What follows is a content outline for an idea I have for a children’s book. It still needs work and will almost certainly go through many more iterations before I either consider it done, or relegate it to my nebulous folder of works-in-progress.
In the meantime, it has occurred to me, with all of my favorite kids’ books the illustrations play as vital a role as the words. With James Thurber, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein (above illustration), Oliver Jeffers, among others. So, in an effort to add momentum to this work, I’m asking for your help.
* * *
HELP WANTED: Illustrator with simple, yet edgy, even irreverent style to illustrate a simple, edgy, irreverent children’s book. Compensation and credit negotiable and very fair.
* * *
If you, or if you think some illustrator you know, might find this story inspiring and possibly be interested in collaborating on this project, please email me at email@example.com. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
* * *
Imagine How Far
Story by Stuart Greenbaum
Illustration by …
Theme: You can go as far as your imagination takes you
Audience: Children, ages 5 and up
- Once upon a time Romy had great fun goofing about with her Grandpa. That was before …
- Grandpa told Romy he “didn’t stick his landing” when he flew off the playground swing. Romy saw him wink to her mother, so she wasn’t so sure about that. Besides, she muttered, “I’m the one with the real bad leg.”
- Whatever, Romy thought, as she collapsed into the corner of Grandpa’s living room while her mother fixed Grandpa’s bandages and positioned pillows to make him comfortable.
- Romy worried whether she and Grandpa — she called him “Goofy Grandpa,” because he was — would ever again go to fun places together. He was, after all, the shy and lonely little girl’s only real playmate.
- “Soon …” Goofy Grandpa said, knowingly, as he nodded to Romy. “Come over here, I have something special to share with you.”
- “Oh, that’s okay Goofy Grandpa,” Romy said.
- “Please Romster, this is important,” Goofy Grandpa said softly. Then, with one deep breath after another, he blew up a giant yellow balloon and tied it to a string.
- “Here, this is for you.” As he handed the string to Romy, he whispered, “Hold on tight! It’s full of magic, more than enough to take you wherever you want to go — until I get better.”
- “Thank you, Goofy Grandpa,” Romy said, taking the balloon and offering a half-hearted smile. “I just wish you could …”
- Goofy Grandpa interrupted, “I know, I will … But first you need to take this very magical journey of your own, okay?”
- “Okaaay,” Romy said, shrugging her shoulders. She was tired, not really in the mood for goofy chatter or magic tricks.
- But, as it so happened, the magical balloon was … neither tired nor in a mood. And off it floated.
- Magically, all the way to the neighborhood playground, with Romy chasing behind. She scrambled atop the jungle gym to grab the dangling string. But the giant rubbery yellow ball of air lazily drifted away, just beyond her reach.
- “Ah-oh!” Romy shouted, as Goofy Grandpa’s magical balloon climbed higher and higher … and farther.
- The wind carried the balloon all the way uptown to Yankee Stadium. Romy scrambled up the highest bleachers, but the magical balloon soared past — like a magnificent homerun ball — beyond the grasp of her outreached mitt.
- An unhelpful breeze then shifted the balloon back downtown and across the river to the Statue of Liberty. When Romy reached out from inside Liberty’s flame, once more the balloon barely slipped past.
- Like it was playfully teasing with Romy, the magical balloon reversed course again and glided back uptown as Romy merrily skipped after it from below.
- For a moment, the magical balloon hovered above the very tall Empire State Building. Romy watched through the rooftop telescope as it slowly sailed away, getting tinier and tinier, fading in and out of clouds high above the city.
- Until … the giant yellow magical balloon slowly vanished into the very dark and starry nighttime sky.
- Romy’s only hope was to hop aboard the next available rocket ship and speed after the balloon, as it drifted deeper and deeper into the outermost of outer space.
- “Phew,” Romy said, when she finally spotted the yellow balloon in the farthest corner of the universe, snuggled among a bunch of other balloons of all colors. Romy gripped tightly onto the string dangling from her balloon and wiggled and giggled as she magically floated across and around the universe before returning back home to Goofy Grandpa’s.
- As Romy rubbed her eyes, Goofy Grandpa smiled from across the room. She was still a bit weary from her otherworldly experience, but pulled the giant yellow balloon down from the corner of the living room ceiling and shuffle-hopped to his side. She began sharing all the funny and goofy details of her amazing, magical balloon journey.
- “Phew,” Goofy Grandpa said, when Romy paused to catch her breath. He winked at her mother, and added, “All by yourself?! Imagine how far …” before Romy began again, to tell him the part about the homerun ball and …
Love it. What a great story full of adventures.