“Ramone’s Long Sleep” by Mickey Kulp

And here’s the first piece of advice that I would like to put out there for everyone who thinks they can write a children’s book; remember who is going to be reading it. Over and over again. That’s right. An adult. Who is going to buy it? An adult.

This has all sorts of impact on what you should be writing, and the quality of the poetry is first on the list. Good kids’ books have, above all, great poetry: lines flow smoothly, rhythm is subtle but important. Sentence structure is not twisted in order to fit the rhyme scheme. There are no extra words stuck in to make the lines scan; it sounds like normal speech.

So when I see a line like, “On Mars he threw some dust. It looked just like some rust.” I’m thinking, “After I read that for the thirtieth time, I’m going to throw this book at someone.”

Moral of the story: if you’re writing a kid’s book, the poetry can’t look like a kid wrote it.

Likewise the art. I rather like the art in this book, especially the hi-tech status screen. But the style of the painting and the fact that the main character is in a spacesuit most of the time means that we seldom see his face. Thus no connection, no emotion. Good children’s book art appeals to the emotions. It reveals character. I would suggest saving the “artsy” works for the dream sequence. Give us more realistic paintings and more tech stuff for the daytime world. 

Last but not least, plotline: beginning, middle, end. This story has no ending.

Sorry, a nice start, but this book still needs a lot of work.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

About the Author: Gordon Long

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