As you guys may or may not know, I’ve been trying to break into children’s books in my usual haphazard way. I’ve had my stack of rejections and haven’t submitted anything in a while – though I’ll be reworking Canute fairly soon, if not when I’m done writing this.
Because I’ve done some research into the matter and because of the inevitable rejections, I tend to read kids’ books a little critically.
Here’s one I haven’t read that has just shown up as an ad in my inbox: Tranquilla Trampeltreu - die beharrliche Schildkröte (Tranquilla Stamptrue – the persistent turtle). It’s by Michael Ende, the guy who wrote The Neverending Story (as well as Jim Knopf and Momo and many other books for kids and adults). As far as I’m concerned, he can publish whatever he wants and I’ll read it.
This one sounds great, too. A turtle is invited to the wedding of Sultan Leo XXVIII and sets off to attend. Being a turtle it takes her a while and I guess the bulk of the book is about the journey. She arrives on time for a wedding and is not phased in the least that it is the wedding of Sultan Leo XXIX. Cute, no?
Inevitably, I say to myself, Why didn’t I think of that? But then I also think, Well, if I had thought of that, here’s why a publisher would have rejected it: it’s just another story of a journey and the punch line at the end is too sophisticated for the age group because young readers (it’s a picture book) don’t really have a grasp of the concept of time and of generations.
But really, all it means is that I need to get something much stronger out there so that, when I get more known – or known at all, really, they’ll forgive little things like that.