Friday, August 3, 2007

Mem Fox

If you've never checked out Mem Fox's web site, you should. Lots of good stuff there.

Here's something from that site that I particularly like. I'm not a picture book author, but I think many of these (all of them, maybe) also apply to novels. (Except maybe "the delight of happiness" - we gotta have a few good tear-jerkers every now and then...)

My favorite of those qualities below is "perfect words in perfect places." (Linda Sue Parks says "The best words in the best order.")

From Mem Fox:

A good picture book for the young child has most of these qualities:

• Trouble

• One of two themes: ‘the stranger comes to town’ or: ‘the quest.’

• Characters whom readers care about deeply
• A universal theme that speaks to any child, anywhere in the world

• Perfect words in perfect places

• The delight of happiness

• No preaching

• Subtle signposts to living in a social world
• An impact that affects the heart of the reader or listener

• Strange or unexpected use of language
• A complex story that requires the mind to be attentive to detail, to be active in problem-solving, to roll through tunnels of prediction and meaning-making, and to tumble down hills of emotion and up again

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