I don't think it is possible to underestimate the impact of children's books. The rhythm of my brain, my writing, my love of words that are not words, colors that are not colors, things that are not things but are so thingy can be laid at Shell Silverstein's line drawn and Dr. Seuss's most likely spikey pink doorsteps.
The Baby Bat
Screamed out in Fright
Turn on the Dark
I'm afraid of the Light!
Genius. My brain, when I am working out a rhythm of a sentence moves in Seussian galumps along a Snozdoodle track. Doesn't everyone's? 'Twas the night before Christmas decks it out with the Who's down in Whoville for the meter of Christmas. Roald Dahl gifts shape to things that are shapeless. Nancy Drew, Cynthia Voight, Louis Lowry all pull the air tight, teaching dramatic tension. They teach the later is better than sooner power of the reveal. Richard Scary illustrates the importance of detail. The Berenstein Bears taught me to love a good treehouse. These things stick.
The dedication for my book (I am going to ask my parents not to read this post as it is dedicated, with all my love, to them) references three of our favorite children's books and the nursery rhyme that my father took and made his own. Rhythm. Words. Rhyme. They connect. They bind. They last.