Those of us you who were children once upon a time will surely remember how frustrating it was suddenly to have been plunked down in a world where everyone knew more than you did—about everything. Children spend a great deal of time trying to figure things out: where does snow come from? Why can’t dogs talk? What happens next? Or, as we say in our family: “Who ordered the veal cutlet?”*
Kids develop their own little GPS-like subroutines, constantly recalculating to keep themselves on track—but sometimes, inevitably, they get it wrong. Misperceptions and missed information lead to misunderstandings . . . and—I won’t sugar-coat this—little misunderstandings often lead to:
(Yeah, I was grown before I figured that one out.)
Thank goodness for picture books!
In a picture book, you can check out your own real-live dinosaur any time from the Storybook Lending Zoo.
You can have the queen invite the golfer with the highest score to the palace for tea, and meet the prince, who is even worse at Goony Golf than you are.
You can become a super-hero in training, and rid the world of evil, baby-eating furniture.
How cool is that? As children’s book writers and illustrators, we get to do this all the time. So, having aired three of my own neuroses . . . er, picture book ideas . . . here is a tip for today: think back to those times in your childhood when things were not quite what you expected them to be—and imagine what it would take to discover a new, old friend . . . or have the last laugh . . . or fly to the rescue.
And then, for the love of heaven, explain to the little person in your life that dinosaurs are really extinct; that, as silly as it sounds, low score wins at Goony Golf; and that, yes, if necessary, a very tiny baby can sleep safely in a dresser drawer . . . but only if you take the drawer OUT of the dresser first!
*A line from Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie . . . um, maybe you had to be there.
Bonnie Adamson’s latest illustration project is BEDTIME MONSTER (¡A dormir, pequeño monstruo!) by Heather Ayris Burnell, released in September by Raven Tree Press.
Visit Bonnie’s soon-to-be-completely-overhauled website at www.bonnieadamson.net, or hang out with her on Twitter, where she co-hosts #kidlitchat on Tuesday nights and #kidlitart (for children’s book illustrators and friends) every Thursday.
Bonnie then, practicing her skeptical glare; and now—-an older and wiser children’s book illustrator.
Prize Alert! Leave a comment to enter. One randomly-selected winner will choose one of the three picture-book-inspired sketches above for Bonnie to paint in watercolor (Dinosaur, Royalty, Superhero). One entry per person! Winner will be selected one week from today. Good luck!