Thursday, February 18, 2010

Answers to the Last Post

by Susan Berger

Once upon a time there was a pair of pants.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Ann Brashares

There was a time once when the earth was still very young, a time some call the oldest days. This was long before there were any people about to dig parts of it up and cut parts of it off. People came along much later, building their towns and castles (which nearly always fell down after a while) and plaguing each other with quarrels and supper parties.
The Search for Delicious" by Natalie Babbitt
(Rachel Brachman gave me this first line. Now I have to go to the library and check it out. I love this start.)

When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of that hurricane and, of course, the fact that he’s caused it.
“Savvy” by Ingrid Law
(I plan to read this one.)

It was bitter cold, the air electric with all that had not happened yet. The world stood still, four o’clock dead on. Nothing moved anywhere, not a body, not a bird; for a split second there was only silence, there was only stillness. Figures stood frozen in the frozen land, men, women, and children.
“A Reliable Wife” by Robert Goolrick.
(Borders is pushing this book as a great read. I can see why)

Lucky Trimble crouched in a wedge of shade behind the Dumpster. Her ear near a hole in the paint-chipped wall of Hard Pan's Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center, she listened as Short Sammy told the story of how he hit rock bottom. How he quit drinking and found his Higher Power. Short Sammy's story, of all the rock-bottom stories Lucky had heard at twelve-step anonymous meetings -- alcoholics, gamblers, smokers, and overeaters -- was still her favorite.
The Higher Power of Lucky" by Susan Patron
(Another first line gift from Rachel. And, yes, I do want to read it.)

One day, a lion came to the library. He walked right past the circulation desk and up into the stacks.
“Library Lion” by Michelle Knudson, Illus by Kevin Hawkes
These next three are the Rhyming Picture books:
Not last night but the night before three black cats came knocking at the door.
“Not Last Night But The Night Before” by Colin McNaughton, Illus by Emma Chichester Clark

One morning at the breakfast table, when I read the juice box label, (thinking it was tightly closed), my daddy’s pants got orange-hosed.
“I Always Get My Way” by Thad Kranesky, Illus by David Parkins
(Thad is a first time picture book author. It was published in 2009)

When I grow up I’ll live in a tree; Just my cats Quentin, Quigley, and me.

“Growing Up Dreams” by Susan J. Berger, Illus by Samantha Bell
(Ok I used one of my own. It will be published this year as an ebook and a print book and, I believe also as an ipod application here is an illustration from the book)

Things could always be worse. That’s what my grandma says anyway whenever something really bad happens. I’ve always thought that was a pretty good way to look at life. But lately I’m not so sure, because I don’t think things can get any worse.
“My Life In Pink and Green” by Lisa Greenwald.

On February 7th I heard Michael Reisman and Ben Esch speak at The Flintridge Bookstore and Coffee Shop “Writer to Writer” event. Their topic was writing for boys and what kinds of books interested boys. It was a delightful seminar.
(These next first lines are dedicated to them.)

1. Being dead was colder than Mark expected.

2. Look, I didn’t want to be a half blood. If you’re reading this cause you might be one, my advice is: close the book right now.

3. Monday 9:28 AM “What the hell, Dixie?” A piece of paper slammed against Dixie’s computer screen eclipsing the game of Ski Free he’s been playing for the past hour.

4. “I am such a coward,” Ben said to himself. “When someone pushes ahead of me in line at the bakery, I don’t say anything. When I wear my favorite pair of flowered overalls, I’m scared of being laughed at. And when I hear strange noised at night, I’m afraid it’s a spook under my bed. I need help.”

5. Here is a story that’s stranger than strange. Before we begin you might want to arrange: a blanket a cushion a comfortable seat and maybe some cocoa and something to eat.

6. Once upon a time in the Wild Wild West, there lived a rancher and his wife. Every morning just as the sun was coming up, the rancher saddled his horse and fed the cattle, while his wife baked biscuits. Biscuits with butter, biscuits with honey, biscuits with jelly…Yes those breakfast biscuits were as plump as pillows, soft as clouds and tasty as a big Texas barbeque. (I am now officially hungry.)

7. One hot summer morning Peter Pig woke up and thought of a new song.

8. The story I am about to share with you takes place in 1931 under the roofs of Paris. Here you will meet a boy named Hugo Gabret, who once long ago, discovered a mysterious drawing that changed his life forever.

9. I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on my skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink when the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

10. Look around you. What do you see? If you’re inside, you might see walls carpeting, furniture. If you’re outside, you might see grass, buildings, sky. But the world is a lot more complicated than it seems.


  1. "9. I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair..."

    Yeah, gum in the hair. Ouch.

  2. I'm not sure which is scarier: the first line of Davie Whitley's The Midnight Charter or the cover.


  3. I love that you post first lines. They make me want to write something brilliant. They inspire me. Thanks for posting them.



We love hearing from you.