One Writer’s Journey

December 2, 2014

Picture books: The Humorous how-to

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:00 am
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howtoNot too long ago, I read a blog post suggesting that all of us participating in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) should try to write a picture book how-to.  This isn’t meant to be a serious how to although to read just the text that is how it would sound.  This is a humorous picture book in which the illustrations make it clear that things are not going entirely as planned, although the main character is following the directions to the letter.

An excellent example of this type of picture book is Tea Rex by Molly Idle.  The main character is a the ultimate hostess following all of the directions needed to put on The Best Tea Party Ever.

But, as you’ve probably guessed by the title and cover, one of her guests is a tea loving T-rex.  Obviously trying to fit a gigantic dinosaur through the front door is going to be a bit of a problem and that isn’t the half of it, but the text is the straight man.  The humor comes as you see the enormous dino perched on the tiny chair, slopping tea and biting a plate in half.

What could you write about for your humorous how-to?  Start with some of your favorite things to do when you were a preschooler.  Obviously, tea party has been done but what about spending the night at Grandmas (perhaps Grandma wants to stay up all night), a sofa cushion fort (when cousin doesn’t want to read inside, he wants a pillow fight) or apple picking . . . what could go wrong here?

I’m not saying mine are the best ideas but I hope that you see how it can work.  Start with a fun activity  and then brainstorm a variety of ways it can go wrong.  If you go far enough afield, you’ll come up with an idea that is just wacky enough to grab an editors attention.



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