In Which I Have Feelings About a Piece of Beloved Children’s Literature

Meetings that could be emails.

Full-length films based on 3-minute videos.

Stories that could have been newspaper captions.


“Police stop traffic to let ducks cross street.”

Boom. Done.

See, Robert McCloskey? See how easy that was? There’s no need to create all the rest of this mishegas: “The ducks found a place to build a nest. But it was dangerous! So they left. Then they found another place to build their nest. That one was better. People threw them bread and they very much appreciated it!” Gee, people threw bread to ducks in a pond? CALL THE GLOBE! CALL THE TIMES! CALL LE MONDE! THE PEOPLE MUST KNOW!!!

Ok, so there were a lot of ducklings. Ten, I think. That was kind of amazing, I’ll admit. But I don’t give two hoots in hell what their names are. Don’t waste my time. You’re not planning on furthering their characters, so I don’t need to know. They don’t have an arc. In fact, that’s my beef with this whole story. Nobody changes. McCloskey is an award winning author who should know better. This story isn’t a journey, it’s about Things That Happen.

My turn! I’m going to write a story about things that happen too, and wait for my Newberry Honor Medal.


Get Out of the Way for Me and My Dog

by Amy Gorelow

I got up this morning and decided Augie the Doggie needed exercise. I had to put the gate up, because otherwise Miri would want to go, and I can’t walk two dogs at one time–they would tear me apart! I realized I wasn’t wearing my watch, and thought, Oh, too bad. Now I’ll never know how many calories I burned or have a map of our travels.

Augie needed a longer walk because the second one would be very short, if it happened at all. So we decided to go to Indian Boundary Park. We saw a very small dog. It was barking. Its owner picked it up, presumably because she saw Augie on one corner and a big German Shepherd on the other corner! She must have thought our bigger dogs were very mean, and going to eat her dog. “Arf! Arf!” said the little dog, and the bigger dogs ignored it. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, Augie thought as he walked through Rogers Park. He pulled on the leash. This way! insisted Augie. I said, “Yes, we’re going the long way!” And we did.


I’m stopping, you know why? Because I’m bored. And I can only imagine other readers feel the same way. I’d like to know what separates my story from Make Way For Ducklings besides an ending and a workshop. Answers?