I just braved the blunt honesty of a couple dozen preschoolers at storytime. What was I thinking?
When I arrived at a local preschool to read my new book, Cat in the Clouds, the kids were happily and noisily making spiders out of tape and construction paper. The teacher coaxed them over to the storytelling corner of the room. The true test of my book was about to begin.
One girl seemed reluctant to leave her spider, which still only had four legs. But she sat patiently through the whole story. She sat with a minimum of fidgeting during the question-and-answer session, as her classmates asked about the cats and sledding and weather atop Mount Washington. After the last question, she sighed, exasperated, and said, "NOW can we go back to making spiders?"
Preschoolers pull no punches when it comes to literary criticism. One day I was reading The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey. This book was made into a moving picture version narrated by Forest Whitaker, which unfortunately means that any adult reading the paper-and-ink version will now have their reading compared to a famous voice actor. "The TV tells the story better," I was informed. You can always count on four-year-olds for blunt honesty.