Every Saturday morning all summer long, the parking lot across the street from me is transformed. Friday night, it’s full of sports cars and sparsely moustached, beer-guzzling boys with cell phones and car stereos that shake the glass of my front windows, but come Saturday morning at eight, it’s a farmer’s market. There is the fey fella selling homemade dog biscuits, the family-run fireweed honey corporation, the lesbian cheese makers from Salspring Island, a gumpy poter, and a sunburnt man selling bundles of organic mustard greens and butter lettuce. You can buy cherries and maple syrup, visit the latte wagon, and get gardening advice. You can sign petitions and join a jam-making group that donates to the food bank. There are face painters and banjo players. People wear sandals and the dogs rarely get into fights, because everyone is too busy saying hello and showing off their new bedding plants. Yard sales spring up spontaneously on street corners.Ivan Coyote, One In Every Crowd, opening to “Saturdays and Cowboy Hats”
This list is collected from online chats about children’s books. Comments are from teachers who have used these books in class in 2020.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — American. Huge success with Years 9 and 10s. “Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.”
Beyond Belief by Dee White — marketed at readers over 10 years old but works with Year 10s. “Inspired by the true story of Muslims who saved the lives of Jewish children in the Second World War. In 1942, in the Grand Mosque in Paris, 11-year-old Ruben is hiding from the Nazis. Already thousands of Jewish children have disappeared, and Rubens parents are desperately trying to find his sister. Ruben must learn how to pass himself off as a Muslim, while he waits for the infamous Fox to help him get to Spain to be reunited with his family. One hint of Ruben’s true identity and he’ll be killed. So will the people trying to save him. But when the mosque is raided and the Fox doesn’t come, Ruben is forced to flee. Finding himself in the south of France, he discovers that he must adjust to a new reality, and to the startling revelation of the Fox’s true identity.”
Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell, Fiona Wood — Australian. Written by three different authors. “ADY – not the confident A-Lister she appears to be. KATE – brainy boarder taking risks to pursue the music she loves. CLEM – disenchanted swim-star losing her heart to the wrong boy. All are targeted by PSST, a toxic website that deals in gossip and lies. St Hilda’s antidote to the cyber-bullying? The Year 10 Wellness program. Nice try – but sometimes all it takes is three girls.”
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon — Australian. “Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother’s stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment. The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family’s love songs and tragedies. Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before.”
Detention by Tristan Bancks — Australian. Year 7. “Sima and her family are pressed to the rough, cold ground among fifty others. They lie next to the tall fence designed to keep them in. The wires are cut one by one. When they make their escape, a guard raises the alarm. Shouting, smoke bombs, people tackled to the ground. In the chaos Sima loses her parents. Dad told her to run, so she does, hiding in a school and triggering a lockdown. A boy, Dan, finds her hiding in the toilet block. What should he do? Help her? Dob her in? She’s breaking the law, but is it right to lock kids up? And if he helps, should Sima trust him? Or run?”
When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah — Australian. Deals with serious topics without suicide, self-harm and sexual assault. An uplifting read. (Themes: race, class, gender, refugees, the role of media). Year 10. “When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides. Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre. Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values.”
Lion: a Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley — Australian. Comes in movie, adult, younger reader and picture book versions. “Can you imagine being lost and not finding your way home again?Saroo Brierley became lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a family in Australia.Despite being happy in his new home, Saroo always wondered about his origins. He spent hours staring at the map of India on his bedroom wall. He pored over satellite images on Google Earth seeking out landmarks he recognised. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for.Then he set off on a journey back to India to see if he could find his mother.This inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds is now a major motion picture starring Dev Patel, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman.This edition has been specially edited for younger readers who want to discover Saroo’s extraordinary story for themselves.”
When The Ground Is Hard by Malla Nunn — Australian. “Edgar Award nominee stuns in this heartrending tale set in a Swaziland boarding school where two girls of different castes bond over a shared copy of Jane Eyre. Adele Joubert loves being one of the popular girls at Keziah Christian Academy. She knows the upcoming semester at school is going to be great with her best friend Delia at her side. Then Delia dumps her for a new girl with more money, and Adele is forced to share a room with Lottie, the school pariah, who doesn’t pray and defies teachers’ orders. But as they share a copy of Jane Eyre, Lottie’s gruff exterior and honesty grow on Adele, and Lottie learns to be a little sweeter. Together, they take on bullies and protect each other from the vindictive and prejudiced teachers. Then a boy goes missing on campus and Adele and Lottie must rely on each other to solve the mystery and maybe learn the true meaning of friendship.”
