Too often we tell kids pleasant stories devoid of truth, and stories without truth are not good stories. Our audience deserves more from us.
I'd much rather have a book that a few people love intensely than a book that a lot of people like okay.
Pranking exposes the truth that underneath this appearance of order is joy, laughter, and disorder.
Danger is the snack food of a true sleuth.
It's a sort of patronizing idea that literature for children has to feature role models of exemplary behavior. I think not only is that bogus, but it leads to really boring books.
Every Librarian is a highly trained agent. An expert in intelligence, counterintelligence, Boolean searching, and hand-to-hand combat.
Not only is a good prank harmless, but, like a good story, it reveals an essential truth that would otherwise be hidden.
I think the trick of writing a good picture book manuscript is to leave that space for illustration. An illustrated novel can do the same thing.
We put authors on such a pedestal, and it's a moment that humanizes the whole thing, and lends an absurdity to what otherwise is a "please sit with your hands on your lap" kind of event.
I love those adult writers with the pranking ethos, [Don] DeLillo and [Donald] Barthelme and David Foster Wallace. I don't see any reason not to bring those kinds of influences to bear on books for children.
I read The Stinky Cheese Man as an adult. I missed that book when I was a kid. I grew up mostly with books bought at yard sales, picture books from the fifties to 1975, which is really a lucky thing.
Kevin Cornell and I have worked together a bunch.
Pranking is a great way to indicate the underlying absurdities of the world.
I'm not sure we're presenting ourselves as real role models. I don't think literature has ever been a real place for role models.
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