Showing posts with label children's book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children's book. Show all posts

The Worst F’ing Children's Book In The World

I’m sure Aunt Lara laughed, nay, cackled to herself when she stuck the copy of “Splish Splash- A Book of Five Jigsaws” in amongst the other children's books she was giving to Sally and me. She probably pulled it out from the bottom of a well where she threw it years earlier after it was passed on to her by some other parent driven insane by its madness.

It’s a pretty book. And there are jigsaws on the inside! Five of them. It’s like buying one jigsaw and getting four extras with a book thrown in for good measure.

This book is pure evil. Innocent at first, but over time it begins to gnaw at your soul.

First off, once your kid figures out that there is more than one puzzle, they will take out the pieces to multiple puzzles and mix them up. This requires you to sort out the puzzle pieces by color and, well heck, even though the illustrator had at least 1.45 million colors to choose from, they chose to make two of the puzzles blue and two orange, so you have to carefully pick through and guess which puzzle they go to.

Once the pieces are separated, it’s time to build the puzzle. I’m sure your little genius has a photographic memory, but my kids are not that smart and require the puzzle box top to remember what the sleeping lion looked like. This devil’s tome decided to put the photos of the puzzles on the back of the book and for some reason my kids decided that they have to turn the book upside down to see the back which dumps all the pieces back on the floor.

Once we did figure out to just close the book to see the back, there seems to be a bit of a problem with the 16 puzzle pieces in that many of them fit quite nicely together, even though they are not supposed to. For an adult, this isn’t a problem. But it’s as complicated all get out to a kid.

Daddy - “Those pieces don’t belong together, Ann.”
Ann - “But they fit.”
Daddy- “The picture doesn’t match.”
Ann- “But it fits.”
Daddy- “You win. The lion’s ass is in his mouth.”
Sally- “What was that?”
Daddy- “The lion’s laugh comes from his mouth.”
Sally- “You are fired.”

Here is the biggest pain in the ass. Normal puzzles come in a box. You take the pieces out, build the puzzle and then throw them back in the box when it is time to clean up. These book puzzles come already put together, you take them apart, and then build them again to put them away. This is all well in good in a perfect world, but in my world, guests are coming over and we need to clean up the living room. If this book is out, it means that the pieces are all over the place. With a normal puzzle, we’d tear apart the 20% of the puzzle the kid built before he got bored and throw it in the box with the other pieces. With this book, the pieces don’t have a place to hide. The pieces cannot be crammed in between the pages and tucked away. You have to build the puzzles to put the book away. Well, first you have to sort the five different colors, then build them and you are completely screwed if you drop the thing on the ground and watch as five puzzles slide out and intermingle on the floor.

After spending ten minutes working together to sort and build, Sally and I decided to throw the book out. Then at the last second I stopped from pitching it in the bin and said, “Let’s save this and give it to your cousin once she has kids.”

So now the book waits.

Free to HolyJuan fans! The Power of Soup

Two years ago, I thought that I should write a children’s book, get published and make a shitload of money. So I got together with my illustrator friend Meshell and she showed me her portfolio for inspiration. In her large collection of drawings was an illustration that caught my eye. A woman with a large spoon tucked in her apron. She hugged a large bowl of soup with the words, “Get well soon” floating on the surface.

So I wrote a story based on that illustration called, “The Power of Soup.” My biggest critic, Miss Sally, liked it. I shared it with Meshell and she liked it and said that, if I asked her nicely, she would illustrate the rest of it. I said I would give her the first opportunity, once I secured a publisher.

Together, Meshell and I bought “How to Get Published” books and I sent my properly formatted copies of “The Power of Soup” out to several publishers. I even bought the website,, just to be sure.

Six rejection form letters later, I’m done with the half-dream. Instead, let me share it with you, the people who care for and love me.

So here, my friends, is my story, The Power of Soup. See if you tear up when you read it, like I did when I wrote it.

The Power of Soup

In a very small house with two very small windows, lived a woman. She lived alone, but she was never lonely.