Lost Souls Atlas by Zana Fraillon — Australian. “A boy awakens in the Afterlife, with a pocketful of vague memories, a key, a raven, and a mysterious Atlas to guide him as he sets out to piece together the mystery of his final moments”.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley — Australian. Not younger than Year 10 because of the ‘kissing bits’. “In this beautiful love story from the author of “Graffiti Moon, ” two teens find their way back to each other in a bookstore full of secrets and crushes, grief and hope–and letters hidden between the pages.”
Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller — Indigenous Australian with paranormal elements. ” Stacey and Laney are twins – mirror images of each other – and yet they’re as different as the sun and moon. Stacey works hard at school, determined to get out of their small town. Laney skips school and sneaks out of the house to meet her boyfriend. But when Laney disappears one night, Stacey can’t believe she’s just run off without telling her. As the days pass and Laney doesn’t return, Stacey starts dreaming of her twin. The dreams are dark and terrifying, difficult to understand and hard to shake, but at least they tell Stacey one key thing – Laney is alive. It’s hard for Stacey to know what’s real and what’s imagined and even harder to know who to trust. All she knows for sure is that Laney needs her help. Stacey is the only one who can find her sister. Will she find her in time?”
Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke — Afro-Caribbean Australian. Studied with Year 12s. Might work with younger years. “In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings.”
Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina — Year 10. Australian. “An extraordinary thriller, told from the perspective of two Aboriginal protagonists, which weaves together themes of grief, colonial history, violence, love and family. Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since she died. Her dad, a detective, is the only one who can see and hear her, and he’s drowning in grief. Only a suspected murder, and a mystery to solve, might save them both. And they have a potential witness: Isobel Catching. Aboriginal by birth, like Beth, she seems lost and isolated in the world. But as the two get closer, Isobel’s strange tale of glass-eyed monsters and stolen colours will intertwine with Beth’s investigation – and reveal something dark and terrible at the heart of this Australian town.”
Parvana by Deborah Ellis — Comes in a graphic novel. “There are many types of battle in Afghanistan. Imagine living in a country where women and girls are not allowed to leave the house without a man. Imagine having to wear clothes that cover every part of your body, including your face, whenever you go out. This is the life of Parvana, a young girl growing up in Afghanistan under the control of an extreme religious military group. When soldiers burst into her home and drag her father off to prison, Parvana is forced to take responsibility for her whole family, dressing as a boy to make a living in the marketplace of Kabul, risking her life in the dangerous and volatile city. By turns exciting and touching, Parvana is a story of courage in the face of overwhelming fear and repression.”
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary L. Blackwood — Good introduction to a Shakespeare unit. Short. “Widge is an orphan with a rare talent for shorthand. His fearsome master has just one demand: steal Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”–or else. Widge has no choice but to follow orders, so he works his way into the heart of the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare’s players perform. As full of twists and turns as a London alleyway, this entertaining novel is rich in period details, colorful characters, villainy, and drama.”
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins — is still being taught. There’s plenty of teaching material out there on this.
A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park — Aimed at Year 7 but younger kids tend to love it. “In 1985, southern Sudan is ravaged by war. Rebels and government forces battle for control, with ordinary people — people like the boy, Salva Dut — caught in the middle. When Salva’s village is attacked, he must embark on a harrowing journey that will propel him through horror and heartbreak, across a harsh desert, and into a strange new life.”
