Photo by Anne Hart. This picture of a unique, exquisite sculpture of vegetation that resembles an expressive being was part of a vegetable exhibit at a spring season flower show several years ago at the Cal Expo in Sacramento.
A poem has at least nine lives—
1. Text-formatted published children’s book or pop-up book (as you see below)
2. Cartoon-style animation on DVD
3. Graphic novel as in a comic book
4. Puppet theater, narration with music on a CD or read as an audio book
5. Recited publicly in a theater, auditorium or club as poetry or monologue
6. Toy, such as stuffed animal, doll, house, robot, or action figure
7. Computer or Video action game
8. Song lyrics set to music, MTVs, musical skits, rap, and advertising jingles.
9. Learning materials and interactive multimedia for school subjects such as science or even infomercials played at events, expos, trade shows, product demonstrations in department stores, and broadcasted at conventions, video-streamed online with avatars (robotic personalities online), or podcasted on the Web as MP3 files or syndicated internationally online as feel-good poems or humor on RSS feeds.
(Stories are written by Anne Hart, © 2005.)
Books For Children Aged 0-4
1. Cover: EYES
2. BLANK PAGE
3. Two eyes
You have two eyes.
4. -A-Two acrobat's eyes above an altar.
5. -B-Two bouncing baby's blue eyes brightly beaming.
6. -C-Two cold cat's eyes catching canaries.
7. -D-Two deep darting duck eyes diving.
8. -E-Two Egyptian emerald eyes enjoying eerie events.
9. -F-Two fish eyes flirting, finding frisky frogs
10. -G-Two great grandma's gray eyes glad getting good
11. -H-Two hardy hawk eyes hunting.
12. -I-Two idol's insect eyes in ivory.
13. -J-Two juicy jellyfish eyes jutting.
14. -K-Two kind king's eyes keeping knitted kittens
15. -L-Two lively little lamb eyes looking left.
16. -M-Two misty mother's eyes making music matter.
17. -N-Two nervous newcomer's eyes near noisy, nasty
18. -O-Two oval Oriental eyes overlooking orbiting owls.
19. -P-Two proud puzzle peddler's eyes peering
20. -Q-Two quick queen's eyes quietly questioning
21. -R-Two red runaway rabbit's eyes rumored roaming
22. -S-Two skinny sailor's silver eyes seeing
salty seaweed served slowly, sings simple
songs, saying, “Sandwich! Stew! Salad!
23. -T-Two twinkling teddybear's eyes trailing
twin tots turning twice.
Trim tykes trotting to toystores
to teach the teddybear's tune.
24. -U-Two unicorn eyes uniting uniquely until
ugly umbrellas untie used utensils.
25. -V-Two villager's very violet eyes viewing
vivid valley vines vanishing.
26. -W-Two weaver's eyes wandering West watching
windows, waiting, welcoming weddings,
whatever wit wills worthy work.
27. -X-Two X-ray eyes xeroxing Xmas xylophones.
28. -Y-Two young, yellow Yak's eyes yearning
yearly, yielding yonder yogi Yankee's
29. -Z-Two zigzagged, zesty zebra's eyes
zealously zeroing zoned zoos.
30. Two zany, zealot's eyes zooming, zapping
Books for Children Aged 4-8
This book builds on words and rhythm as it progresses. The story uses the popular Finnish girl’s name, Aino. Column one at the left gives the text. Column two on the right gives the artist directions on what is to be illustrated.
The numbering represents the pages. This book contains a cover page, a blank page and starts on page three, totaling twenty pages.
This Is The House That Aino Built
2. Blank page
3. This is the mouse that designed the house
that Aino built. (drawing of computer mouse)
4. This is the class that trained the lass (drawing of class of
to use the mouse that designed the house kids at computers)
that Aino built.
5. This is the school that bought the tool (drawing of school)
that trained the lass to use the mouse that
designed the house that Aino built.
6. This is the machine with its colorful screen that (Show drawing of computer.
designed the dream that Aino had when Use colorful design on screen.)
she told her dad that she needed a mouse
to draw the house that Aino built.
