I really don’t know how to respond when people ask me to illustrate puppy dog books/any children’s book “based on a true story” involving someone’s horribly interesting pet who did something noble once. You see them in the grocery store, next to the Ladies Club cookbooks and Tabloids at the check out counter: Local author! “Fluffy Finds A Home!” “A Home For Rags” “Slobbers The Happy Puppy Gets Adopted By An Old Lady!” And the title is probably in Papyrus and the illustrations are probably done in colored pencil or a pirated version of Paint Shop Pro. The target market?
Grandmas. Probably the grandmas of the author and the illustrator, as that will be who actually spends $10 on another moralistic story about a dog who, despite being nauseatingly cute, can’t seem to ever find an effing place to live.
And I don’t wan’t to be that illustrator. I want the experience, but I want the story to be clever and the subject matter fresh. Basically, something people won’t immediately classify as a “hobbyist mom book that won’t make it past the bubble gum rack at Leekers Family Foods.”
People, no more lost puppies. Instead, think about the Stinky Cheese Man or something equally clever. Has anyone written about Abraham Lincoln as a futuristic crime fighter lately? When was the last time you read your kids a book about the quetzal, native bird of the amazon and avid pencil collector? Help a budding illustrator out and make your subject matter worth everyone’s time.
…Sigh. Ungrateful much?