Continue reading “Writing Activity: Describe A Park Or Playground”
They drove a couple of miles down a rough country road—having turned off the highway and then off a decent unpaved country road—and found a place for cars to park, with no cars in it at present. A sign was painted on a board and needed retouching: “caution. deep-holes.”Alice Munro, “Deep Holes“
Continue reading “Writing Activity: Describe The Theatre”
Suburban cinemas were often pretty comfortless places. While the entrance could be quite imposing with the box office generally at the top of a flight of white marble steps, presumably to accommodate the rake, the auditorium itself was often not much more than a hangar, the aisle carpeted but he seats on lino or even bare concrete. Wartime meant there was no ice cream but enroute to the cinema we would generally call at a sweet shop and get what Dad called ‘some spice’, provided, of course, we had the points, sweet rationing the most irksome of wartime restrictions and still in force as late as 1952 when I went in the army.Alan Bennett
The church was a large and lonely one, and we loved to go there, especially upon bright nights. The path skirted a wood, cut through it once, and ran along the crest of the hill through two meadows, and round the churchyard wall, over which the old yews loomed in black masses of shadow. This path, which was partly paved, was called “the bier-balk,” for it had long been the way by which the corpses had been carried to burial. The churchyard was richly treed, and was shaded by great elms which stood just outside and stretched their majestic arms in benediction over the happy dead. A large, low porch let one into the building by a Norman doorway and a heavy oak door studded with iron. Inside, the arches rose into darkness, and between them the reticulated windows, which stood out white in the moonlight. In the chancel, the windows were of rich glass, which showed in faint light their noble colouring, and made the black oak of the choir pews hardly more solid than the shadows. But on each side of the altar lay a grey marble figure of a knight in full plate armour lying upon a low slab, with hands held up in everlasting prayer, and these figures, oddly enough, were always to be seen if there was any glimmer of light in the church. Their names were lost, but the peasants told of them that they had been fierce and wicked men, marauders by land and sea, who had been the scourge of their time, and had been guilty of deeds so foul that the house they had lived in—the big house, by the way, that had stood on the site of our cottage—had been stricken by lightning and the vengeance of Heaven. But for all that, the gold of their heirs had bought them a place in the church. Looking at the bad hard faces reproduced in the marble, this story was easily believed.Man-Size in Marble by E. Nesbit
Header painting is by Elisabeth Sonrel (1874 – 1953)
Medical rooms and hospitals are safe, infantalising, dangerous, creepy, life-saving, traumatising places, and I offer them here as examples of what Foucault called ‘heterotopia‘.
The hospital’s ambiguous relationship to everyday social space has long been a central theme of hospital ethnography. Often, hospitals are presented either as isolated “islands’ defined by biomedical regulation of space (and time) or as continuations and reflections of everyday social space that are very much a part of the “mainland.’ This polarization of the debate overlooks hospitals’ paradoxical capacity to be simultaneously bounded and permeable, both sites of social control and spaces where alternative and transgressive social orders emerge and are contested. We suggest that Foucault’s concept of heterotopia usefully captures the complex relationships between order and disorder, stability and instability that define the hospital as a modernist institution of knowledge, governance, and improvement.Heterotopia Studies
Hospitals (like airports) elicit the full range of human emotion and are symbolically useful arenas for storytellers. Who better than writers to describe what it feels like to be inside a hospital?
I followed [the psychiatrist] down a depressing hallway into a tiny windowless office that might have housed an accountant. In fact it reminded me a bit of Myron Axel’s closet, filled with piles of paper waiting to be filed, week-old cups of coffee turned into science experiments, and a litter of broken umbrellas nesting beneath the desk.
I must have looked as surprised as I felt when I entered her office, for Rowena Adler looked at the utilitarian clutter about her and said, “I’m sorry about this mess. I’m so used to it. I forget how it looks.”Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You by Peter Cameron
The author may have enjoyed writing that description because at James Sveck’s next appointment they are in a different room.
Dr Adler’s downtown office was a pleasanter place than her space at the Medical Center, but it wasn’t the sun-filled haven I had imagined. It was a rather small dark office in a suite of what I assumed were several small dark offices on the ground floor of an old apartment building on Tenth Street. In addition to her desk and chair there was a divan, another chair, a ficus tree, and some folkloric-looking weavings on the wall. And a bookcase of dreary books. I could tell they were all nonfiction because they all had titles divided by colons: Blah Blah Blah: The Blah Blah Blah of Blah Blah Blah. There was one window that probably faced an airshaft because the rattan shade was lowered in a way that suggested it was never raised. The walls were painted a pale yellow, in an obvious (but unsuccessful) attempt to “brighten up” the room.
The description of James’ psychiatrist’s rooms is broken up, judiciously, and fits around the action. James’ reaction to the rooms reflects how he feels about life at this juncture: He expected better. He expected different; instead he gets this underwhelming life.
I looked around her office. I know it sounds terrible, but I was discouraged by the ordinariness, the expectedness, of it. It was as if there was a catalog for therapists to order a complete office from: furniture, carpet, wall hangings, even the ficus tree seemed depressingly generic. Like one of those little paper pellets you put in water that puffs up and turns into a lotus blossom. This was like a puffed-up shrink’s office.
