The Mud Bird: Feedback from the Experts

Who do you ask to review a children’s book? Children, of course. They’re honest, blunt, and often right.

After preparing an initial e-book draft of the Mud Bird, my wife and I asked a few families with children to read it and tell us what they thought. One family let us read the book out loud. Another family read a copy we sent to them. The children ranged in age from 1 to about 9. Here’s some of their feedback:

“Why is there a dragon?”

“John [not real name] loves the dragon!”

“This is a long book!”

“What does [insert random word] mean?”

(Multiple children): “WHY?”

“I wouldn’t pretend that. I’d pretend [insert child’s idea for an awesome story].”

“Is it over yet?” (Note to self: if a child knows ice cream will be served after reading the book–read faster.)

“Can we read it again?”

Here’s some of what our expert readers taught us:


  1. Children like our book—hooray for intended audience appeal!
  2. An occasional “big word” (like “cul-de-sac”) is OK, if there’s a parent reading with the child. It’s also true that what’s new to one child will be old to another.
  3. Children know how to pretend, and they’ll improve on your ideas. Pay attention: they may have the beginnings of another great story.

Now, if children would just self-market, we’d be set. 🙂