Alright, forgive the alliteration, but I couldn't resist considering the subject matter. For the last few weeks I have been reading to my son every night from a e-book I had inadvertently stumbled upon. The book is The Superhero Chronicles: Birth of Moonlight by Josh Kilen, a serial bedtime story book that attempts to engage a child's imagination while allowing for quality time that only requires a few minutes of the parents'. All in all it proved to be enjoyable for both my son and me, especially with adding in an ad libed 'tune in next time' ending each night.
But, as fun as it all was I couldn't help but see little aspects that nagged at me. Mr. Kilen has apparently produced a good 4 such books geared for reading to the little ones pre-sandman visit. However as we started on our second I have to say that not all of them really seem to work as they could. They are good works, to be fair, but part of what rubs me is their vocabulary. Some of the wording alone just doesn't quite fit in an easy to understand and enjoy way for children. Couple that with some elements that could easily be out of place and you have a fun story for your children that you might see them lose interest at times.
The whole thing has been playfully taunting me in the ol' noodle. Now, it would be easy to proclaim loudly to the wind: "I can do better than this, easily!" But, well, in short unlike some I lack the bravado for such. Honestly I think a recent family tragedy has been affecting me and as I struggle to deal with it myself and I see an opportunity to attempt to invest in some high-quality quality time with my children. So I suppose instead this is going to be an experiment of sorts.
What I am considering is a tentative foray into a serialized short story for kids. With any luck it will be in similar brief episodes that attempt to leave the intended audience looking for what will come next. Considering my son seemed immediately taken with the idea of a superhero kid story I thought I might start there. But what kind of superpower would work, what kind of ability might appeal to a child? And then this hit me: Consider powers that are easy to identify with a child, perhaps that even resonate with some fear or need. One possibility is that of light manipulation. Say for example a super-kid could create bright light, even focus it into beams and such to blast things. Most kids could identify with the idea of a super-kid who could blast the shadows away and easily accept such an ability as that of a hero/good guy. In contrast though a perfect villain would be that of someone who could counter by sucking away light. Lets say they could create shadows, hide etc. We could then cause understandable conflict in the form of our hero being afraid of the dark and struggling to combat the very living incarnation of that fear in the hopes of safeguarding others.
Couple that with some funny, a dash of some serious moments a kid could understand and plenty of pauses for the parent to emphasize/savor a turn of phrase and I think you could come up with a bedtime buffet. What do you think? Well in any event I think I will give this a go and see what happens. I am sure my son won't mind being a guinea pig for this little experiment and I'll try to post the episodes as I go.
At the very least it should give me something to try and focus my mind on.