Why children’s books? Why picture books? Why rhyming books? Because, in my experience, nothing provides a greater opportunity for unfettered imagination.
Mesmerized by the music of rhyme, the magic of wordplay, the joy of color, and the mystery of imagery that could never occur in real life, children dissolve into rhyming picture books like astronauts walking in space.
Go ahead and write the absurd:
“When a lobster wears a tutu, there’s a chance that he will dance,
‘Cause if he doesn’t plan to dance, he’ll wear a pair of pants. He may throw on his favorite jeans, or maybe he’ll wear shorts… …but shorter pants mean there’s a chance he plans on playing sports.”
From When a Lobster Buys a Bathrobe)
As far as I can tell (and recall from my own childhood), many young children do not bother to filter this information at all. They simply receive. They give serious consideration to the lobster’s wardrobe and its implications. From my point of view, as an author, that openness – that flexibility and receptivity – allows me to create the laws of my own universe! Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Want friendship to reign supreme in your universe (as it darn well should)? Just write it and make it so:
“I guess the truth is, when it’s all said and done, Friendship is always the best part of fun. Every beast has a name and its own favorite game, But look into our eyes and we’re all just the same.”
From Monkey See. Zebra Do. A Zoo Party.)
Heck, a lot of folks argue about whether Champ, the monster of Lake Champlain, really exists. I decided yes:
“If you come to Vermont, near a lake called Champlain, And you cut through the woods on an old country lane, There’s a chance you will see my friend Champ and me Playing happy and free by the old maple tree.
(From Champ and Me by the Maple Tree)
You see, the children and I have this unspoken and mutually beneficial agreement: They get to visit a boundless universe of unadulterated fun, warmth, and joy. And so do I.