Announcing my new illustrated children story's key element: giants! It's going to be a story inspired by and written for my youngest child. I don't know the characters or premise yet, just that at least one character will be a giant. I'm also going to attempt illustrating. I'm terrified of the outcome, but I won't improve unless I practice. Here's my first practice piece. I sat down with the intention to create something with a giant's something-ness. IPad doodling I suppose. It was actually a lot of fun! I realize I lack training, knowledge, know-how and experience, but I've got to start somewhere!
I think certain giant stories and ideas have been overdone, so I'm doing some research. I want to discover what's been done, what works, what doesn't and why. In my community's many libraries, there was an abundance of Jack and the Beanstalk re-tellings, and even a spin on it from his sister's perspective. Boy oh boy has that one been done. There's also a tale from Ireland that I found many versions of, but I'm not familiar with it, so I want to read a few and find out why it's been copied so many times. Those two seemed to dominate the giant themed books.
I chose one that I was hopeful to be unique to read before I left the library.
It's a book called Mangaboom, by Charlotte Pomerantz and pictures are by Anita Lobel. At first glance I thought the illustrations were playful and inviting, but I was hesitant at the length of the text. I was also concerned when Mangaboom said, among other things, that she spoke Spanish and English, and the little boy said he knew a few words in Spanish. I was afraid this promising story was going to turn out to be a language lesson.
When I began reading, the story was intriguing and the characters were charming. The languages did not detract from the story, but added to it in a welcoming manner. Mangaboom, the lady-giant, lives in the top of a mango tree. A boy happens upon her. They become fast friends. He is an honored guest as she receives love letters and is set up with eligible giants by her aunt. He is a witness to a true lady finding love. A beloved, who loves her for all she is. The story is charming, witty, and I was gently taught by Mangaboom what a lady is. This story is a gem among giants.
The lady-giant seems normal and mostly because she believes she's great the way she is, and it's not preachy or overbearing
Each character has a distinct voice; the lady, the boy, the over-bearing aunt, the unworthy eligibles, and the Romeo
Colorful, inviting, fitting illustration without the perfect angles, perspectives, planes...per my sister who I asked what the proper vocabulary is. Apparently I need to learn more about this! I loved the playful imperfection!
There wasn't any danger! It seems giants are usually deemed dangerous, and why wouldn't they be? If a giants were angered, they could certainly squash us poor tiny folks. This was just a story whose characters happened to be giants. Very neat.
What Doesn't Work:
Mangaboom likes to "skinny-dip and turn cartwheels on the beach". While it gives insight to her character, and it's hilarious to think about, I'm undecided as to whether it's appropriate for a children's book to refer to skinny-dipping. Hehe! I'm still giggling.
Labels: ambitious, author, first, giant, giant story, illustration, improve, lesson, Mangaboom, new story, picture book, practice, vocabulary, what doesn't work, what works
Watch out children's literary world, here I come! I blog about lessons I learn while I write children's picture books and young adult novels. I've been doing a bit here and there for years when priorities allowed. I've recently been able to make larger time commitments, and I have a finished picture book that I'm preparing to attempt the publishing relm. My brain and journal hold so many more stories that are waiting to be hatched. I'll document tips, lessons and processes from conception through publishing (let's think positively, here), all on my blog for all to enjoy. What a beautiful adventure it is!