Three Random Picture-Book Thoughts

  • Inspired by Meet the Robinsons: Has there ever been a really good full-length movie based on a picture book? Jumanji; The Polar Express; the Dr. Seuss abominations . . . Ehh. Shrek 1 & 2 were okay, I guess, but still I can't think of a truly successful adaptation. Can you?
  • There seem to be a bunch of picture books about expressing your inner individuality and freedom through dance: Giraffes Can't Dance, Dancing Matilda, others I'm forgetting, and one manuscript on this theme seems to turn up in almost every batch of SQUIDs. The nice thing about them is they usually have good rhythm to their rhyme; and I guess it makes sense that writers choose to write about dancing, as it's much harder to write about singing or art and achieve the proper effect through your words alone. Still, these books very rarely have stories more complicated than the basic Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer plot, and they can often come off as didactic, and given their numbers, I worry they're approaching cliche, so writers: If you've gotta dance, do something interesting with it.
  • Finally, thanks to you all for your comments on my bad picture-book manuscript below. I was a little surprised that you thought that was so terrible--because honeys, I can do (and sometimes read) much, much worse! This is the revised version, with all child appeal carefully excised (no ice cream, nail polish, or cute shoes, per Anonymous's comment on her five-year-old friend), and any hint of emotional plot or narrative direction removed as well. (One of the clothing brands is a fake -- can you spot it? I had to Google "designer jeans" to find enough brand names.)

Cheryl and Katy were best friends.
One day they were sitting around their glamorous apartments trying to decide what to do.
“I know!” Katy said.
“Let’s go have salads!”
So they went to the local diner.
Katy had a Caesar salad.
Cheryl had spinach with pears and goat cheese.
“That was fun,” said Cheryl.
“What should we do next?”
“I know!” Katy said.
“Let’s go get facials!”
So they went to the spa.
Katy had a deep pore purifying facial.
Cheryl had a restorative facial peel.
“Mmmm, a clean, soft face,” said Cheryl.
“What should we do next?”
“I know!” Katy said.
“Let’s go shopping!”
So they went to Bloomingdale’s jeans department.
Cheryl tried on a pair of Juicy Couture.
Katy tried on a pair of True Religion.
Cheryl tried on a pair of Diesel.
Katy tried on a pair of Morphine Generation.
Cheryl tried on a pair of Susana Monaco.
Katy tried on a pair of Primp Clothing.
Cheryl tried on a pair of Foley Corinna.
Katy tried on a pair of Nadia & Nadya.
Cheryl tried on a pair of Little Giraffe.
Katy tried on a pair of Blue Cult.
Finally Cheryl decided to buy a pair of Seven for All Mankind.
And Katy chose a pair of Citizens of Humanity.
They toasted their new purchases with martinis—
And talked about their stupid ex-boyfriends.
It was a wonderful day!