In a book of essays, Tim Kreider’s description of hospitals is one of the best I’ve encountered:
Hospitals are like the landscapes in recurring dreams: forgotten as though they’d never existed in the interims between visits, but instantly familiar once you return. As if they’ve been there all along, waiting for you while you’ve been away. The endlessly branching corridors sand circular nurses’ stations all look identical, like some infinite labyrinth in a Borges story. It takes a day or two to memorize the route from the lobby to your room. The innocuous landscape paintings that seem to have been specifically commissioned to leave no impression on the human brain are perversely seared into your long-term memory. You pass doorways through which you can occasionally see a bunch of Mylar balloons or a pair of pale, withered legs. Hospital beds are now just as science fiction predicted, with the patient’s vital signs digitally displayed overhead. Nurses no longer wear the white hose and red-cross caps of cartoons and pornography, but scrubs printed with patterns so relentlessly cheerful—hearts, teddy bears, suns and flowers and peace signs—they seem symptomatic of some Pollyannish denial. The smell of hospitals is like small talk at a funeral—you know its function is to cover up something else. There’s a grim camaraderie in the hall and elevators. You don’t have to ask anybody how they’re doing. The fact that they’re there at all means the answer is: Could be better. I notice that no one who works in a hospital, whose responsibilities are matters of life and death, ever seems hurried or frantic, in contrast to all the freelance cartoonists and podcasters I know.
Time moves differently in hospitals—both slower and faster. The minutes stand still, but the hours evaporate. The day is long and structureless, measured only by the taking of vital signs, the changing of IV bags, medication schedules, occasional tests, mealtimes, trips to the bathroom, walks in the corridor. Once a day an actual doctor appears for about four minutes, and what she says during this time can either leave you and your family in terrified confusion or so reassured and grateful that you want to write her a thank-you note she’ll have framed. You cadge six-ounce cans of ginger ale from the nurses’ station. You no longer need to look at the menu in the diner across the street. You substitute meat loaf for bacon with your eggs. Why not? Breakfast and lunch are diurnal conventions that no longer apply to you. Sometimes you run errands back home for a cell phone or extra clothes. Eventually you look at your watch and realize visiting hours are almost over, and feel relieved, and then guilty.Tim Kreider, “An Insult To The Brain”, We Learn Nothing
What’s It Like To Work In A Psych Hospital? is a podcast from Psych Central with someone who explains how psychiatric hospitals are traumatising for everyone in and around them, not just for the patients.
Header painting: William Simpson – One of the wards of the hospital at Scutari 1856
TIPS FOR USING IMAGES AS WRITING PROMPTS
- Go beyond the picture; use it as a stimuls; don’t be constrained by it.
- Start with a wide focus and then zoom in on specific details
- Flashback and then jump forward if it fits your narrative to do so
- Craft the way you start some of your sentences (e.g. triple-noun-colon)
- Vary the length of some of your sentences (don’t overuse one-worders)
- Proof-read your work; always be meticulous
- Try to finish your narrative by refocusing on the image
Unsplash is a website offering free, high quality images for blogs and whatnot. Sometimes when I’m looking for something else, I linger on certain images, wondering about the context, wondering what else is going on outside the frame. These are the photos I want to save for creative writing prompts.
WINE GLASS WITH CHICKEN LEGS
This story would (non-ironically) be horror or at least fantasy, though the writer could flip it and write comedy.
As it is, the coffee drinking guy seems unaware of what’s happening right outside the window, which puts the audience in superior position.
This is that old Hitchcockian trick of showing the audience there’s a bomb under the table, but not showing the character:
“There is a distinct difference between “suspense” and “surprise,” and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I’ll explain what I mean.
We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let’s suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, “Boom!” There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o’clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: “You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!”
In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.”
― Alfred Hitchcock
We are fascinated by chicken body parts, in general. At least in the West, we’re a little grossed out by their feet. This is an age-old attitude and has surely influenced stories such as the Baba Yaga category of folk tale.
The glass and chicken-leg photo could prompt a modern Baba Yaga story in which writers practise the Hitchcockian technique of writing suspense (rather than surprise).
WHITE LADY IN THE WINDOW
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash
Do you know your neighbours? Do you really, though?
AN ELEPHANT’S TEA PARTY
This baby elephant looks sad to me. I’m thinking of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I’m also thinking of that 1980s tearjerker film about Bette Midler and her best friend — Beaches — specifically that harrowing, resonant scene in which the teenage girl invites other girls to her birthday party. All the frenemies bow out at the last minute, phoning her one after the other, each with a bogus excuse. They have gathered somewhere else.
What about your take?
I WOKE UP AND…
If you could wake up with a super power what would it be? The ability to fly has been part of wish fulfilment stories since forever. What would you actually do, though, if you could fly? Would you let everyone know about this newfound ability, or would you keep it under wraps? Are you scared of heights? Is there some way you could put this skill to good use, Super-man style? Or maybe it only gets you into trouble, Icarus style.
- The Symbolism of Flight In Children’s Literature
- Common Wish Fulfilment Fantasies
- I know it’s tempting sometimes, but avoid ending your story with any version of “I woke up and it was all a dream“.
