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PB without featuring child?

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I am working on two PB mss that do not have a child as MC.   Both books, however,  deal with magical characters that children are familiar with, Santa Claus, for one:   Santa faces problems in delivering toys on Christmas eve.  Santa and his reindeer discover the solutions to the problems.   There are a few children's names mentioned as recipients of particular toys, but the kids themselves do not feature in the story. 

My question is, will these PBs featuring only the magical characters hold interest for children and parents?  Do I need to have the characters interact with kids?  Or do kids like to hear stories about those characters themselves (Santa, Easter Bunny, etc.)
#1 - May 24, 2015, 10:32 AM

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I'll be interested in learning what others have to say on this.

For myself, I hold dear the memory of reading a "Little Golden Book" called Santa's Toy Shop. Nowhere in it are children, but Santa's list is partially displayed, revealing many names (oh, how my siblings and I pored over it, looking for our names each time - - as though they'd somehow materialize from one reading to the next....) and at the end, the reader is asked to consider if Santa will stop and take a break to play at **their** house next year! These elements drew us in, making *us* the children in the story. I now read this book to my own cherubs and they love it, too.

This is just my experience. In no way is the absence of child characters a drawback in this story. In fact, I never considered it before now and believe their presence may take away from the magical nature of the book.

My instinct is to say, "Tell your story the way you're led to, Barbara, kidlets or not." (If an editor thinks it needs little ones, she'll let you know and you can reconsider.) Again, I look forward to seeing what others think.

Best, best wishes!!

 :carrot :carrot :carrot
#2 - May 24, 2015, 04:22 PM

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Picture books and MG books with adult protagonists can work well. There are many older classics out there.

Sadly, I hear from many editors and publishers that the trend is towards kids in kid lit. Still, a child-like adult using problem-solving skills in the same manner as a child could comprehend works well in many instances (even without magic).

Write the story that you hear in your heart and see in your mind. Write for yourself, not the market. Good luck!!
#3 - May 24, 2015, 04:38 PM

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Write the story that you hear in your heart and see in your mind. Write for yourself, not the market.

Beautifully put, koozoo!!

 :love5
#4 - May 24, 2015, 05:04 PM

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I think there are some characters that are so connected to kids that we see them as kids, like Santa. So in that case, I'd say you're good. Heck, even animals aren't kids, yet how many picture books feature animals as though they were kids? A zillion at least.

One of my very favorite picture books is THE OLD WOMAN WHO NAMED THINGS. Not a kid in sight. If you haven't read it, it's  time you treated yourself.

Good luck!
#5 - May 24, 2015, 05:15 PM
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In the right story, not having children characters can work just fine. A PB I loved that had no children was A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE by Phillip Stead and Erin Stead. Another fun one was IT'S MONDAY, MRS. JOLLYBONES by Warren Hanson. If it's what works for your story, go for it!
#6 - May 24, 2015, 07:24 PM
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 05:50 AM by Vonna »
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Thanks everyone.  I'll read the books you mentioned.  I can't believe I haven't seen any of those books already, although I do "sort of" remember, as a child, looking for my name on Santa's lists in the Little Golden Book. 

I believe you have all expressed that kids might like to see antics of the magical characters that are a big part of childhood, even if a kid isn't involved in the story.  Thank you!
#7 - May 25, 2015, 05:17 AM

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The child reader has to relate to the main character. Most of the time, that means another child or childlike anthropomorphosized character, but not always! And of course many children will related to Santa.
#8 - May 25, 2015, 05:21 AM
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Another way to evaluate this is to ask yourself, "Does my MC have to be an adult?" If not, make it a child. (Your odds of publication will be higher; after all, most PBs feature kid MCs.) If your MC has to be an adult, as in Santa's case, make it Santa.
#9 - May 25, 2015, 07:16 AM
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