7. This is the dad who worked in CAD* (Show drawing of Aino’s dad at work
who found a school that bought the tool on his job drafting in CAD software.)
that drew the house with the little mouse
beside the computer where there was a tutor
to show the lass inside the class
how to design the house that Aino built.
(*CAD stands for computer-aided design.)
8. This is the dear who began her career (Draw picture of Aino’s mom sitting
drawing pictures with the mouse at her computer drawing a house.)
that designed the house that Aino built.
9. This is the store that sold the screen (Show picture of computer store
that colored the machine that used the mouse where a row of computer screens
to scale down the house that Aino built. have colorful images on them.)
10. These are the dots that join the lots (Illustrate dots on lots.)
under the house made with the mouse that Aino built.
11. These are the lines that join the vines (Show vines connected by lines.)
around the house drawn with the mouse that Aino built.
12. These are the children in the school who use the tool (Picture of school children)
on the machine to live their dream
and build a house with the little white mouse.
13. Here is the fun that Aino won (Show Aino designing.)
as she draws
foxes, and boxes.
All drawn by the computer mouse
who scales down the house that Aino built.
14. This is the machine Aino keeps clean (Show drawing of color printer.)
that prints her tints.
15. This is the scanner that copies a banner (Draw picture of scanner.)
drawn by the mouse that Aino built.
16. This is a slide that lets you ride (Computer screen shows a garden slide.)
by clicking the mouse that draws the house that Aino built.
17. This is the line that becomes a circle (Computer screen shows line and circle.)
and turns to purple by tapping the mouse
that designs the house Aino built.
18. One day Aino decided that when she grew up, (Show dog house shaped like an ape.)
she wanted to build a house for her pup.
This is the shape that looks like an ape
drawn by the mouse that designs the dog house Aino built.
19. This is the ride designed with pride (Show playground ride.)
that Aino built.
20. Draw the ride or the house (Show picture for reader to color.)
that Aino built bright as a quilt.
What will you build with your mouse?
The Spice Store is written for early readers—kindergarten, first, and second grade students. The next version of the same story is for readers aged 9-12.
The Spice Store
2. Blank Page
3. The red brick spice store
sells all you can eat and more.
4. Green peppers hang on a string
running across the ceiling.
5. Pickled melons
are served with cheese.
Spicy ice cream, all you can freeze.
6. Bread is baked crusty and soft
When you bite a hole, it opens into a pocket.
7. Stuff the bread with hot cubes of roast.
Then heat it up until to make garlic toast.
8. Chunks of peppers meet onions with spice.
Eat the sandwich with pine nuts and rice.
9. Dust with lemon pepper, sage, and thyme.
Chew it so slowly and take your time.
10. Smell that orange honey. It makes your head spin.
Walnuts in the cellar stand next to flour in the bin.
11. Music wails from a land far away.
Nothing comes in cans. All's made fresh every day.
12. Everything's in bulk, barrels, boxes, and jars.
It's all ground by hand under the stars.
13. Sugar is ground to a powder.
Chocolate is brought to a boil.
14. Ice cream in tiny cups are set around the tables.
15. Day after day, all come in to talk.
Young and old sit with sleeping babies in laps.
16. Many a problem was settled in that old country store,
a center of all life for the neighborhood.
The Spice Store (For Readers Aged 9-12)
1. Four thousand years ago in Egypt, young Mereet's whole life was her mother's sandstone spice store. It stood beneath twelve date palm trees on the banks of the river Nile.
2. Everything she ate, wore, and owned came from it.
3. Cinnamon stick bells hung on a string across the ceiling and chimed in the breeze from the open windows.
4. The smell of green and red peppers drying near a rope of garlic filled the dark, wooden room. Pickled watermelon and strips of fried eggplant lay on the counter top next to heaps of wheat and barley and dried Nile fish (Nile Perch).
5. Mereet's delight was to be sent to the store's cellar where sesame seed bread was baked. The loaf was flat and crusty soft.
