope this helps!  :)

Leslie
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Tammi on March 27, 2007, 07:49 AM
Alison,

I recently sold an animal-only pb.

Z-cat...I'd say the adult mc might make this a tougher sell, but it can happen.

I can't remember the titles or the author, but there are two pbs about a man who gets bugged again and again by some rabbits.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: barb on March 27, 2007, 08:13 AM
That's one of my all-time favorite pbs!  It's called Muncha!  Muncha!  Muncha!  by Candace Fleming.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Betsy on March 27, 2007, 09:08 AM
It's really not a problem, Z.  My pb SCATTERBRAIN SAM features adults.  It got great reviews (including a starred review in Kirkus) and did very well.  My book A TALE OF TWO TURKEYS also has only adult characters.  And my pb CINDER EDNA has sold more than 150,000 hardcover copies, been made into a video, and produced as a play several times.  Nothing but adults in that one too.

On the other hand, I have noticed a trend away from fantasy.  Many publishers seem to be looking for stories about real kids doing real things.  But if you've written an appealing story that kids can understand and that has childlike elements, it shouldn't be a problem that the characters are adults.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Tammi on March 27, 2007, 09:38 AM
Yes, Barb! That's it.

Actually, I stumbled across the sequel the other day. Get excited. :)
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Stephanie J. Blake on March 27, 2007, 04:35 PM
The Giving Tree
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Sam Hranac on March 27, 2007, 04:42 PM
Kirby Larson (of Hattie Big Sky) wrote a PB called The Magic Kerchief that my 8-year old daughter and I just love. It stars an old woman and has very few kids in it (if any).

I have a PB/short story (more short story in this low word-count era) about a father who learns to knit that I'm shopping around. I sure hope it can sell.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Z-cat on March 28, 2007, 06:31 AM
Thanks guys!

I had a few titles in mind, but they always seemed to be older books- good books, but older books. Most of them seem to be based on fables, or tell a broad story.

My PB features a realistic, comical problem. Both the MC and the animals have childish characterisics, but the animals behave like animals. No talking, no dressing-up.

Well, back to work- Thanks again.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: DellaRF on March 28, 2007, 07:07 PM
Off the top of my head...

Farmer McPeepers and His Missing Milk Cows by our very own Katy Duffield

Also, Cynthia Rylant's EZ series: Mr. Putter and Tabby

and Storm is Coming, (I forget the author)

Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: momalisa on March 28, 2007, 07:58 PM
Clickety Clack Moo only has Farmer Brown the cows, hens and ducks.  I love that book!   

 :cuccoan: :typing: :pig  (we need cow and duck smileys)
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Chuck on April 25, 2007, 07:46 PM
Hey, if you have a captivating story to tell, it will hold a child's attention no matter who the main character is.  So I say march ahead.  I'm sure there are dozens of books that have adults as MCs.

Chuck
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: missrodeo on April 26, 2007, 04:19 AM
Caps for Sale is another one.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Krystal on April 26, 2007, 11:21 PM
Boris and Bella
The Bake Shop Ghost
The Tin Forest
The Toughest Cowboy


I think I'll stop there before I start imitating a certain pink bunny.

Kisses and wishes,  :-*

Krystal
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: sjb2 on June 25, 2007, 08:24 AM
I def. think you need to take some care with pub. books without a child as main characater only because I know a lot of houses are steering away from books with talking animals etc right now.  There are exceptions of course and I think its kind of a cyclical thing -

Stephen J. Brooks
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: emykate03 on June 25, 2007, 09:42 AM
Mrs. Wishy Washy-such a simple, charming little book. Characters include an adult MC, a pig, a cow, and a duck. The animals talk and roll around in the mud.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: lurban on June 25, 2007, 09:50 AM
I really haven't heard of any publishers staying away from talking animals done well.  Child-like grown-ups can be wonderful.  Grown-ups with grown-up problems and grown-up attitudes are not the stuff that good kids books are made of.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Elibet on June 27, 2007, 07:08 AM
One of my favorites is: Aunt Nancy And Old Man Trouble by Phyllis Root Illustrated by David Parkins.
Two adults and one cat. Wonderfully clever story of how aunt Nancy outwits Old Man Trouble.

