Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The moral to the story is...

Since the books Valerie and I have published have an unusual ending we have had a variety of reactions in the form of reviews. Most of them are overwhelmingly positive but we appreciate everyone's opinion and are excited that such a simple concept can generate such diverse conversations. Before we published our first book we had our family and friends review and offer suggestions which were greatly appreciated. After making many changes, we had a story we could feel good about.

When I first had the thought that the stories I told my son would be fun in a children's book format, I did not realize that every book has a moral. My aunt who taught children's literature at a university informed me that the best books present a moral without hitting the reader over the head with it with a 2 x 4 (metaphorically speaking). Our early readers helped us to accomplish that and for those that are confused with what message we want to covey, I hope to clarify that. As I stated before, my first thought in illustrating this series was to recreate the experience I had with my son as we imagined what a snake would have to do that horses do so he could become one in the end. It was a silly and imaginative game that we played. Each night as he chose another two animals I had to stretch my imagination to come up with a different bedtime story. Animals are amazing subjects and their many characteristics made for unlimited storylines.

Illustrating them is just as wonderful as telling stories about them because they are so unique and each species is designed perfectly. Unique to humans is our ability to imagine and a sense of humor to go along with it. Part of the human experience is to confront a problem and if we can't find a solution to it, there are others we can go to who can help us. Some readers are unsettled by the stories because the animals change. The physical change is just for fun and is not meant to be critical of God's creations or suggest that humans or animals can change themselves in the way it happens in our books. Rather I hope that our stories foster discussions about how with perseverance and reliance on those who have been there for help and advice, we can accomplish more than we can imagine.