Revolutionizing the Form

Do you feel like in your field, there’s no room for growth in form? The great ideas have already happened and we’re left in a world that’s been fully explored.

If so, then consider children’s books, and young author Mac Barnett.

His picture and chapter books are hilarious and engaging and do things I’ve never seen children’s books do before (unreliable narrators, tricky rhyme games, etc.). But I want to focus on his book “Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem“.

Book Cover for Billy Twitters

This beautiful book, illustrated and narrated in hyper-realism, is about a boy given a pet blue whale as punishment for a minor offense.

But it doesn’t end there. Barnett included an ad on the inside cover to get your own FREE blue whale for the cost of a stamp. My son sent away for his blue whale several weeks ago, and received a letter recently, apparently from a Norwegian law firm, explaining why the whale hasn’t arrived (Norwegian customs law). It included a number where you can call and leave a message for your blue whale. The outgoing message is whale song.

Still think that there’s no room for experimenting with form?

What’s the functional equivalent for jazz arranging? For teaching? For your art?

Here’s Barnett talking about his work at a TEDx event.