6. Inside, when you bit a hole, the bread opened up into a pocket.
7. When Mereet was a little girl, she used to stuff this pocket bread with hot cubes of roasted lamb. She would drop chunks of green peppers and onions inside and dust the stuffed sandwich with ground cinammon.
8. There was lemon pepper coming all the way from India, and thyme, rosemary, and sage, and cumin seed brought on donkey back from across the great Eastern desert.
9. The roast lamb had been soaked in honey and lemon to make it sweet and sour. Then it was roasted on a skewer over open flames in a round, stove made of white stones.
10. All the workers building the great pyramids of Egypt came in at sunset for their evening meal of barley, wheat, and sun-dried fish dusted with Mereet's spices. They also bought her famous pocket-full-of-lamb sandwiches on the chewy, course bread.
11. The store's cellar felt cool and dark against the hot Egyptian sun because the stone walls were very thick.
12. The cellar had a delicious smell of walnuts and cinnamon that made the workmen's head spin.
Can you smell the pastry from the big ovens, the tang of lemon, and the scent of pine nuts? Do you taste the sweet orange blossoms boiled in water and cooled? Mix the orange blossom water with honey. Then dip in your pastry and eat.
13. Musicians were hired to play flutes and drums. And the music wailed delightfully around the winding passages of the big cellar. Everyone not eating began to dance, sing, and clap hands in rhythm. One, two, and-uh, one, two three! Over and over.
14. Everything came in big clay jars. Olive oil, spices ground by hand, thick sweet fermented barley brew, and grapes pressed by the feet of dancing children.
15. Rose petal tea cooled in a long-handled bronze pot. Fresh goat milk was whipped frothy. When foam appeared on top, the sweetened milk was poured into tiny cups and passed around the family tables.
16. After dark, dancing girls in white linen appeared wearing perfumed cones on top of their long, blue wigs. As they danced, the cones melted, perfuming and oiling their heads.
17. Day after day, ancient Egyptian families and laughing merchants of sea peoples from all the lands far to the north, east, west, and south would drop in for gossip and trade, or to settle the world's problems with talk.
Artists would draw on the store's walls wheat harvesting scenes and birds flying. They painted the ceiling dark blue with white stars to look like the night sky. Musicians would play their harps, flutes, and drums at the spice racks.
18. Young and old came--often with sleeping babies on their backs. Many a local problem was settled in that spice store, a center of life for the village.
The reader and story listener aged four to eight prefers repetition and rhythm. Use rhyme, rhythm or beat and repetition in your book format for children up to age eight as in the story below. These books for readers aged four to eight usually run two blank pages plus 18 pages of text and illustrations, or 32 pages (two blank pages plus 30 pages of text and illustrations).
There's An Iguana In My Sauna
1. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and her name is Iggy Wanna.
2. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and she eats fruit every dawn-a!
3. There's an iguana in my sauna
who belongs to my friend, Anna.
4. There's an iguana in my sauna
trying to drive a green Honda.
5. There's an iguana in my sauna
playing music in the corner.
6. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and my mom's trying to warn her.
7. There's an iguana on my sauna floor
who thinks she's a small dinosaur.
8. There's an iguana in my sauna spout
who rides the steam clouds coming out.
9. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and I think it's time to pawn her.
10. There's an iguana in my sauna,
green as wheat grass in the lawn-a!
11. There's an iguana in my sauna
where her babies were just born-a.
12. There's an iguana in my sauna,
with the biggest mouth to yawn-a.
13. There's an iguana in my sauna,
sleeping peacefully 'till morn-a!
14. There's an iguana in my sauna
playing with little Jack Horner.
15. There's an iguana in my sauna
mending a shirt that is torn-a.
16. There's an iguana in my sauna growing bolder
who'd rather stand on my shoulder.
17. There's an iguana in my sauna,
and I've turned the water on her.
18. There's an iguana in my sauna,
who wears old sneakers worn-a.
I Can Tidy Up My Own Room
2. Blank page
3. Teeny weeny tiny teddy,
did you get your own room ready?
4. Teeny weeny tiny monk,
skates are tidy in your trunk.
