Research, the Library and Kid’s Books, Oh My!

I spent yesterday morning at the library researching books from one of the literary agencies I want to pitch my next story to. Our local librarian was a huge help. I found most of the books I wanted easily, but she helped me locate what I didn’t see, and even trudged down to the basement to find seasonal titles that were still in storage. By the time I was done, I had a dozen books in  my arms that I brought home to read.

Most of them were fabulous. Some ended up being good comparisons to my next story, others not so much. There were two, however, that really caught my eye.

Pirates Don’t Change Diapers by Melissa Long, and illustrated by David Shannon is hilarious. Jeremy Jacob used to be a pirate, but today he is wondering what he will buy for his mother’s birthday with the twenty-seven cents in his pockets. Mom leaves Jeremy in charge of his sleeping baby sister while she runs to the store for milk.

A knock at the door draws his attention to the peephole. Jeremy’s pirate friends have arrived. Their ship has run aground and they need to dig up the treasure they buried in Jeremy’s backyard. But their yelling wakes up Jeremy’s little sister and they need to calm her before she wakes up her napping father. So, instead of searching for treasure, Jeremy and his pirate friends become babysitters. Diapers and spinach flow freely. When the treasure map disappears, the pirates fear they’ll be marooned.

I haven’t read Long and Shannon’s previous book, How I Became a Pirate, but I need to because this one was so funny. The Lil Diva saw the book on the kitchen table and screeched, “I love that book.” That doesn’t happen too often.  🙂

The other book I thought was really cute is Calvin Can’t Fly by Jennifer Berne, and illustrated by Keight Bendis.  Calvin is a starling born under the eaves of an old barn along with his siblings and thousands of cousins. Calvin is different from the others. Instead of discovering worms and grass, he discovered a book. While the others are dreaming of insects he’s dreaming of stories and legends.

When it comes time to learn to fly, Calvin is too busy reading. When it’s time to migrate, they must find a way to bring Calvin with them. A huge storm comes their way. Maybe Calvin’s reading will be helpful after all.

Between the zany but meaningful story, and the superb illustrations, Calvin Can’t Fly is sure to be a hit with youngsters. It should also help encourage reading.

I’ll be back to the library by tomorrow to pick up more books by this agency if I can. I’m not sure how things will turn out for me, but I’m sure discovering some great books.


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