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Children’s Lit Commish: All New Picture Books Must Be Illustrated With Spirograph

Commish Seal

In an unexpected move, the Children’s Literature Commissioner has declared that all new picture books must be illustrated using a Spirograph.

The packed press room sat in complete silence as the commissioner took out his childhood Spirograph – a drawing toy first sold in the 1960s – and made an elliptical pattern design.


“Remember these? I love this thing. The children of today have been missing out, man”, said a wistful commissioner, gazing off toward a spot above the heads of the assembled press. “But today, that changes.”

The commissioner then declared all new picture books must be illustrated completely in Spirograph patterns.

The commissioner didn’t hide his annoyance when faced with questions about the appropriateness of illustrating every picture book with geometric shapes.

“When [people] realize that every picture book has illustrations that could only be described as ‘friggin’ sweet, I’ll say ‘you’re welcome.'”

Illustrators who don’t currently own a Spirograph set (“But seriously, who doesn’t have one of these?” quipped the commissioner) can apply for a grant to receive one.

The commissioner even had some mock-ups of classic picture books that have been “cool-ified” with this new mandatory technique:

Arnie Spiro


Wild Things Spiro

In closing, the commissioner assured the audience that “kids will dig it.”

(This is a work of fiction)

Click the links below to read previous Children’s Lit Commish posts:

Children’s Lit Commish: All Picture Books Must Appear to be ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ Sequels

Children’s Lit Commish: All Books Must End in Sleep

Children’s Lit Commish: Eric Carle, Tomie dePaola, and Barry Moser Actually the Same Person

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘Caldecott to be Selected by Supercomputer

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘Hunger Games Details Wanted’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘All Picture Books to be 80s Film Adaptations’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘Don’t Look at Me’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No More Fancy Covers’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘All Books Will Actually Just Be Videos By 2012

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No Blogging Allowed at Blog Conference’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No More Non-Famous Authors’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No More Adaptations’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No More Non-Series Books’

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Sam Bloom says:

    This is awesome; I love Spirographs! We got a book with this kind of stuff for our 6-y.o. and she doesn’t quite have the coordination to pull it off. She would totally be down with it if it involved Arnie, though!

  2. I have an unnamed source high up in the Ministry of Children’s Lit saying the Commish will shortly expand this policy, requiring that all picture book text be created with tupperware alphabet stencils (http://www.amazon.com/Tupperware-Stencil-Replacement-Alphabet-Letters/dp/B00H2R399S)

    Will you confirm or deny?