5. Teeny weeny tiny tyke,
did you hide your brand new bike?
6. Teeny weeny tiny mouse
my, how clean you've swept this house.
7. Teeny weeny tiny boys,
in a line you placed your toys!
8. Teeny weeny tiny girls
there you keep the brush that curls.
9. Teeny weeny tiny skeet
Look how straight you tucked your sheet!
10. Teeny weeny tiny pop
what will you clean with that mop?
11. Teeny weeny tiny loon,
show me how you push a broom.
12. Teeny weeny tiny bug,
put your sweeper to the rug!
13. Teeny weeny tiny snail,
lots of soap goes in the pail.
14. Teeny weeny tiny dog,
in that pot plant polywog.
15. Teeny weeny tiny cat
on the rack goes every hat.
16. Teeny weeny tiny owl,
place your towel on the dowl.
17. Teeny weeny tiny fish
see how slow you dust that dish.
18. Teeny weeny tiny crab,
is your room a science lab?
19. Teeny weeny tiny moth,
did you rinse out your wash cloth?
20. Teeny weeny tiny skink,
did you scrub your bathroom sink?
Seek Inspiration from Nature To Adapt into Children’s Books or Stories
Ask yourself and then ask children these questions. Record their feedback with their parents as well as the children’s permission. Use the variety of answers to inspire you to write poems that you will turn into children’s books and stories. Before you decide to write a book, begin by asking yourself and then other people “What if there’s another way to do it?” Instead of “picking people’s minds,” look for hidden doors to your own creativity you can open based on what you see, hear, and touch or sense in nature and all around you.
1. What if?
2. What if we wonder?
3. What if there's another way to do it?
4. What if we could invent everything all over again a different way?
5. What if we could dance to a different drummer?
6. What if we could sing a different tune?
7. What if we could grow stronger by listening to our inner selves?
8. What would we hear?
9. What if we think for ourselves?
10. What if we always ask "why"?
11. What if the real world isn't real?
12. What if we ask more questions?
13. What if we listen more closely?
14. What if we look at things in a new light?
15. What if wonder whether it's true?
16. What if we look for something more?
17. What if we make sense of things?
18. What if we explain what happened in a new way?
The reader age four to eight is especially interested in travel and learning about people from other lands. Adapt your travel and nature poems into what the reader can see, touch, and experience. Write concretely, detailing the experience using each sense.
Include tone, texture, and mood. The reader needs to hear, touch, smell, taste and ‘ride’ the forward movement of each vivid, active verb to become involved in the story. Characters drive the easy-to-understand, repetitive, and rhythmic plot in children’s books.
In this children’s book or story format below the rhythm is four syllables in the first line followed by eight syllables in the second line, then varied with two lines of eight syllables each toward the end. Keep the rhythm moving, and use rhyme only when it works well to hold the reader’s interest or move the story forward.
I Love To Travel
2. Blank page
3. Big, bright, blue tide
come travel with us far and wide.
4. To a big party full of fun,
where birthday children play and run.
5. Big, bright, red plane,
can you fly faster than that crane?
6. As that bird flies above a cloud
it sings a song so clear and proud.
7. Big, bright, gold car,
is the zoo very near or far?
8. Your picnic basket's on the seat.
Those animals will love the treat.
9. Big, bright, pink sled,
are your Alaskan doggies fed?
10. The Huskies drive us through the snow,
wearing tinkling bells as they go.
11. Big, bright, brown boat,
what big rule makes you stay afloat?
12. Your wood is full of air, you say,
and keeps you out of water's way.
13. Big, bright, mauve trike,
when can you trade up for a bike?
14. When you are big enough to ride,
my training wheels will stop your slide.
15. Big, bright, ice skates,
will they help you make figure eights?
16. When winter freezes the pond white,
skating back home will feel just right.
17. Big, bright, rocket,
which will weigh more in your pocket?
18. The meteors that cross dark space,
or stars that look like pale, stitched lace?
19. Big, submarine,
you can imagine in your dream.
20. If there's parking space in the sea,
there must be tourists just like me.