- Ever wish you were invisible? I did, especially after reading Fade by Robert Cormier. And now you can! Take some tips from the amazing invisible man.
- And if you can’t be bothered with that, you could always make an invisible bottle; TEMPORAL “CLOAKS OF INVISIBILITY” FOR EVENTS.
- Or maybe you’d rather control things with your mind.
- Or levitation? Japanese girls incredible levitation photos.
- Teleportation, ESP and Time Travel: 10 Tales of Superpowers from LiveScience
- Four people who gained superhuman abilities after an injury
- Virtual Superheroes May Change You … for the Better from Live Science
- Scientists Have Created An Invisibility Cloak; It’s Just Very Very Small from Fast co.Exist
- Pretending To Have Superpowers Actually Changes You from Discover
- Some people have neurological quirks that give them extraordinary perceptual powers. What can we learn from them? from Aeon Magazine
- What’s Your Superpower? A creative writing exercise from WF
It can be super fun to play with mirrors and reflections in storytelling.
When I look at this photo, I feel like the puddle is a portal. The photographer has foregrounded it. At the very least, this guy has a double life.
The word shop originally meant a shed or booth for work and trade, like a workshop. Around the mid-1300s shop also became used to refer to a place for the sale of merchandise. The first use of the verb ‘to shop’ actually meant bringing something to a shop to sell. The sense of coming to a shop to look at and purchase things is from almost a century later, in the 1760s.Superlinguo
A CONVENIENCE STORE
A convenience store is a world of sound. From the tinkle of the door chime tot he voices of TV celebrities advertising new products over the in-store cable nework, to the calls of the store workers, the beeps of the bar code scanner, the rustle of customers picking up items and placing them in baskets, and the clacking of heels walking around the store. It all blends into the convenience store sound that ceaselessly caresses my eardrums.Convenience Store Woman, opening paragraph, by Sayaka Murata
A PORN SHOP
Frenchy’s wasn’t exactly inviting – it was lit like a 7-eleven, which made all the plastic seem much more plastic, and the metal seem much more metal, and the naked people on the covers of the dvd cases look even less hot and more like cheap porn. passing up go down on moses and afternoon delight in august, i found myself in this bizarre penis produce section.from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
In high school I developed a habit of wandering through shopping malls after school, swaying through the bright, chill mezzanines until I was so dazed with consumer goods and product codes, with promenades and escalators, with mirrors and Muzak and noise and light, that a fuse would blow in my brain and all at once everyting would become unintelligible: color without form, a babble of detached molecules. Then I would walk like a zombie to the parking lot and drive to the baseball field, where I couldn’t even get out of the car, just sit with my hands on the steering wheel and stare at the Cyclone fence and the yellowed winter grass until the sun went down and it wa too dark for me to see.The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Poof and the Piglet is a homemade picture book written and illustrated by a 10-year-old who was given the title as inspiration. The 10-year-old has also been taught universal story structure.
Poof is the star of an entire series of books. Sometimes she has a sidekick called Worm-hoop (an English owl). This time Worm-hoop is replaced by a pig. I think she may have been influenced by the Elephant and Piggie series.
She has played with lettering on the front cover, understanding that one of the stand out features of pigs is their curly tails.
The size of the tree suggests both Poof and the piglet came towards each other. They want to be friends.
Here they are not doing anything but their faces say it all.
Plan: Poof adopts the piglet so they can always be together. But she is wrong about that. The best plans in stories involve the main character being wrong about something at the beginning of the story.
Poof is treating the pig as one might a dog. She gives him a collar with his name on it. But in the next image she is feeding him a bottle of milk, showing that she has upped her relationship from ‘pet’ to ‘baby’.
Interesting intratext with ‘Pigs in Area’. I wonder if this is inspired by Baby On Board signs in cards.
Now for the Battle. A feature of Poof is that her eyes are often wayward. This must be deliberate because the eyeballs of other characters are not wayward.
I love the body language. The mother takes her piglet away under her arm.
Poof now has slightly manga-ish eyes and she is crying. She faces the viewer so we can see she is crying.
This is the Anagnorisis phase of the story in which she remembers all the good times they had together. The illustrator is making use of comic convention with the thought bubble, and the juxtaposition between happy and sad emotions.
This is a bit of a twist ending, but unlike most twist endings, this one is nice. The pig is approaching Poof as if he is a dog. This is a more appropriate relationship. This will never be Poof’s baby and she has realised that now.
The writer has not yet learned to keep verb tenses in agreement.
Quite a few picture books end like this, with a sunset.
There were extra pages in the homemade booklet so she had the idea to fill them up with snapshots of Poof and Porky in their new life as friends.