Elizabeth
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Jill C. on February 21, 2008, 11:45 AM
Reas SOME DOG by Mary Casanova, illus. by Ard Hoyt (Melanie Kroupa/FSG) to my son last night and we loved it. Characters: 2 dogs and a childless couple.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: JodyJS on February 21, 2008, 12:23 PM
Okay, now that's weird, Jill C..  I DID TOO!  And this morning.  It's a great story. 

The Old Woman Who Named Things is another adult-only book (plus a scrawny dog).
And what's that one with the old woman and old man who find a pot under the garden that multiplies things?  Eventually the man and woman multiply themselves.  Great story.  No kids in that one, either.
And the one about the woman who doesn't want a stray cat that comes to stay.  Then she and the storekeeper grow to like one another...no kids in that one.

Jody
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: Jill C. on February 21, 2008, 12:29 PM
jody--love the cat at the bookstore one, i think it is even a series. wish i can think of the name.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: YAmom on February 21, 2008, 12:50 PM
Mrs. Biddlebox  author Linda Smith, illus. Marla Frazee
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: JodyJS on February 21, 2008, 01:48 PM
Okay, now I'm stuck.  It's not Mrs. Biddlebox I was thinking of.

The book is about a lonely, skinny old man and woman who really have nothing except the potatoes they farm.  They're down to their last potato when they find a pot buried in the field.  They put the potato in the pot and carry both to the house.  By the time they get there, the potato has become two potatoes.  They multiply other things in the house...a chair, a blanket, a flower pot or candle on the windowsill.  Seems like they also put a few coins in the pot.  Then the farmer goes to town to buy rations.  His wife naps.  Somehow the farmer or his wife falls into the pot and the one person becomes two.  They reason life would be lopsided if there weren't two of each of them.  So the other person jumps into the pot.  Now there are four people, all old and skinny, but no longer lonely.

Can anyone  :bighelp me with a title?  It's a great story!

Jody

Edited:  Oh, geez!  Must be the snow affecting my brain.  Yes, the book above is an awesome one, too, but it wasn't the one I was talking about originally.   :tongue2  Let me try again.  The original book to which I referred is about a woman who lives alone.  A stray cat comes to her doorstep.  She thinks she'll put it out after it stops raining, and then after it finishes eating.  In the meantime, she goes to the store to buy some groceries and buys a collar, too.  The store clerk speaks to the woman, but the woman doesn't pay him much attention.  The same series happens again:  the woman thinks she'll put the cat out after..., then after....  Meanwhile she makes several trips to the grocery store, and notices the store clerk gets nicer and nicer all the time.  Eventually she makes a sign advertising the "found" cat and shoves it to the back of a bulletin board at the store.  Of course, no one claims the cat.  The store clerk stops by her house to tell her the news, and the woman is very glad.  She and the store clerk become friends.

Help!  Now I need the titles of TWO books!   ;)

Edited:  Me again.  The second book is Mrs. Crump's Cat.  Whew.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: YAmom on February 21, 2008, 04:19 PM
Sorry Jody! I was just recommending a book in general :)   Mrs. Biddlebox is about an old lady and is such a great book.
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: JodyJS on February 21, 2008, 05:09 PM
Hee-hee!  Chocolate?   :chocolate1
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: BoniA on February 21, 2008, 05:14 PM
Jody-

One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice
Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong is another version (it's my favorite)

Boni
Title: Re: PBs without kids
Post by: JodyJS on February 21, 2008, 05:48 PM
I can now die happy, BoniA.  One Potato, Two Potato is it!   :star2