I have recently completed a Picture Book to finish my set of stories about my children. I kind of fudged a bit. Instead of writing seven Picture Books, one for each child, I only wrote five. The last two books double up by telling combined stories about Cami and Mitchell, and then this newest one about Kathryn and Carolyn in Spin Around Dresses and Click Shoes.
As I was struggling to hone the ideas for the Picture Books about my children, it occurred to me, that stories from my childhood might be of interest to the family, especially my grandchildren. So, I got started writing the Betsy Books about my early life. I have to admit that I had a pretty great childhood. Okay, my daughters think that I was a feral child who ran wild. I prefer to think that I was allowed a lot of freedom to CREATE!
The Opening lines of a PICTURE BOOK story should:
1. Introduce the main character and establish the VOICE.
2. Suggest the THEME of the story.
3. Establish the TONE of the book.
4. Reveal the CONFLICT.
5. Set up the STRUCTURE of the book.
Some of these stories are written in rhyme, some in prose. How did I do?
'No!' said Carolyn looking up, 'Let's play little ponies.'" --- from Spin Around Dresses and Click Shoes
2. "'Cathy, do you like to draw?' asked Betsy.
Cathy thought for a minute. 'Well, maybe, if we draw the things I like.' --- from The Drawing Contest
3. "Two year-old Betsy stood on the low table in the living room wearing just her 'ruffly, fluffly' white petticoat." --- from Betsy Takes a Bow
4. “Just watch this little finger. You sing the notes it plays.” --- from Betsy Loves to Sing
5. "But Mom!" complained Betsy, "I don't need to play the piano, I just want to sing!" --- from Betsy Takes Piano Lessons
6. "Mrs. Richardson was Betsy's favorite teacher." --- from Betsy Directs a Musical
7. 'Beside my house there ran a stream,
A little canal where the waters gleamed,
A place where the neighborhood kids would play.
Sometimes we’d stay and play all day.' --- from Fun Along the Canal Bank