So, I’ve kicked around an idea about a children’s book for a few months, and I’m sure my inspiration was the surprising number of kids always so eager for a quarter whenever leaving a grocery store or restaurant because there is a gumball machine at the exit. I remember feeling that urge as a child myself, so maybe that’s universal?
The idea opens with some kids accidentally knocking over a gumball machine outside their favorite Five-and-Dime-type-store in town. The glass sphere holding the candy shatters and the kids watch the gumballs bounce down the street and all over the town (I guess this store is on a hill?).
Anyway, the kids set out to recover the gumballs: one is found in the library, another at the fire department, another at the train station, etc. As the kids recover the gumballs, each stop also teaches the reader a lesson about the services available in any and every small town and the purpose of those services. Once the characters recover all the gumballs, the candy is returned to the store owner and the story is otherwise concluded.
Although I’m no artist, I think this story has a great potential for some artwork (variety of colors, etc) and you could even include a map that the children refer to while reading. Readers could pick different locations in town to search for the gumballs (maybe different inserts, pages, or scenarios could place the missing gumballs in different places so the story could potentially be different a few times).
Definitely an idea I want to explore in the future.