1. THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE: AN UNIMAGINARY FRIEND by Dan Santat
WHAT I GLEAN: Here is a great example of a story that keeps things TIGHT. Not a ton of words here, lots of room for the art to tell the story. Of course, in this case, Dan Santat was also the illustrator, so he knew what he wanted to draw, but we have to think that way as writers too.
WHAT I GLEAN: So brilliant, so clever, so unexpected. That’s what we need to be writing…THE UNEXPECTED.
WHAT I GLEAN: Not afraid to be edgy and dark and sophisticated for a picture book audience. We too often keep things nicey nicey or safely about trucks and puppies and are afraid to tell BOLD stories. The picture book medium can handle so much more, and so can the kids!
WHAT I GLEAN: Perfect STORY ARC with a SATISFYING ENDING. The character goes somewhere significant and you feel happy with the results, and he does it all without using 1000 or 2000 words to do it. An ideal picture book should be around 400 words, but NO MORE than 800.
Like THIS IS A MOOSE, this story is completely ORIGINAL AND UNEXPECTED. Who says inanimate objects can’t be characters? Or abstract concepts? Or punctuation?
Aaron Reynolds is a New York Times Bestselling Author and has written many highly acclaimed books for kids, including Here Comes Destructosaurus!, Carnivores, the Joey Fly – Private Eye graphic novel series, and the Caldecott Honor Medalist Creepy Carrots! He has a passion for kids’ books and seeing kids reading them. He regularly makes time to visit schools where his hilarious hands-on presentations keep kids spellbound. Find him at www.aaron-reynolds.com.