Picturebook Study: Z Is For Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky

Kate de Goldi discusses Z Is For Moose on Radio New Zealand and has trouble not laughing. (This is what made me buy the book.) There is something inherently funny about a moose. Is it the bulbous snout, or the slightly onomatopoeic name? (I’m not sure what real-world sound the word ‘moose’ makes, but it …

Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose by Dr Seuss

Theo Geisel had a thing for antlers. In the mid-nineteen thirties, Theodor Geisel was a fledgling author and artist, operating as an illustrator for New York advertisement agencies. His father, superintendent of parks in Springfield, Mass., from time to time sent him antlers, expenditures and horns from deceased zoo animals. Geisel stored them in a …

This Moose Belongs To Me by Oliver Jeffers

This Moose Belongs To Me is a 2012 picture book written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. STORY STRUCTURE OF THIS MOOSE BELONGS TO ME SHORTCOMING PSYCHOLOGICAL NEED Wilfred is lonely. MORAL NEED Wilfred is controlling. DESIRE IN THIS STORY Wilfred desires some company in the form of an obedient pet. This character is a riff on the …

Emotion In Storytelling: Kindness and Pathos

How does a storyteller create pathos in an audience? It’s not done by making a character sad. Nor is it done by simply killing a character off. Characters extending kindness to others is a far more reliable trick. Not all kindnesses in storytelling are the same. “Save the Cat” moments are a well-known tool among …

Do Americans really frown with their mouths?

I saw this widely shared on Twitter and wondered if this frown analysis were an oversimplification of reality: Americans, I am so confused. What is all this talk I’m hearing about how you don’t use the word “frown” to mean the furrowing of one’s eyebrows??? But but but what is a frown if not an …

Pig the Winner by Aaron Blabey

Pig The Winner, written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey, is another picture book in the widely-loved Pig The Pug series. I suspect these will become Australian classics in the same way the Hairy Maclary books became New Zealand classics. I pick and choose when it comes to Aaron Blabey books. Pig The Fibber, which felt …

Bye Bye Baby by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

This month I wrote a post on Teaching Kids How To Structure A Story. Today I continue with a selection of mentor texts to help kids see how it works. Let’s look closely at a picture book called Bye Bye Baby by husband and wife team Janet and Allan Ahlberg. I’ve chosen Bye Bye Baby to contrast …

Story Structure: Character Shortcoming, Need and Problem

Most writers are well-aware that a main character needs a shortcoming. Christopher Vogler and other high profile story gurus often talk about a lack: It can be very effective to show that a hero is unable to perform some simple task at the beginning of the story. In Ordinary People the young hero Conrad is …

Story Structure: The Big Struggle

All complete narratives feature a big struggle scene. No, that doesn’t have to be a literal big struggle scene, Lord of the Rings style. In fact, we should be thinking outside that box altogether. One thing I love about Larry McMurtry’s anti-Western novels (especially Lonesome Dove) is that he condenses the gun big struggles and torture scenes in favour …