What I’m requesting here is a book organized like a baby-name book, but one that lists picture book characters by name. There’s no huge profit in it, really, except that you’d probably sell a copy to every bookstore in the country, and possibly to every library. And grandparents. Oh, grandparents!
I can’t tell you how many times people come in — at least twice a week — looking for a book for a baby or toddler named Oliver, or Ellie, Stephen, etc. Now, this request is disenchanting on principle, since it is a shallow pond from which to fish a book — and yet, as a former child, I do have to admit that it can be delightful to discover a book about someone with your very own name. (Mine was Princesses’ Tresses, about which I have blogged, and which has a rather wonderful story.*) So there is a place for such a resource, since not all picture books are as obliging as Owen, No, David, Bedtime for Frances, Olivia, etc., to be eponymous by character.
This project would be ideal for someone who enjoys creating practical, sortable databases, perhaps while watching Deadliest Catch or Downton Abbey marathons. It’s the kind of task I myself tend to enjoy. Hmmm.
If the picture book character name book goes over well, then a chapter book / MG edition might be in order, because we do also get requests for those by character name, although not as often as for picture books. (I’m happy to report that there is no call for a YA volume; by the teen years, adults seem to have come to their senses and realized that children can in fact think beyond their own names to enjoy a darned good story about somebody else.)
Enterprising Database Creator, whoever you are, you could fashion a little web database in addition to the book. A book would be handier on the fly in a bookstore, but a website would be easy and quick to update, and parents and grandparents would be able to use it.
The sad thing is that I am only partly kidding about this project. I sort of want this book to exist, if only to make my life easier 104 times a year.
*A codicil to the “kids like books with their names in them” is that this is only true, of course, when the character is a good egg. Classroom read-alouds can be harrowing; imagine being a first-grader named Camilla and hearing Hooway for Wodney Wat during share circle. Aieeee! This is why characters named Murgatroyd and Parsimony are especially appealing — but not to certain grandmothers with a list in hand.