A BOOK WITHOUT MORALS?! What kind of people are you?
Actually, as a whole, we’re pretty moral guys. John stole a pack of Kool-Aid back in ’92, and there are probably a few other things here and there (nobody's perfect), but our moral compasses are alive and well. However, when John sat down to write this story, he didn’t want it to have an agenda or to try and point someone’s compass in any one direction. There are plenty of great books out there about acceptance, diversity, kindness, eating vegetables, and the like, and those are all important topics to address with children as they grow, but John didn’t want to write a book that felt like a lesson.
So, yes, there’s no "moral.” We suppose you could read it and think the underlying moral of the story is “use your imagination” or something like that. And maybe you’d be correct. But that wasn’t the intention here. John wanted to write a story that would think like a child while still being entertaining for readers of any age; Christian wanted to create illustrations to match that idea by building a world that fit. We think we nailed it.
But you should still eat your vegetables. And not hit your brother (unless he made you eat his vegetables, too).
If you haven’t watched the video, we’ll recap slightly. This whole story was inspired by a question from John’s son, who was five-years-old at the time: “Do Nerds® grow on a tree or a bush?” (He actually says “candy” in the video because we weren’t too sure about using the trade name without the registered trademark.) John answered his son matter-of-factly with “bush” and immediately started putting pieces of a story together in his head.
So let’s get down to the meat of this whole thing: Maggie and The Sprinkle Tree.
This is your typical boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, dragon is slain, sort of story, but there’s no boy, no romance, and no slaying of any sort. Maggie and The Sprinkle Tree is about a girl named Maggie and a little post-midnight magic.
You see, Maggie is a pretty curious kid. She likes the outdoors quite a bit, but she likes the indoors too. Some would call her a bit of a “tom-boy,” but we'd toss out that whole idea because we don’t like it. Sorry.
Anyway, she’s just a curious kid with a big imagination, and this book follows that imagination to an almost unbelievable point as you journey with Maggie well past her bedtime to figure out just what a sprinkle tree looks like. What makes it come into being. And what sort of fun you can have with a few snacks and a sprinkle tree on a warm summer night.
As for style, the whole book is written, illustrated, and designed to be highly active. By active we mean that the words, both what they say and how they interact with the art, make you want to tip the book, follow the arrows, and read on.
You’ll want to turn the pages and actually follow the story across (or down) each page. With that, some of it has a bit of an infographic feel. No, we didn’t load the whole thing with witty pie charts (though we can’t comment on the presence of other charts), but we made the story interesting with some infographic elements. We both love organization and order and we think that comes out quite well in the book.
But as much as we may enjoy the story, we’re pretty excited to share it with everyone. Much of Maggie’s thinking was built around John’s son’s always-active mind, and a lot of her playfulness and spunk was modeled after Christian’s two daughters. Having the opportunity to share this with the world, knowing that both of our families are excited to get their hands on a copy, has only helped us feel more excited along the way, and that’s been pretty great.
One of the greatest parts of this project has been the collaboration. Getting together to write, sketch, talk, and form the story. Bringing Maggie and her world off the page and into the room with us has been an amazing experience that we've been lucky enough to share. It has never been easy to get away from the busyness of our work or our families, but we made the time so we could work in the same room and we think it really shows in the end product. John wrote the book and Christian illustrated it, but we each had a large impact on the bigger picture.
But…a picture book?
The first step for each illustration is pencil on paper.
Picture books are amazing. You can mock or scoff or pretend you’ve grown out of them, but face it: A good story with awesome illustrations is something anyone at any age can appreciate. How do we know that? Well, we're both adults and we love children's books! Plus, creating a book like this has been a goal of John's for a long time. Nearly a decade, actually. It just took a long time to make it a reality because, well, life has a funny way of getting in the way. And with both John and Christian juggling families, jobs, and the like, it took a while.
Sure, Maggie and The Sprinkle Tree is written for children, but all we’re saying is that you don’t have to be a child to enjoy it. Target age: 4+.
Each illustration is brought to life on the computer. Take a look!
Okay, but what's this whole Kickstarter thing?
Great question! Let's turn to Kickstarter for this one (they do a nice job of summing everything up on their Kickstarter Basics page, so we pulled a few things from there):
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.
Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, [authors, illustrators] and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they're ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.
Every project creator sets their project's funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers' credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.
Backing a project is more than just giving someone money, it's supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world.
Let’s say I donate. Where does that money go?
We’re glad you asked! The money will cover a number of things, including:
1. Printing Maggie and The Sprinkle Tree: The bulk of the funding will be used to order the first ever printing of Maggie and The Sprinkle Tree in a stunning, full-color, hard-cover edition. We need to place a large order to get the best possible price, but the price tag on that order is still pretty big.
2. Marketing Maggie and The Sprinkle Tree: Some of the funding will help us spread the word and get Maggie in the hands of as many children (and adults) as possible. The base for that marketing (and the place you can turn to for printing updates and the like if everything goes well) is Maggie’s very own website, but funding will also cover supplemental advertising and marketing of the campaign.
3. Rewards and logistics: The remainder of the funding will be for the great rewards we've lined up and the shipping, where applicable, of those rewards. We wanted these to be free, but we just couldn’t pull that off.
Fine, I want in! Now what?
That’s great to hear! We’re glad to hear you like the sounds of Maggie's story (and we think you'll be pretty pleased as well when you get your hands on a first edition copy of the book). Now you’ve got a few options (and you’re free to pick more than one):
Support our Campaign
This is a big one. From $1 all the way to $1000, every little bit counts (and the big bits count as well). Again, we need to hit out goal (or surpass it) or we don't get any funding at all
Share, Share, Share
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, blog. Strap tiny billboards to the neighborhood dogs if you have to. We’re not picky; we’d just love it if you could spread the word.
Maybe you know someone (or some ten) who would love this book? Email them. Maybe you know a child (or adult) named Maggie? Email them, too. If they like sprinkles, email them twice! Basically, email until your fingers just can’t take it.
We’re available to answer any questions you may have about the book/project. Want to interview us for a bit of press? That would awesome! Want to encourage us on our journey? We're here for that as well and we'd love to hear from you!
Thanks for the support, Kickstarter!
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges are, at this point, minor. But the potential risks we see are as follows:
-A glitch in printing that could delay delivery of the book. This is unlikely as we've talked extensively with the printer about timing and we feel we're being very realistic with our listed shipping estimate; however, the printer bases print times on current volume. If we order our first printing and they happen to be busier than expected, it could delay delivery. Typically, production is 4-6 weeks and we do not see any issue. Plus, we've been realistic with our estimated shipment dates.
-The printer could go under. This is not really a risk as the printer is well established in the industry, but we're listing it because that would be out of our control; however, we have a backup, so we should be good.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)