In the Beginning – Thoughts on Writing
As a writer, I find the first page of a picture book to be the most challenging to write. The words you choose to put there are critical. You want to hook your readers immediately and keep them turning the pages. In a picture book, every single word counts. Waste not, want not.
Below are a few examples of beginnings from picture books that kept me turning the pages.
CLICK, CLACK, MOO COWS THAT TYPE written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
“Farmer Brown has a problem.
His cows like to type.
All day long he hears
Click, clack, moo.
Click, clack, moo.
Clickety, clack, moo.”
My thoughts: Right away the reader knows the farmer has a problem – cows that type. How? Why? Turn the page to find out.
THE BOSS BABY written and illustrated by Marla Frazee, Beach Lane Books.
“From the moment the baby arrived, it was obvious that he was the boss.”
My thoughts: A baby that’s the boss. I like that! The beginning sentence and Frazee’s humorous illustrations entice the reader to turn the page and read more.
THE VERY FAIRY PRINCESS written by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton and illustrated by Christine Davenier, Little, Brown and Company.
“Hi! I’m Geraldine.
I’m a fairy princess.
You may not believe me, but I can tell you that I AM.”
My thoughts: I like this character. She’s upbeat and bold. I want to see why she says she’s a fairy princess. Turn the page.
TOUGH CHICKS written by Cece Meng and illustrated by Melissa Suber, Clarion Books.
“From the moment Mama Hen’s eggs burst open, she knew she was dealing with some pretty tough chicks.”
My thoughts: Little chicks chip away at their shells, they don’t burst out. What mischief are these tough chicks up to? Turn the page to find out.
The combination of the right words and the creativity of the illustrator can result in a fabulous picture book.
Do you have favorite beginnings that you’d like to share?