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 Mud Pies and Other Recipes written by Marjorie Winslow and illustrated by Eric Blegvad.
Published by New York Review of Books (October 5, 2010)
Amazon.com has this to say.
Whether you’re entertaining garden sprites, feeding a regiment of toy soldiers, or simply whiling away a lazy afternoon, Mud Pies and Other Recipes is the only make-believe cookbook you’ll ever need. With Marjorie Winslow’s timeless guide on hand, you’ll never be at a loss for something to do in your backyard or by the seashore; you’ll be busy scooping up sand (a filling for Stuffed Sea Shells), hunting for flower petals (they make lovely hors d’oeuvres), and collecting raindrops (essential for brewing up Fried Water). The book is organized by course, and includes a general discussion of yard cookery along with detailed ingredient lists, methods for preparation, and helpful serving suggestions.
On every page, Erik Blegvad’s delightful pen-and-ink drawings ensure that Mud Pies and Other Recipes is a feast for the eyes as well as the imagination.
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! – RECIPE. This month’s exercise is to use the word “recipe” in a short story, poem, or whatever suits your fancy. Any form of the word recipe is acceptable. Children's books with recipes in them are always a bit hit.
I encourage you to do each month’s exercises and in six months you will have six new pieces of writing. In twelve months, you will have twelve. I say go for it! And I'd love to see what you've written for these exercises.
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 in the following quote: "If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."—Toni Morrison
Watch for my next blog in early July where I will share more about whimsy, words and wisdom. Til then, choose your words wisely.