As the stay at home orders continue magicians like me are taking stock of their repertoires. The big question is will we ever approach magic the same way again? The general consensus is no. As a result, magicians the world over are looking at new ways advancing the art of magic.
This got me thinking about the ways writers and illustrators approach storytelling. There is no one way to tell a story. As artists, we must decide which method is best for our style and our story. This month, we’ll look at three picture books that highlight a few of my favorite styles.
In THE LAST PEACH, written and illustrated by Gus Gordon, two insects come across the last peach of the summer. The decide they want to eat it, but then aren’t so sure of how to proceed. Even a little help from their friends only serves to add to their uncertainty. The question Will they eat the peach? drives the story forward and keeps the reader turning pages until the last page.
What makes this story unique, thought, is that it’s told entirely through dialogue. Gus uses colors to differentiate who is speaking and keeps the cast of characters simple. This makes the story simple to follow and allows the reader to lose themselves in the story. Dialogue tends to pull the reader in closer. It gives the reader an opportunity to lend their own voicing to the characters. It’s hard to imagine the story being as compelling if it used more of a narrative approach.
If you’re considering using this approach to storytelling remember a few things:
Also repeated throughout is their response to each setback. They each pause, close their eyes, and blow a breath. This repetition is particularly important to the story because it signals Ava and her mother being able to move past an issue. When it doesn’t happen...? Well, you’ll have to read the story to find out.
The last book is one of my new favorites. ONE FOX: A COUNTING BOOK THRILLER was written and illustrated by Kate Read. Counting books and alphabet books and can be tough to write well but Kate does a superb job. ONE FOX tells the story of a fox who stalks a group of chickens. Because it’s a thriller, I won’t give too much away.
It starts at one, as many counting books do, with “One famished fox”. With only a few words in each spread, Kate’s illustrations help bring the story to life. As we watch the hungry fox sneak towards the hen house at night, we can’t help but wonder what will happen. The twist at the end brings the story to a surprising, yet satisfying, ending. More than a book of things to count, ONE FOX tells a gripping story that readers won’t be able to put down.
If you want to try this approach, whether a counting book or alphabet book, a compelling story could make all the difference.
Well, that’s all for this month. Stay safe and have a magical month.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the fabulous debut author/illustrator Maggie Brown.
And 5th Mondays will feature a surprise reprise from over nine years of archives.