People always ask me why we “reinvented” Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets and published a new version. After all, it was a good story.
It’s a great question that deserves a great answer. So I’ll try to answer it as best I can.
We really liked the old version too, but it went out of print. It’s a simple as that. These things happen.
But because we loved the book, we didn’t want to let it die a slow death in the bargain bin at Half Price Books or with a crazy third party seller on Amazon who wants $300 for a used picture book.
Because we loved the book, we decided to update it, make it even better, and share it with a new generation of kids.
Because we loved the book, we weren’t ready to give up. Schools and stores still requested it. Why wouldn’t we try to accommodate them?
So, is it the same story? Basically, but not completely. In my humble opinion we came up with a much more child centered solution to the same problem. The text is more upbeat and child-like, and the fun illustrations by Joel Cook move the story along at a fast clip.
Yes, messing with something proven is scary, but when given a chance to make something good even better, why wouldn’t we take it? It was that, or no more book.
But still, I sometimes asked myself if we did the right thing. And then last week this happened. I showed a child the old book and the new book. “This is cool,” he said. “My teacher says we have to revise, and you revised a bunch. You made a whole new book. Your revisions are cool.” Bingo! It’s the same basic story with lots of cool revisions, giving it a whole new twist.
When I talk to kids about this, I don’t usually mention copyrights, publishers, and printing costs. I talk about revision, getting the chance to make a story even more fun to read, and the fact that we can make lemonade out of lemons. We’re pretty lucky.
Ellen Rothberg and I want to thank Rita Mills for getting us started on this journey and Callie Metler for keeping us moving.
So, if you have the old book, do you need the new one? Well, you don’t need any book. Should you give it a try? That’s your decision, but if you do, I hope you enjoy it.
Stay tuned. You never know what’s next.