Thursday, January 15, 2009
Sally's People are characters I invented for books, short stories and poems. Their creation spans the last three decades of the 20th Century and (so far) the first of the 21st.
Dreadful David is a character I created back in the early 1980s for a picture book of the same name. Young David, an energetic child or two or three years old, was very loosely based on my son, but David's exploits are mostly invented. "Dreadful David" was illustrated by the wonderful Craig Smith, published by Omnibus Books in 1984, and is still, amazingly, in print as of 2009. It was my twelfth published book, but my first picture book and, not knowing what I was doing, I made a lot of tactical errors.
Here are just a few of them:
David was very young. (The received wisdom is that child readers prefer protagonists older than they are themselves.)
The story was told in rhyme.
David was a naughty little boy, and thus a bad role model.
David was a naughty little boy, and thus a stereotype.
Granny smacks his bottom.
For some mysterious reason, none of this mattered, for David is fondly remembered by many readers, and still goes down a treat with children to this day.