On the surface, it’s a cute story about a duckling who doesn’t want to get wet–until he tries swimming and finds out that he likes it.
But I think that for those of us who write books for children, it’s much more than a cute, beautifully illustrated story. Author Susan Lurie says, “I fell in love with this little duck the moment I saw him in Murray Head’s photograph. He looked determined and defiant, and I recognized that look. . . . And that is where the story starts.”
From the photographer: “Take the time to know the subjects, focus only on them, be patient, and don’t intrude.”
The result is a gorgeous picture book with a text that amuses young children, and also helps them develop their language skills as they supply the rhyming words.
The ducks are not forced to do anything uncomfortable or unusual; I see little sign of stress or human interference in the photos. Rather, the story about a duckling that doesn’t want to get wet is superimposed on pictures of ducks doing their thing in their natural habitat. This gives us not only an interesting writing challenge, but a lesson on using nature for our own creations without causing discomfort.
Do you see elements of nature you could use to produce a picture book?
Do you teach children to write? The verdict is in regarding the benefits of learning in our natural environment. Why not take the children outside to explore, possibly taking pictures with disposable cameras, then bring them back inside to write a story? They could also illustrate it with leaves and other treasures gathered outside.
Creation is rich in beauty and infinite in variety. How can we incorporate nature into our writing to bless our young readers?
Margaret Welwood loved teaching English as a Second Language, writing magazine articles, and editing a business magazine and adult non-fiction books (one an Amazon #1 best seller, the other a Writer’s Digest award winner). However, with the arrival of grandchildren and their welcome request—“Grandma, can you tell me a story?”—she began writing and editing picture books for children. This is now her favorite genre.
Margaret was particularly pleased to work with AC author Terri Martin on Sammy, the One-Legged Seagull, a zero-to-hero tale of danger, compassion, and a change of heart. Now that the editing has been completed, other members of the AC team will guide Terri down the path to final publication with the venue of her choice.