The Contest is now closed. Stay tuned for the results, including contest winners, Minh Le's illustrations of the winning entries, and more.
When Millions of Cats was published in 1928, no one, least of all Wanda Gag, could have predicted how successful the story of an elderly couple in need of a feline companion would be. It became the 1929 recipient of the Newbery Honor award, and decades later, the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958. Gag posthumously won the 1977 Kerlan award for the body of her work, but that award did not include the ill-fated sequel to Millions of Cats, the recently discovered Millions of Rats:
Graphic modified by Minh Le
The book cover, as well as snippets of the proposed manuscript, came from the vaults of Garrulous MacKenzie, hapless editor of Sharper and Crow (whose collection of Children’s Books That Never Were may be found here and here). Notes from the editor read along the lines of “Millions of cats swarming over the countryside and gobbling up each other is wildly amusing. The idea of millions of rats doing the same thing makes my skin crawl.”
Minh Le of Bottom Shelf Books and I thought about some of wonderful picture-books we enjoyed that were followed by unnecessary sequels. such as Esphyr Slobodkina's Caps for Sale followed by Circus Caps for Sale, formerly known as Pezzo the Peddler and the Circus Elephant. We acknowledged that there were probably far more unnecessary movie sequels (i.e. Weekend at Bernies II). Then, we decided to host a children's book sequels contest that would call upon the creativity of our readers.
Between April 1—10, we invite you to submit your book titles and 2-3 sentence synopsizes to the Unnecessary Children’s Book Sequels That Never Were contest. For simplicity's sake, the books should be either picture books or early readers such as the "I Can Read" books. While Minh and I will have a say in terms of which entries we like best, we will have judges determine the winners in order to avoid even the hint of favoritism. The judges are Phil of Pilcrow and Melangell of Pipers at the Gate of Dawn.
The three prizes are a small painting of a random robot by Minh Le, a "butterfly herder" doll (i.e. "action figure") created by Farida Dowler, and a gently used DVD copy of Jim Henson's The Storyteller, series one. The first, second and third place winners get to choose their prizes based on their order. These winners will also have their submissions illustrated by Minh Le. All entries will grouped together in a blog post with links to your blogs if you have them.
Here are the rules:
1. You may submit entries as many times as you like before midnight on April 10, Eastern Standard Time.
2. You may submit your entries in the comments of this post, or if you want to keep your entries secret until after the contest, you’re welcome to send them directly to saintsandspinners [at] gmail [dot] com.
3. Immediate family members (Minh's and Farida's spouses and siblings) are welcome to submit entries; however, they will not be eligible for prizes.
4. You do not have to be an active blogger in order to participate. However, we ask that you be at least an active reader of blogs and have a viable commenter profile.
5. Please have a means for us to contact you so that we can get your prizes to you, should you win.
6. At the risk of fettering your wild and wonderful creativity, please refrain from overtly lewd and offensive submissions. This is a different contest altogether.
After the contest closes, the judges will have the weekend of April 11-12 to decide upon the top three entries. Then, Minh Le will illustrate them, and after he's done, we will post the winners and the rest of the entries.
By the way, Millions of Rats is an April Fool's joke. The contest itself is on for real!