23 May 2008

Why Does the Cows’ Laptop Click, Daddy?

I'm grateful that Gail Gauthier pointed me to this Slate slide show assembled and annotated by Erica S. Perl of recent picture books (plus Richard Scarry) and how they reflect modern technology--or often don't.

Why do the cows in Click, Clack, Moo practice Typewriter Realism for readers who may never have seen a typewriter, especially one that doesn't have to be plugged in? Does that actually reflect the typewriter nostalgia of grown-up picture-book creators and buyers?

As for cell phones versus land lines (which is what we used to call "phones"), I have a picture-book manuscript whose plot depends on a character tripping over the cord that connects a phone to a handset. If I sell that, I'm not sure any of the target audience will have seen such a phone cord. Unfortunately, I've said that for years, and have come no closer to polishing the dummy for submission.

Back to the slide show: I especially admire the The Sure Thing reference.


MotherReader said...

I never minded the typewriter, because I thought that the old-fashioned nature of it was part of the charm of the book. I'm do get annoyed by sloppy inclusions of obsolete technology. (So get rid of that phone cord.)

The Slate thing was cool.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

A year ago when considering what book to read to a 1st grade class (Drop Everything And Read Day) I looked at Click Clack, but one of the librarians said when she read it she would have to start out by explaining what typewriter was.

So I went with And Tango Makes Three.

J. L. Bell said...

Tango seems like a fine choice. A simple, straightforward story that kids can easily understand.

Some parents, on the other hand...

Glenn Ingersoll said...

One little boy, upon my reading that two penguins were hatching an egg, giggled, and said, "They're boys!"

Others shushed him and said, "That's all right!"

It was quite a mixed race/culture group -- latino, asian, indian, euro. They were sweet. I had time to read a second book and read one based on an Eskimo tale, in tribute to my mother who fell in love with Alaska and as a school teacher became a bit of an ambassador for the place with Eskimo crafts and books and photos.

I live in Berkeley.