Characters and Kids

Josie Leavitt - March 11, 2013

It happens a lot that little kids get excited when they hear that the author of a favorite book is coming the bookstore. They get excited for different reasons than you would think.
We are fortunate enough to have Loren Long coming to the store on March 19th. We have a lovely display of his books on our flying pig table. The table is the first thing you see when you open the door. Therefore, it was no surprise when this little guy came in and started exclaiming, “Otis books! Otis. Mom, it’s Otis.” I wasted no time telling the family that Loren Long would be coming to the bookstore for a visit. The little boy was so excited. Sadly, he thought Otis the tractor was coming to the store.
I gently explained that the man who wrote and illustrated the stories was coming. “No Otis?” He looked at his mom, lip starting to quiver, “Otis won’t be here?” I tried really hard to sell this little guy on the event. “Wouldn’t be great to meet the man who created Otis?” Judging by the river of tears, the answer was no. The mom made a point of taking a flyer about the event and promised to bring her son to meet Loren.
This tiny meltdown proved one thing: when kids love a character in a book, they LOVE the character. It’s easy, as adults, to forget that kids, especially the younger ones, think all the characters are real. This little boy has a relationship with Otis, not the author, yet.
I can’t wait for the two of them to meet.

4 thoughts on “Characters and Kids

  1. Lynne Fahnestalk

    Several years ago I worked at a small, independent bookstore. We scheduled an appearance of Arthur to promote Marc Brown’s books. The morning of the event a slightly hysterical mom phoned the store demanding to know if we were going to have the “real Arthur, or just some guy in a costume”.

  2. Fran Manushkin

    Speaking of Arthur: I visited a school and a boy looked very disappointed when he saw me. He said, “I thought Arthur was coming to see us.” “No,” said his teacher, “An AUTHOR.” If I could’ve changed into an aardvark, I would’ve.


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