What do you think of my children's story idea?

by Beatrice Bachleda
(Cleveland, OH)

I'm wondering if you think my story idea would appeal to children of a certain age?

I have always enjoyed coming up with snippets of ideas that could potentially turn into great children's stories, but I have very little experience being around kids and reading children's literature.

I'd love to write a story about a goat named Sofia who goes around her farm and meets the other animals.

Each animal exhibits a certain trait of human nature. For example, she meets a horse who is jovial and loves to use a lot of idioms such as "spitting image" and "you don't look a day over 2 years!" He is almost flirting with Sofia's mother but is really just complimenting her, because Sofia's mother is a well-loved goat on the farm and deserves to hear nice things.

In that encounter, Sofia learns that saying nice things to people makes her feel good as well.

There are other encounters that reveal other common human "quirks."

I want my idea to be a picture book. I can just imagine the wonderful drawings of the farm animals and a cute, expressive goat as the main character.

Now, I am aware this sort of content may be a bit more advanced for the kids that most picture books are marketed to. I can't imagine a kid of 3 or 4 being able to understand a story like this. And I did check out some children's books from the library, mainly a few Patricia Polacco books and a George and Martha book, and saw there were picture books for ages 6-9 covering some pretty deep subjects.

(The Butterfly by Polacco comes to mind.)

However, now I'm wondering if my subject content may be too simple or childish for a kid who would read the aforementioned "older kids" book.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you made it all the way down here, thank you! And thank you in advance as well for any advice.

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Following through on a story idea
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Beatrice, I always come at things from the point of view of classic story structure. Here's my feedback:

Put more thought into Sofia.

The things you want to convey and depict may indeed be compelling, if properly executed. (That's always the catch.) But the inherent weakness I see in what you describe is your protagonist, your viewpoint character.

A compelling story is one about a main character with a major stake in events. A "well-loved goat" going around a farm receiving data on human nature doesn't sound like such a character. A goat in desperate need of such advice for a very real reason - now THAT'S a character.

For instance...

Sofia is a 4H goat, and while the other goats are loved by their keepers - and the goats love the children back - Sofia doesn't have much of a relationship with her master.

If this saddens her, and she wants to do something about it, and the other animals have some wisdom to offer, that'd be better to my mind. And if Sofia is really pursuing this information, even better.

That's my idea!

Protagonists, because they want desperately to improve their bad situation, exert heroic effort.

I hope that's a little helpful.

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