When Tootie gets her first teeth, it’s clear to her big brother that she’s no ordinary baby. But how to convince Mom and Dad?
It happens overnight: little sister Tootie goes from cuddly, ga-ga-googoo, I-want-my-ba-ba baby…vampire baby. Now she’s sinking her pointy fangs into everything — furniture, toys, and especially her big brother (“Youch, Tootie! No bite!” ). Mom insists that it’s just a phase, but Tootie’s brother knows better. Just look at her hairline! Or the fact that all her favorite foods are bloodred!
With perfect comic timing, Kelly Bennett and Paul Meisel give a fresh slant to the new-baby story, proving that even monstrous little arrivals have a funny way of staking their siblings’ affections.
Kelly Bennett writes books for children, both fiction and non-fiction, mostly picture books. She creates stories that celebrate imagination, families, friends, pets… all that goes into being a kid. Stories such as Not Norman: A Goldfish Story, inspired by her own funny goldfish; stories about families, including Dad and Pop, Your Daddy Was Just Like You, and Your Mommy Was Just Like You (called “perfect for intergenerational lap sharing” by School Library Journal); stories about kids being kids—whooping, twirling, cutting up, adventuring, playing around—such as Dance, Y’all, Dance; and brand new and shining, hot-off-the-press picture book One Day I Went Rambling.
Any other genres you want to write but have not yet?
I’d love to write a radio-play or a musical. When I’m writing, I see the scenes playing out in my mind. I hear the dialogue. I’m finding I have less patience with descriptions and long passages of narrative. Which might be part of what I love about writing picture books. Even when I know what I’m writing will become a picture book—which at most will be 700 words or less—I write thousands of words. It takes me that much writing to get to the heart, the meat, the interesting bits of my story. Once I know where I want the story to go, I begin chipping away at the huge block of text the way a sculpture goes after a hunk of rock. Bit by bit, I whittle away all the unnessesary stuff. My mantra is: Do I need this? Do I need this?
Recently, I’ve tried my hand at writing Reader’s Theatre scripts for my picture books. I’ve only written two, so far: Not Norman, A Goldfish Story; and Vampire Baby. (Both are downloadable from my website: www.kellybennett.com), it’s exciting and scary at the same time. Creating a script from a picture book requires a huge leap of faith—faith that whomever is going to read it will “get it,” and faith in the readers to “receive it” without the visuals, and without the author guiding them through the journey. Now, after taking a stab at turning my stories into plays, I think I’m ready to try writing a play or musical. I do love singing!