Posts Tagged ‘picture books’

“EVERYTHING IS COPY”

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Nora Ephron credited her mom for saying everything that happens to you or around you is writing fodder. This rhymes with ‘Write what you know’, one of fiction’s oldest adages, and one I used to think of in large terms, such as location. You write about the South, for example, only if you lived there or if you know it well.

The other day, I realized even the most mundane events can be copy. While juggling keys, purse and groceries, I stuck my hand into the flower container by the door to feel if it needed water. A wasp must have thought he’d never experienced anything so rude as this intrusive thumb poking at his back because he gave me what-for in the best way he knew how and then flew off, presumably in a huff.

Groceries, keys & purse dropped to the ground as I stared at the tiny, red zone of rebuke on my thumb, awed by how so much pain can spread so fast across the entire hand. And all the while thinking, ‘get to the hose, cool water should help, and isn’t soil supposed to soothe,’ one defiant thought à la Nora charged forward, ‘I’m going to use this!’

A few days later, while stumped trying to wrap up my latest picture book story: ‘Aunt Mordina Goes to the Beach’, I looked at my thumb and remembered. And now, not one, but two wasps are whizzing around that story book beach. Kinda makes the pain almost worth it.

Almost.

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SNOW IN SUMMER

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

SNOW, a picture book by Uri Shulevitz, is so good you can enjoy it year ’round. It’s a Caldecott Honor Book and my guess is this choice was a no-brainer decision by the Caldecott committee if there ever was one. The illustrations are gorgeous, a whimsical take on the days of Charles Dickens, you think-until radio and tv playfully twist with the visual feast.

The story is simple-the best always are, seems like. A boy and his dog see the first signs of snow with promise and optimism but everyone they encounter poo-poo it away. The joke’s on them and the story shows us all, be us 3 or 103, the power of positive thinking.

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