The Little Boy and the Monkeys: Children’s picture book, needs pictures….

For years and years I’ve been told by people that I should be writing children’s books. I am an imaginative and engaging storyteller and can think very fast on my feet and weave just about any random set of ideas together. I also have some long-running serial stories that I tell my children that typically involved unicorns, dragons, koala bears, and, sometimes, tea and little cakes.
A few days ago, after having told a long story to my 4yo son G-, I decided to sit down and write the story out. I then sent it to a couple of chlidren’s book agents, just to find out, disappointingly, that it’s an incredibly difficult market and that it’s almost impossible to come in “out of the cold” and get a children’s picture book published. Humph!
Of course, since I don’t want to illustrate my book, I only have half the package anyway, with a story but no illustrations. So, here’s my idea: if you’re an artist and want to do something fun and risky, why don’t you take my story, illustrate it, and then we can collectively shop it around to a few children’s book publishers?
In the meantime, here’s the story for your reading pleasure…

THE LITTLE BOY AND THE MONKEYS

© 2005 by Dave Taylor. All Rights Reserved

Once upon a time there was a little boy
who lived in a lovely house on the edge of a forest.
One day he came home from school — and he really
loved school and hated to ever come home — and
decided to explore the woods behind his house.
He walked along a secret path through the trees
a path that only he knew about
and eventually came to a meadow.
The little boy walked into the meadow
and was looking around
when much to his surprise
a bunch of nuts flew through the air
and bonked him on the noggin!
He said “Hey! Who threw those?”
but no-one answered. The leaves rustled,
but no-one said a thing.
Then the little boy said
“Come out, come out, whoever you are!”
and out of the trees…
Two little monkeys jumped out
and landed right in front of him!
“Wow! Monkeys!” he said,
“what are you doing here in the woods?”
The monkeys explained to him that they’d
escaped from the zoo! They asked the little
boy to keep their secret and not tell anyone.
He said “okay” and then he thought a bit and said
“aren’t you hungry?” to which the monkeys nodded
their heads earnestly and said “oh yes!”
“What do monkeys like to eat?” he asked.
“We like bananas,” the two monkeys answered,
“and apples, and …. chocolate chip cookies.”
“Chocolate chip cookies??” The boy was amazed!
Who ever heard of monkeys who liked chocolate chip cookies?
It just didn’t make any sense.
The monkeys giggled and said “well, we haven’t ever
tasted chocolate chip cookies, but we see so many kids
walk past our cage with cookies that we’re sure we’d
really like them!”
The boy laughed and said “You two stay here,
I’ll run home and get some food.”
He turned to go, then suddenly turned back and said
“and don’t get into any trouble!”
The boy ran through the woods,
along his secret path,
all the way to his house.
He burst through the door and his Mom,
who was working on her computer, looked up and said
“Oh, hello! I thought you were exploring the woods today?”
The boy said “I am, but I got hungry. Can I grab a snack?”
“Of course,” his Mom said, “and take a banana. I just
bought a whole bunch.”
The little boy grabbed his backpack and stuffed the entire
bunch of bananas in, added two apples, two bottles of water
in case the monkeys were thirsty, and a small bag of
chocolate chip cookies.
As he ran back out the door he said
“Thanks Mom!”
and flew down the trail towards the meadow.
When he burst into the meadow, it was quiet.
Suspiciously quiet.
But before he could say a word,
the two hungry monkeys were standing in front of him,
eagerly waiting for some lunch.
The little boy handed over the bunch of bananas and said
“take your time eating these, monkeys.”
But it was no use.
The monkeys squeezed the bottom of each banana,
making the banana pop out of the peel,
and snarfed them all up, the entire bunch,
in just a few minutes!
Then they asked if there was anything else.
The boy pulled out two shiny red apples
and the monkeys snarfed them up too,
as fast as you could say “shiny red apple!”
Then the boy gave them water,
which they were glad to get,
but the two monkeys put the water on the ground and
looked inside the boy’s backpack.
When they saw the chocolate chip cookies,
they grabbed them and excitedly ripped the bag open,
each grabbing a cookie and
biting off a big bite…
… just to spit them back out again!
“Oh no!” the little boy said, “don’t you like cookies?”
The monkeys shook their heads and looked rueful. They’d
never tasted cookies before and they Didn’t Like Them!
Then the boy ate the rest of the cookies and told them
“that’s okay. Who ever heard of monkeys who ate cookies?”
The monkeys drank their water and
they all laughed about crazy cookie monkeys!
Then the monkeys told the little boy “because you were
so nice to us, we’re going to teach you the secret ways
of the monkey clan!”
The little boy looked a bit unsure and said “um, what’s
involved with that?”
The monkeys ran to a tree,
dragging the boy along,
and said “it’s time to learn how to climb a tree like
us monkeys can climb trees!”
“Cool!” the little boy said,
and tried to climb up the tree with the monkeys.
But while they were fast and quickly got to the top,
he was slow and couldn’t get far from the ground.
“Oh ho!” the monkeys said to each other,
“what can we do with this little boy who
cannot climb trees like us?”
Then they got a great idea!
“Take your shoes and socks off” the monkeys said,
and the boy, barefoot, said “now I can climb better?”
“Oh yes!” said the monkeys, “use your toes like your fingers.”
Next thing you knew,
the little boy was climbing up that old tree
just as fast as the monkeys, and laughing the whole time.
When they were all sitting on the topmost branch,
the little boy looked at his watch and cried out
“Oh no! I’ll be late for supper!”
Without another word, he waved at his monkey friends and
ran back home – from branch to branch, without ever
touching the ground!
When he got to the edge of the forest,
the little boy jumped down and ran into his house.
And never noticed that he didn’t have any
shoes or socks on.

THE END

© 2005 by Dave Taylor. All Rights Reserved

2 comments on “The Little Boy and the Monkeys: Children’s picture book, needs pictures….

  1. To start with your book has 952 words. Usually a story written to this age level has closer to 500 words. Children’s picture story books, like those written by Chris Van Allsburg, are written for an older group (5-10) may have up to 1,000 words. I have a children’s book that I edited down from 1,600 plus words to about 1,000 and I had legendary illustrator from mad magazine and EC comics, Jack Davis, illustrate it.
    “Bobby and the Magic Penâ€? is a standard 32 page children’s picture story book. It is completed and even laid out ready for printing and I am now looking for a good agent to get it published. A publisher might still edit the text and change the page layouts, but it looks great now. I have tested it on various age levels in elementary classes grades K-5th with good success.
    I wouldn’t loose faith on completing your story. You may need to edit your text a few time (there are a variety of good books out there that explain how to edit manuscripts) and you’ll have to edit it again once it is illustrated so the text doesn’t discuss what the picture already show. Publishers can hold a children’s picture book in edit for up to two years. You might try a local art school to locate an illustrator. It would be much cheaper if noone you like responds to this blog.
    Regardless as to whether you get your story published or you decide to self publish, it will always be treasured by those who know you and can enjoy having a story to read written by someone they are close to.
    Best of luck, determination is the fuel for success.
    Joe

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