If you were to look through the very small windows, you would see a very small bed, a very small chair, a very small table, a very small lamp, a very small painting and a very big stove.

The woman loved to cook. She had a very big kettle to sit on the very big stove. She had a very big spoon to stir whatever was in the very big kettle. The woman could cook about anything, but she especially loved to cook soup.

Pea soup, bean soup, potato soup, vegetable soup, rhubarb and turnip soup, dandelion soup, and her very special soup which she called Soup Soup.

People would come from the villages near and far to the woman’s house and bring whatever ingredients they had so that she could make her delicious soup for them.

Miss Dryer came to the woman’s door, “I have carrots.”

“Then we will make carrot soup.”

Mr. Hearty came to the door. “I have potatoes.”

“Then we will make potato soup.”

The Simon twins came to the door, “We have turnips and leeks.”

“Then we will make turnip and leek soup.”

Somehow, though only one or two ingredients were added, the woman was able to stir and stir and stir and stir and soon that one ingredient would taste like many!

Everyone loved the woman’s soup.

One day, a little dark haired girl with sad eyes came to the woman’s door. She wore handmade clothes that were more patches than cloth.

“Can you please make me some soup?”

“What have you brought with you to make the soup?” asked the woman, knowing the answer.

“I have nothing. My mother is sick and father is away in the city. I have nothing to make soup.”

The woman said, “Come inside. I think you have something to add to the soup.”

The woman added water to the very large kettle. She lit the very big stove and began to stir.

“Now, little girl, you have nothing in your hands and you have nothing in your pockets, but you have something in your heart. All you need is to speak to the soup and tell it what your heart is saying.”

The little girl stood on a little chair and was just able to look over the edge of the kettle.

She spoke in but a whisper, “I love you Mommy. Get well soon.”

The woman then began to stir and stir and stir and stir.

And as she stirred and stirred the soup began to churn and bubble. Broth began to form and carrots and peas and beans and leeks and hundreds of herbs and vegetables and flavors mixed and melded in the pot. With a final stir, letters formed of pasta bubbled to the surface.


“I love you Mommy.”

…and they sank. Then…

“Get well soon.”

As the sun began to dip in the afternoon and create its own colorful soup in the sky, shadows of a smaller person and a bigger person together carried a very big kettle towards the village.

The next morning, the woman arrived back to her very small house with two very small windows. She carried with her a much emptier pot, a small bouquet of flowers and a very big smile.

As she walked in the door she said to herself, "I think I'll make some soup today."

Rejection is good

My friend Meshell is a very talented and creative illustrator. We got together at B-Hampton’s for a drink a few months ago and she had her portfolio on hand from an earlier meeting. Meshell and I had discussed children’s books in the past and I thought she and I should team up to create something. But like most my ideas, they are simply words with no substance behind them. That night though, Meshell showed me one of her illustrations called “The Power of Soup.”

I immediately thought of an idea for a story and went home and wrote it.

I then submitted it to a publishing company.

And then I waited.

I knew that my story wouldn’t get published. It was my first submission. It was pretty rough. I found out later that my main character’s name was not only a Teletubbie, but also a slang word for kinky sex. (Lala. I choose it because it was Miss Sally’s nickname for her sister. Luckily I had never seen the Teletubbies and only found out what Lala meant when I saw it on a 17 year-old’s T-shirt.)

What I was really looking for was acknowledgement that someone opened my letter and glanced at my five pages of dreck and responded with a form letter suggesting I burn my keyboard and take up roofing again.

And I waited some more.

Most submissions take about 10 – 15 weeks to get processed. As of yesterday, it had been almost 30 weeks and I kept telling myself that I had forgotten about it.

Yesterday, I got a letter from Tricycle Press, the children’s book division of Ten Speed Press. A form letter. A rejection letter.

And I feel acknowledged.

I then went back to re-read my story and oh boy… it could use a bit of editing. I’ll change Lala’s name (though she will always be Lala to me) and beef up a bit of the story. Perhaps I will change the part where Lala receives second degree burns from hugging a pot of steaming, hot soup.