Why do adults get all bent about the content of Little Miss Poobar Does Whatever when kids just want you to read the damn thing already? That's my sweeping, minimifidian and somewhat controversial position on the discipline, and with that in mind I approached this project without too many concerns about bruising tiny flowers/developmental psychology etc etc. Besides, I'd made books for my first round of nieces and nephews; they were happy with the results and that should be good enough for anyone.
My partner works at a primary school and I spend some time in their library checking out the mainstream and while these commercial efforts are yes, very lovely and well produced and oozing high-minded intentions... I dunno. They're too... something. Slick. In that processed-cheesy sort of way. Like there's this enormous looming edifice of plush, watchful convention and downtalking and politenessness breathing hot-chocolate breath into your face every time you turn a page. There is way too much pandering to unformed, over-anticipated sensibilities, which seems to me a product of insecure educational policy in general and a source of the shitty spinelessness that afflicts so much contemporary fiction per se.
Am I the only one who finds something a bit icky and perverse about the resources devoted to crafting and honing and finessing something that would be perhaps be better off simple, organic and even spontaneous? I mean, I don't really care if I am, but it's from this point that I urge you to be creative on your own childrens' behalf.
Kids seem just as predatory and demanding today as when I was personally larval. Let's be comprehensively humane and give them what they know and want in ten minutes or less. Everyone loves dinosaurs and everyone knows about houses; I decided to shrink the former and stuff them into the latter and stage the whole thing thusly.
Text is hardly ever the problem, in my experience. This lot was pretty much farted out in about an hour and anyone enjoying even the most basic facility with verse can do the same. Pick a topic and write a few silly rhymey lines and you're three-quarters of the way there. I mean- Tiny Little Dinosaurs- does it sound like you need a degree?
Book illustration proper is a hugely skilled discipline and currently quite beyond my rusty self as far as commercial standards are concerned, but I can still make a watercolour pencil my bitch. So there was that in my favour. Since I wanted it to look like something their aunt drew for them on a boring weekend, my lapsed artist status actually came in handy. (Yes, one of the dinosaurs defecates, but you know... it's motivated.)
Ultimately, you're doing this for children in your own circle; whatever images you can manage will probably still impress them- kids are good like that. Stick figures + a few Photoshop filters can be just as cool as holographic hi-res dragons.
If you're a complete pictorial retard, there's always digital capture- encourage your kids to dress up so they can act out scenes from the text and you can use the photographs from that chaotic proceeding to go with the words. That would be totally awesome.
There's a few other kids books and bits of kids books lying around in the analogue archives so I might dust those off and post them in future.
A note on the general suitability of this site for underaged sensibilities- obviously, there are issues with this, depending on your level of prudery/helicoptering. If you go directly to view the book, there's nothing to besmirch their little minds except the 'bitch' in the category 'Kitchen Bitch' in the overhead menu bar (the thing at the very top of the page) Because it's a scrolling book, it's easy to just scoot down past that nastiness before you show the kids, but honestly, I can't change the layout just for one item and let's face it- they probably already know what it means and will most likely be calling you that under their breath before you can say puberty is a horrible place for everyone involved. If you're having trouble viewing TLD and the site in general on your older iPad or laptop since I've added more flash and switched to 25 items per page, update your operating system or flash player and you should see an improvement.
Find Tiny Little Dinosaurs onsite H E R E. You can access it and the print out images via the sidebar >> any time you like, and if you'd really like a .PDF for home use, just hit us up via Contact and I can email you one.
Yes, for free, because I'm a sucker like that.