Sunday, May 12, 2019

PPBF BOOK DISCUSSION: Adults in Picture Books Featuring Move It, Miss MacIntosh! by Peggy Robbins Janousky

Writers will often hear that they should either feature only children or minimize adult presence in their children's picture books. For the most part, this is true!

However, there are exceptions to this rule. How do you tell an exception? There are a few ways.

1.  If the adult is child-like and appealing to children. This provides an opportunity for little ones to identify with and connect with them.
2. It just works for the story, regardless. Extremely rare, but it happens.

Let's take a look at Move It, Miss Macintosh, which provides a wonderful example of how a book about an adult could work, and work well.

MOVE IT, MISS MACINTOSH! by Peggy Robbins Janousky
Art by Meghan Lands
Annick Press, Ltd., 2016

Starting with the cover, Miss Macintosh is somewhat child-like in her appearance, she loves bright colors, especially purple, bows, and cats. And she has a child-like concern: Racing to get to school on time. So already, she begins to connect with the child reader. Then from the first spread of the manuscript, the text works to connect Miss Macintosh with the child reader. It is her first day of school and she doesn't want to go.

Title - Page One

Page Two
Miss Macintosh woke up one morning certain of two things:

1. It was the first day of school. 
2. She wasn't going. 

Page Three
"I think I'll just stay home today," said Miss McIntosh as she 
snuggled back under the covers. 

Certainly, many little ones have feared the first day of school and will see themselves in Miss Macintosh!

She sounds like a kid, right? But also sounds like some adults I know. Rings true on both levels. So clever!

On the next page, the principal addresses Miss Macintosh's "bad case of the butterflies" and even shares an experience with Mr. Jitters. It's a wonderful way to impart suggestions for coping to both Miss Macintosh and the child reader.

As the story progresses, Miss Macintosh continues to exhibit her reluctance to get dressed, eat her breakfast and brush her teeth to various members of the school faculty (thereby also introducing children to staff they will meet and making them more familiar), but when faced with consequences, does make the right choices.

Perhaps kids will enjoy the juxtaposition of a teacher being in a child's shoes, while still feeling empathy for the situation. I think the heart of this story is stated when the music teacher, Miss Patience says, "everyone's in the same boat." Maybe, sharing this message with incoming children, allowing them to consider that the teachers are new to the classes too, makes the first day of school a little less intimidating.

So while I am usually in the "adults don't belong in or need a heavy presence in picture books" camp, I am a huge fan of this book and think it's brilliant. I think it embodies both of the rules I mentioned above -- it works because the adult is child-like AND it works because it works for the story.

Yours in Words and Pictures, 

Lynne Marie 
Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten, Scholastic, 2011
    Illustrated by Anne Kennedy
Hedgehog's 100th Day of School, Scholastic, 2017
    Illustrated by Lorna Hussey
    Book Trailer -
    Illustrated by Lorna Hussey
    Illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo
    Illustrated by Parwinder Singh
Children's Author Lynne Marie on FB

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Monday, May 6, 2019

ReVISION Week - Mark Your Calendars!

Spreading the word about a fantastic even which features my favorite word: reVISIONing! @LaurenKerstein, @MicBabay, @KatieFrawley1, @jopastro, @iwriteforkidz, & me @Literally_Lynne