Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Reading Should Be Fun

This is what goes through my mind when I write for children. Kids like books that make them giggle and include fun pictures. I know when I was a young reader, I wanted to know what characters in a book looked like. Of course as I matured, I didn't need pictures, but just enough detail to create images in my mind as I read, so I use this as a guideline when I write YA stories.

For this reason, some readers may notice I write what is called sparse prose, which means I don't go into every detail of a character or a scene, but just give the reader enough to spark the imagination.

Both picture books I have written and illustrated are meant to fun and full of kid-friendly pictures. I guess that's why when I get a review from an adult like this one for Attack of Dust Bunnies, I understand not everyone will enjoy the story, but children's books picture books are not meant to really "have a point." If they were, Dr. Seuss would never have delighted so many children with his picture books.

I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Who better to review this book than my 3-year-old and 7-year-old nephews. This book didn't hold the 3-year-old's interest and the 7-year-old said he didn't like it. Most kids books don't really have much of a point, but as I was reading this one I honestly kept thinking, "what's the point?" It didn't flow well.

Books do get mixed review, so I think as a writer I have to move on and keep writing, not letting negativity get me down. I look to readers like the one who left the review below to keep me going.

This installment of the Hairingtons by M. Allman has them all up in arms over a dust bunny infestation in their attic. I suppose, like the gum in "The Peanut Buttor Tweatment", that dust bunnies don't mesh with this hairy family. So, they do what anyone would do--they call in the exterminator. 

My 4 year old son and I liked this one too. I hope to read more Hairington stories in the future.

So, I take the bad with the good, and hope that it all evens out. But, lighthearted, fun is what I'm striving for, not a lesson or point.

Alfred C. Bogeyman is another lighthearted tale about three friends who seek out and battle the boogeyman that they believe lives in a small house behind the park. The boogeyman feeds on fear, and likes to torment small children, like Adrian's little brother. I've gotten very good feedback on the story, with the exception of this one review:
I was asked to read this short story by the author. This does not bias my review.

Alfred C. Bogeyman by M. Allman is a short story about a group of boys ready to defeat the scary boogieman that is giving one of their younger brothers' nightmares. 

The boys are likeable and it's a quick read. That said, I wanted a little more substance. I know it's harder to get more in a shorter story, but you can really pack a punch in a smaller space if done right. I wanted a bigger twist, or set of twists to unfold. The story has a good frame and can be reworked to really pop.

As it is now, I can see how this could be enjoyable to grade school boys especially around Halloween time. That said, in its current state, this story was not for me.

It is review like this that confuse writers, I believe it is because instead of looking at the book from a reading perspective, the reviewer is trying to read it as a editor and has suggestions for changes, which I am not willing the make. Once a writer finishes a final draft of a story it is "as is."  Take it or  leave it, but don't try to suggest changes, such as more twists. 

I think some people who review books are writers who look for what they believe should be improved, instead of just reading the story for fun or leisure. So, when I review a book, I review it as a reader, not a writer. I like books that are entertaining  and hold my interest. I have read books that are beautifully written, but just do not hold my interest.  So, it comes down to a reader's personal taste and expectations. For this reason, I  no longer ask anyone for reviews. I wait until a reader who bought the book leaves a review, as these are the most telling for me. Like this one from a 10-year-old reader:

The book starts off with a boy named Adrian who hears his brother Sam screaming from in his room and remembers that his brother is being scared by the boogeyman.  He and his friends go on a search to find the boogeyman’s house. When they find it thethe house, they know they will have to come back and defeat the bogeyman. Will they succeed?  Read to find out!

This was a great book! It was about a kid who stands up for his brother. I like that Adrian does that for Sam. It is very kind to do that for anyone especially someone related to you. It had a lot of suspense; I like that in a book. I hope you find this book is as good as I did!

Happy Reading! 

No comments: