I definitely have a thing about the name Joseph. I chose it as my Confirmation name. It is also my son’s name. It was the name I used for the main character in my novel The Running Man. And my first and only attempt at writing a picture book was called Joseph’s Discovery.
The picture book was about a little boy called Joseph (what a shock!) who was obsessed by dinosaurs and dreamed of discovering a dinosaur of his own. In the story Joseph attempts to draw a T-Rex with some surprising results.
The book was inspired by my son Joe who loved dinosaurs and who, at Kindy, when others kids were drawing stick figures and mutant-looking cats and dogs, was drawing anatomically correct T-Rexes etc. At one stage he also started a journal where he was attempting to draw every individual dinosaur bone in every dinosaur known to science and label it with its correct scientific name. Joe was a constant source of amazement and wonder to Ard and me. He still is.
As well as writing the words I also added simple pencil sketches just to show how I thought the story would work. Here are two pages from near the beginning.
I liked the story and it was fun creating it. Unfortunately though it was rejected (along with some encouraging words) by each of the half-dozen or so publishers I sent it to.
Reading it now I think I know why. Or at least, I can see things in it I would change. These days too, I understand a bit more about how expensive picture books are to produce and why many are written but few are chosen. I realise too, that I’m no Shaun Tan. But then again, who is?
In the end, I made a special, one of a kind, picture book just for my special, one of a kind, son. And Joe’s always loved it. Gotta be happy with that.