One Writer’s Journey

March 31, 2017

Counting Books: Thinking out of the box

Just a few days ago, I reviewed Billions of Bricks: A Counting Book about Building by Kurt Cyrus.  It was a marvelous lesson in out-of-the-box thinking.

When I picked up the book, I expected something along the lines of one brick, two bricks . . . up through ten. But Cyrus gives the reader anything but the expected one through ten progression.  There are even numbers, specifically two, four, six, and counting by fives but never one through ten.  It is a book about building perhaps even more so than it is a book about counting.

I haven’t been planning to write a counting book, but now I find myself wondering how I might do it.  A book of count downs?  I wonder if that’s been done.  That could be a lot of fun dealing with space launches and race starts.

Squares?  1, 4, 9, 16, etc.   Hmm. I’m not sure how that one would work.

I’ll have to noodle this over while I’m on the treadmill.  I do have an idea for an alphabet book about trains.  Yes there are already train books but I’ve got a plan that would make this one different.  I hope it is unique enough to be “out of the box.”

At this point there are so many counting and alphabet books as well as books about shapes and colors that you have to come up with something creative to get a positive response.  Why buy your book when they can buy one illustrated by Dr. Seuss or featuring a favorite character.  Especially if you are considering a counting book, take a look at Billions of Bricks and see how your book stacks up next to the competition.


July 8, 2014

Alphabet Books and my June Reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:41 am
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I’ve been playing around with the idea of writing an alphabet book so, understandably, I’ve been reading a variety of alphabet books (see lines 11, 12, 14, and 15).  Read enough of them and you start to figure a few things out:

  • X and Q are the tough letters.  Figure them out and you’ve got it nailed.
  • “Figure it out” means that crossing doesn’t count as a X word.  Get it?  X.  Cross.  Crossing.  Yeah.  Cheating.  Using a word with X in the middle of it (like eXit) is better than crossing and it still feels like cheating.
  • Read a variety of alphabet books in your topic and you are going to find the overused choices.  That would be Koala for an Australian K and Wall for a Chinese W.  If you can avoid the obvious, you will have a teaching moment on your hands.
  • Play and have fun!  Do something exciting.  In Jon Muth’s book, the text is written in haiku but the first word may not begin with the Letter for that page.

Here’s the whole list of what I read for the month.  I have three more books in progress but I’ll save those for July.

  1. Albee, Sarah. Bugged: How Insects Changed History (Walker/Bloomsbury)
  2. Barakiva, Michael.  One Man Guy.
  3. Beaton, M.C.  Death of a Bore: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery (Mysterious Press)
  4. Bell, Cece. Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover (Candlewick Press)
  5. Bluemle, Elizabeth.  Tap Tap Boom Boom (Candlewick)
  6. Carlisle, Kate.  A Cookbook Conspiracy (An Obsidian Mystery)
  7. Cordell, Matthew.  Another Brother (Feiwel and Friends)
  8. Fisher, Doris.  Army Camels: Texas Ships of the Desert (Pelican)
  9. Gandhi, Arun and Bethany Hegedus. Grandfather Gandhi (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
  10. Goldenbaum, Sally.  Death by Cashmere (An Obsidian Mystery)
  11. Magee, Doug and Robert Newman.  All Aboard ABC (Puffin)
  12. Mayer, Bill.  All Aboard! A Traveling Alphabet (Margaret K. McElderry)
  13. Moundlic, Charlotte. The Scar (Candlewick Press)
  14. Muth, Jon J. Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons (Scholastic Press)
  15. Pallotta, Jerry.  The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book (Charlesbridge)
  16. Rake, Jody Sullivan.  Why Feet Smell and other Gross Facts about Your Body (Capstone Press)
  17. Robins, Jacqui.  The New Girl . . . And Me (Atheneum)
  18. Rockliff, Mara.  The Grudge Keeper (Peachtree)
  19. Royston, Angela.  Why Do I Vomit?  And Other Questions about Digestion (Heinemann Library)
  20. Sutton, Sally.  Demolition (Candlewick Press)



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