How I Write A Children’s Book – Part 5

We are already on part five. Be sure to check out the other parts if you’d just started reading this because you’ve missed some good stuff.

We’ve already introduced our protagonist, Slappy the penguin, and we’ve partially introduced the scenario. We now need to express his love of bird, and his sadness for not being able to fly. We can also introduce the relationship between him and Sam the ice cream man.

Page 4 : Slappy loved the mornings. This was the time of day when birds would sing, and fly from tree to tree in search of breakfast.
(Arial view of the ice cream cart in the park. On the cart are also pretzels, and donuts. You can see the walking paths, and closer to the readers view, some pigeons and blue birds flying about. Small, and near the cart is Slappy looking up toward the reader.)

Page 5 : Summertime is hot in Sunshine Park, and everyone knows penguins prefer cold weather. Slappy’s friend Sam runs the ice cream cart. He always makes sure he has something special for Slappy.
(Slappy tugging on the pant leg of Sam the ice cream man.)

Page 6 : This was Slappy’s favorite treat. Ice cubes on a stick.
(Closeup of Sam handing Slappy what looks like a shish-ka-bob skewer of ice cubes)

Page 7 : With his treat in hand, Slappy headed off to his favorite spot in the whole park.
(Arial view, similar to page 4, showing Slappy heading down the path, with ice-cube treat in hand)

Page 8: Slappy has a special secret spot in the park where he loves to watch birds. From there he could see the lake, and all the trees around it.
(Montage image of him scurrying under a bush, and up onto a boulder, with a wide view of the water and all the trees around it. Many birds fly around, darting in and out)

Let’s review : We now know that Sam the ice cream man is Slappy’s friend. So much to a degree that he creates a special treat for Slappy each and every day. We also know that Slappy has a special place in the park. This establishes that Slappy has been there for a while. In the illustration descriptions, we’ve included several statement indicating “birds”, lots of birds. Birds are a big part of the story and we need the illustrator to know this.

What we haven’t done yet is establish his love of birds, and his sadness about not being able to fly.

Page 9 : Slappy sat in special spot, licking his ice cube treat. He gazed up at the sky as he watched many different color birds fly back and forth, and up and down.
(Slappy watching birds. Perhaps a perspective from behind Slappy where we see his back plus the view he sees)

Page 10 : There were red cardinals, and blue jays. Grey pigeons and white doves. So many birds that Slappy didn’t know where to look first.
(A view facing Slappy as he watched the different colored birds fly about. Create a layout so parents can point out the birds and teach.)

Page 11 : But Slappy was sad. Being a penguin, he had flippers, not wings. They helped him swim in water, but not fly through the air like other birds. This made him unhappy.
(Slappy looking at his flipper, sad face)

Page 12 : He tried in the past to fly. He tried using a kite, a parachute, he even made wings out of bird feathers he found, but nothing worked. It just wasn’t the same as flying.
(Montage of his different efforts at flying. Note: These images need to reflect failure, not the attempt.)

Let’s review again : We now have his love for birds. On page 10 we create a way for kids to interact with the book by pointing out the different birds. We’d also established why he is sad. On page 12, we show how he tried to fly, but could not. Some people may say this would encourage kids to do what he did, that is why we want to depict failure, not success. If we show him tangled in a kite and the string, it shows it didn’t work. If we show the parachute stuck in a tree and him depressed, it shows it didn’t work. Remember, you can learn as much from the bad, as you can from the good.¬† Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Next, Slappy will daydream about flying, and we will learn what his true intentions are.


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