Monthly Archives: March 2015

The King of Little Things

King Little Things    “What a cute story! I actually thought the ending was very funny.” (Tommy, 8)

Ah, those best laid plans again. My website’s not quite ready (the designer is in the midst of a move), so I can’t ask the children to send me their stories yet. I decide to present, with help from the grade two to fours, Bill Lepp’s The King of Little Things.

“Everyone knows Continue reading

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Princess to the Rescue


The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry (Robbie Burns)

Driving into town, I consider my plan. I’m going to read the grade two to fours a funny story, then complain that there’s something missing from my new website–their stories. I’ll tell them I’ll be back next week with another story, and will give them flyers telling them how to submit their stories for my site.

Hmm. The book isn’t where I thought it was. Oh yes, now I know. It’s at home waiting by my office door.

With no time to go back, I decide to present The Lady or the Tiger?, with abject apologies to Frank Stockton.

“A long time ago in a land far, far away, there lived a king and queen [I choose two royal volunteers to stand sedately] and their beautiful daughter, Continue reading

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A Beautiful Idea for Children’s Book Writers

swim duck

On the surface it’s a cute story about a duckling who doesn’t want to get wet–until he tries swimming and finds out that he likes it.

The kindergartners enjoyed helping me complete the rhyming couplets, and both they and nine-year-old Tina lit up when they saw the photos.

But I think that for those of us who write books for children, it’s much more than a cute, beautifully illustrated story. Author Susan Lurie says, “I fell in love with this little duck the moment I saw him in Murray Head’s photograph. He looked determined and defiant, and I recognized that look. . . . And that is where the story starts.”

From the photographer: “Take the time to know the subjects, focus only on them, be patient, and don’t intrude.”

The ducks are not forced to do anything uncomfortable or unusual; I see little sign of stress or human interference in the photos. Rather, the story is superimposed on pictures of ducks doing their thing in their natural habitat. This gives us not only an interesting writing challenge, but a lesson on using nature for our own creations without causing discomfort.

I plan to build May’s alphabet book around the pictures, but had not thought of using nature photos this way.

Do you see elements of nature you could use to produce a picture book?

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