Sunday, February 24, 2013

Story Element #10: Beginnings/Endings (A Bird or Two)

I just bought a new book: Christlike Parenting by Dr. Glenn I. Latham. I am thoroughly enjoying it. My sister had it first and highly recommended it. A year later, now I have it too. Does anyone else have a favorite parenting book? You can share in the comments...

Today's book is...

A Bird Or Two, A Story about Henri Matisse

Author: Bijou Le Tord
Illustrator: Bijou Le Tord
Publisher: Eerdmans Books
Year: 1999
Word Count: 324

Summary: "Simple text and bright illustrations describe the work of the French painter, Henri Matisse, particularly his joyful use of color."

Jacket Flap:
     Greens greener than apples, yellows more yellow than lemons.
     In the brilliant sun of Nice (pronounced Neece), France, Henri Matisse painted the boldest, brightest colors he could imagine. Joyfully, he painted everywhere and everyone. Enchanged and with a light heart, he painted all the time. "Long live painting!" he wrote to a painter friend.
     In A Bird or Two Bijou Le Tord introduces young readers to the beloved painter Henri Matisse. Her delightful illustrations capture the spirit and style of Matisse's work, while her poetic words sing the music of his art.
I like including the jacket flap blurbs because we can learn so much from them. How to keep our stories concise and how to write a query. Of course today's book is 14 years old. Still a picture book biography in a mere 324 words. Amazing! I promise today's post is short.

Spread 1:
When Henri Matisse returned to Nice in winter, the brilliant sun warmed everything. He looked at the sea, the palm trees, and the sun as if for the first time.
Spread 2:
Because of the delicate and bright sun of Nice, Matisse's colors changed.
Spread 14:
Matisse was also delicate and fragile.
Final 1/2 Spread:
He was as beautiful and simple as his paintings of mimosa flowers, shells, coral fish, the sunshine, and a bird or two.
I love how Nice rhymes with Matisse. So fun! Even a bit of rhyming word play in THIS book! (More tomorrow!) So the beginning has the sea, palm trees, and a delicate sun. And the ending has things from the sea: flowers, shells, fish, the sun, and a bird or two. And Matisse is delicate. It comes full circle, delicately.

Think of one of your stories. Don't get it out. Just think. Think about the essence of the story. Think about how you already wrote it. Write down 3-4 words that could help tie the beginning to the ending. Now go back and look at your story. See if those words already exist. Are the new words you came up better than what you already had? Do they add to the language? If not, could you rearrange some of the words from the middle to include in the beginning and ending? Play, play, play!

Which do you like better, apples or lemons?

I like apples better because they make a great snack and there are several varieties. I also love lemons because they give so much flavor to so many foods. Fish with lemon juice - yum! Lemon juice is a key ingredient in tartar sauce, and it's a secret ingredient for my homemade blackberry cobbler. Keep on keepin' on...


  1. I love lemon cake. We have the Monet pb. Love your suggestions.

  2. Love your prompts. I lived very close to the Matisse museum in Nice and went often. he's one of my favorite artists.

  3. Ooh your lessons are getting so good (I hope you are thinking about a book with all these lessons in it...). Apples!

    1. How DID you know? It'll be a very long while off yet. (Is that sentence even grammatically correct?)


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