Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Boone for kids' books

I don't read much John Grisham. So I'm not an expert in his usual style. But I just read the first chapter of the first book in his new series for kids, Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer. (The chapter is available on the book's website.) The premise is great, and the adventure sounds like it's straight out of Nancy Drew.
With two attorneys for parents, thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone knows more about the law than most lawyers do. But when a high profile murder trial comes to his small town and Theo gets pulled into it, it’s up to this amateur attorney to save the day.
I'm sure it will sell all of the 1 million copies in its first print run.The first chapter, though -- not so impressive. There's nothing terribly wrong with it, but nothing special either. The voice seems a little old-fashioned for today's kids, and the overall effect is a bit of a time warp (enough so that it seemed weird when someone mentioned email) but I'm sure the mystery and action will be more than enough to make up for that.

Mysteries are about to get hot in the children's literature field, some experts say. In case any of you writers are casting about for your next project.

I feel like I should have more to say about this, but I'm tired of complaining about big names getting big contracts, which just feels like sour grapes. And Grisham isn't swooping into children's literature from show biz or some other left field. So why not? I keep trying to hang onto the idea that anything that generates money for publishing helps all of us.

So welcome to the world of kid lit, John Grisham.

(By the way, it's very possible we're distantly related. My maternal grandmother was a Grisham from almost the same area as his family. How about giving a helping hand to a Mississippi cousin here, John? Put in a word with your publisher? I'd be okay with a somewhat smaller print run. Say, a tenth of yours?)