Leo, the Author

Leo wrote a book at school and came home all excited, wanting me to submit it. “Wouldn’t it be funny,” he said, “if my book got published on the first try and you’ve had, like, FIVE rejections.” (I didn’t correct him on the FIVE part.) Yes, I agreed, that would be freaking hilarious.

I thought I’d post a little summary and a review of this manifesto for you so you can see the author’s complete control of the craft. Caution: spoiler alerts below.


In Boat, a penguin named MeowMeow is“happy, kind, and misunderstood.” She accidentally takes a boat to Hawaii, does a bunch of random sh** that has absolutely nothing to do with getting lost, then in the last line seems to remember the whole point of the story and “siald a boat home.” The end.

Here’s my review of the book:

Boat is the story of a penguin named MeowMeow who gets lost in Hawaii and must find her way back home. While the plot left several story lines dangling and was confusing at times, the ending was wholly satisfying. Boat draws readers in with an intriguing beginning, though MeowMeow does not actually seem “misunderstood” as events unfold. The book could use additional editing, as MeowMeow seems to board the same boat twice without ever getting off in the final 10% of the book.


On the bright side, the artwork of Boat takes a minimalist approach, leaving plenty of room for readers to add their own interpretations and also hair. MeowMeow the Penguin’s resemblance to a human with a sick mustache shows the artist’s ability to not conform to industry standards of penguin beauty. For this alone, Boat is worth at least a skim-read.


Leo wants me to type up his story and submit it today. He said he’s going to work an author’s note this morning–he’s that confident it will get picked up. Meanwhile, on the other side of the kitchen table, I have taken a break from submitting my picture books because I’m so sure of the opposite.

Today I will try to channel my inner Leo, or perhaps my inner MeowMeow, and write as if I am God’s greatest gift to literacy ever.

Or at least, God’s second greatest gift.


Salmon chowder
Roasted asparagus.

After I published this post, I felt actually really bad about it and decided to add this addendum: Leo’s book is actually a super sweet story that makes way more sense than I may have made it seem.  I was actually super impressed by it—the plot is about how the penguin is having fun but still missing home, Leo includes a bunch of onomatopoeias, and MeowMeow is freaking adorable.

There. Now I feel better. But I’m not deleting that stuff on top because it’s funny, and it’s also kind of true.

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