21. Big, bright, beige mule,
walk through Grand Canyon after school.
22. On your next trip to Winter Creek,
you'll wish you skied down every peak.
23. Big, bright, school bus,
where are you taking all of us?
In “The Party,” the rhythm and rhyme is used for humor, when humor is suitable as a hook or means to gather and hold the reader’s attention and interest in the story. Simplicity and writing to the reading level of the particular age group keeps the book within a framework that booksellers look for—consistency.
Make sure the illustration covers most of the page and only a sentence or two of text is placed below the illustration. In children’s books for readers aged four to eight, the realistic illustration of the characters in action is the main attraction. The story is important and essential, but the eye goes first to the drawing and then to the story. This type of humorous, rhyming story also can be adapted to an animation script.
2. Blank page
3. Hello! I'm Lucan, the Moluccan Toucan.
Let me introduce you to Lady Luck, the wonder struck waterbuck.
Lady Luck, meet Kalmuck, the moonstruck woodchuck.
4. Kalmuck, on your right there's Canuck, the awestruck lame duck. He's so stagestruck, that he earns a fastbuck from beginner's luck.
5. "Canuck, let me introduce you to Laverock. She's brought the lean chuck for our potluck. She got sunstruck and had to have a nip and tuck. They say it cost a megabuck.
6. Laverock, meet Ruck Tuck waving that sawbuck. He's so thunder-struck, that sometimes he runs amuck carrying his rubber duck.
7. "Hi! Mr. Tuck! Did you get a chance yet to talk to Miss Duck? She's got lots of pluck swinging that hockey puck at that horror-struck roebuck. So, how do you like our high-muck-a-muck potluck?
8. Buck Tuck smiled to Miss Duck. "Would you like to see a picture of my dad's big red fire truck?"
"Later," she answered with pluck. "First you have to help my friend, Chuck. He had the cluck to get stuck in the muck."
9. So Buck left the party to help Chuck dig out his bicycle tires stuck in the muck.
10. While Buck was gone, Lucan, the Moluccan Toucan spilled chip dip on the roebuck.
11. As Lucan helped clean the guck off the roebuck, there was the sound of a fire truck. "Yuk! Anybody else stuck in the muck?"
12. With a little luck, Chuck joined the party dressed as the joker in that old myth, named Puck.
13. "Guess who's here, now," said Buck. "Everybody meet Druck! He drives the fire truck that helped Chuck free the bike that was stuck in the muck."
14. "Hi! Druck!" All the party guests shouted, moonstruck. Loucan the Moluccan Toucan passed the dip chips to the new party guest. "Did you meet Mr. Gluck? He removed the guck from that truck I bought from uncle Huck."
15. So Lucan introduced Druck to Buck and Miss Duck and uncle Huck, Canuck, Kalmuck, and Lady Luck--the wonderstruck waterbuck.
16. They all smiled at one another and passed the potluck that Chuck sold to Druck to make a fast-buck.
"What misluck to get your bike stuck in the muck next to Druck's truck!" said Mr. Gluck.
17. "Took up a lot of party time to pull out that bike stuck in the muck with my fire truck," said Druck, dumbstruck.
18. "Beginner's luck," laughed Chuck.
19. "I bet you that Kalmuck, the woodchuck, could chuck that muck faster than my truck could get your bike unstuck," said Lucan the Moluccan Toucan, awestruck. "Or maybe the waterbuck can swim through that guck."
20. "Yuk!" Laverock shouted to Buck Tuck. It's raining so hard outside that all of our bikes and trikes are probably stuck in the muck."
21. "Not while I'm here," said Ms. Duck to Lady Luck holding her hockey puck. She ran into the rain, horror-struck.
22. The fluffy duck began to swim round and round in the puddle that was rising so fast around everyone's bikes and trikes. She swung her hockey stick at the puck. It was nip-and-tuck.
23. “Of all the luck,” said the duck, as she struck the puck. It ran amuck, and the all the bikes were unstuck.
24. "I'm no dumb cluck. It was beginner's luck," said the duck with pluck to the waterbuck as she rejoined the potluck.