Whimsy, Words, and Wisdom
Definition: Endearing quaintness. The quality of being playfully humorous, especially in an endearing way.
As a children’s writer, whimsy is a good thing to incorporate into your writing. You want your stories to be endearing, playful and humorous.
This month I feature the picture book How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish, published by Alfred A. Knopf 2012.
You can tell by the title and the book cover that this is a whimsical picture book. How fun for a child to imagine taking care of a grandpa. Role reversal stories are great for kids by letting them be boss for a change.
The story begins;
Babysitting a grandpa is fun—if you know how. When your grandpa rings the doorbell, what should you do? Hide!
The book ends:
HOW TO SAY GOODBYE TO A GRANDPA:
Surprise him with the picture.
Give him a hug and a kiss, a hug and a kiss, a hug and a kiss.
And ask, “When can I babysit you again?”
Definition: Meaningful combinations of sounds that are a unit of language or its representation in a text.
As a writer, you love words. We use words to communicate and express ideas. We use words to make sentences. We use sentences to make paragraphs. And we use paragraphs to make stories. It’s important to use the best words possible.
This month's word is - ta da! - GRANDPA. This month's exercise is to use the word "grandpa" in a short story, poem, or whatever suits your fancy. Any form of the word grandpa is acceptable. Email your story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will choose one to spotlight on next month's blog.
Definition: Accumulated knowledge of life or of a sphere of activity that has been gained through experience.
I have been writing for children for over 30 years. I have published eight books and taught several writing classes through the Loft Literary Center, community education and at conferences.
This month's bit of wisdom is this: Some writers use a lot of words to say what they want to say. In other words, confusing. The message gets lost in the verbosity of it all. Some writers don't use enough words to say what they want to say. In other words, confusing. The message is not clear because enough information isn't given. And some writers are in between-not too many words and not too few.
In picture books, because of its briefness, every word must count. As the art director at Lerner Publications said, "Every word must be edible."
Watch for my next blog in early April where I will share more about whimsy, words and wisdom. Til then, choose your words wisely.