SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Animals talking to children in picture books

Discussion started on

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
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.
#1 - October 19, 2018, 03:23 AM

Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midatlantic
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.
#2 - October 19, 2018, 05:22 AM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Agreeing with Anne.

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

#3 - October 19, 2018, 05:25 AM
Vehicle Dreams Series-RPKids '16 -'18
(Fire Truck, Bulldozer, Race Car)
Rainy Day Picnic-Read Your Story '18
The Sparrow and The Trees- Arbordale '15

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.
#4 - October 19, 2018, 06:37 AM
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 06:41 AM by thunderingelephants »

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
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.
#5 - October 19, 2018, 01:26 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region wwa
Also, some rules are meant to be broken. 
#6 - October 19, 2018, 06:43 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
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.)
#7 - October 19, 2018, 07:11 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Illustrator
Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region ksmo
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. 
#8 - October 19, 2018, 08:46 PM
Karen B. Jones

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.