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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: zeshanakhter on October 19, 2018, 03:23 AM

Title: Animals talking to children in picture books
Post by: zeshanakhter on October 19, 2018, 03:23 AM
Hi! I am wondering what people here at SCWBI think about the idea of having animals talking to characters in picture books in general terms and I am curious to know if the market has moved on?

The reason I ask is that I have written a picture book which is an allegory and has a dreamy/ethereal feel - in which I have animals talking to the main 6 year old character.  A writing coach  gave me very positive feedback on it previously. The manuscript was then accepted by a publisher in the States but they then suddenly stopped communicating. I found out that they did this to somebody I knew as well. Recently, I paid to attend a writing course and the lady running it who is a published children's author has said that the market moved on from talking animals a long time ago.

I would appreciate your thoughts.
Title: Re: Animals talking to children in picture books
Post by: Anne Marie on October 19, 2018, 05:22 AM
The market also moved on from anthropomorphized inanimate objects but all of a sudden we have anthropomorphized crayons, school buildings, french toast, etc. It moved on from didactic character development but now there are a slew of books about being nice and being a friend.

I'm not saying your instructor wasn't correct. I'm just wondering if it matters. Trends come and go.
Title: Re: Animals talking to children in picture books
Post by: Schriscoe on October 19, 2018, 05:25 AM
Agreeing with Anne.

And in my agent’s words, “There’s always room for great.”

Title: Re: Animals talking to children in picture books
Post by: thunderingelephants on October 19, 2018, 06:37 AM
The market does fluctuate & not every plot works with humans or animals, for that matter. Children can escape with anthropomorphised characters, as long as they can identify with where they fit into daily life &their role in that capacity.
Most of my stories are anthropomorphic & often I put my characters as a substitute for humans because I can use it as an opportunity to bring out human fault & overcoming them without the possibility of patronisination.
I did it with a gorilla who developed epilepsy!
My wip is about monsters, but I've never worked well with humans!! I'd love to see how your story develops.
Title: Re: Animals talking to children in picture books
Post by: zeshanakhter on October 19, 2018, 01:26 PM
Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts. This is so encouraging. In my ethnic heritage, there is a tradition of stories in which animals speak and I am carrying on with this practice.

All the best.
Title: Re: Animals talking to children in picture books
Post by: hairaplenty on October 19, 2018, 06:43 PM
Also, some rules are meant to be broken. 
Title: Re: Animals talking to children in picture books
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on October 19, 2018, 07:11 PM
I'm trying to think of recent examples where animal and human characters coexist. Not coming up with any. But that could just be me. It does happen on kids' TV with some frequency. We all love Pooh and Christopher Robin. I say, do it very well. But also look for others as possible mentor texts or comp titles. Maybe someone else will be able to name some. (Hint. Hint.)
Title: Re: Animals talking to children in picture books
Post by: karen-b-jones on October 19, 2018, 08:46 PM
I don't know what ethnic group you are, but representation matters.  I think it's wonderful if you can write kids of your ethnicity along with a connection to their traditional folklore.  It would be particularly nice if the visual style of any illustrations go along with that too.  If it's appropriate to the story, that is.  :)  It may not be.