Pranking exposes the truth that underneath this appearance of order is joy, laughter, and disorder.
Too often we tell kids pleasant stories devoid of truth, and stories without truth are not good stories. Our audience deserves more from us.
I’d much rather have a book that a few people love intensely than a book that a lot of people like okay.
Danger is the snack food of a true sleuth.
It’s a sort of patronizing idea that literature for children has to feature role models of exemplary behavior. I think not only is that bogus, but it leads to really boring books.
Every Librarian is a highly trained agent. An expert in intelligence, counterintelligence, Boolean searching, and hand-to-hand combat.
I think the trick of writing a good picture book manuscript is to leave that space for illustration. An illustrated novel can do the same thing.
Not only is a good prank harmless, but, like a good story, it reveals an essential truth that would otherwise be hidden.
I read The Stinky Cheese Man as an adult. I missed that book when I was a kid. I grew up mostly with books bought at yard sales, picture books from the fifties to 1975, which is really a lucky thing.
I’m not sure we’re presenting ourselves as real role models. I don’t think literature has ever been a real place for role models.
We put authors on such a pedestal, and it’s a moment that humanizes the whole thing, and lends an absurdity to what otherwise is a “please sit with your hands on your lap” kind of event.
I love those adult writers with the pranking ethos, [Don] DeLillo and [Donald] Barthelme and David Foster Wallace. I don’t see any reason not to bring those kinds of influences to bear on books for children.
Kevin Cornell and I have worked together a bunch.
Pranking is a great way to indicate the underlying absurdities of the world.