Monday, August 5, 2013

.Picture Books That Will Never Be Published.

By Susan J Berger

My Granddaughter Grace reading to my Granddaughter Eleanor

I have a theory that kids learn to read more easily
when confronted with one sound at a time. I taught a second grader to read with Hop on Pop.

To that end I have written a few one sound picture books that are hopefully funny and publishable. Allyn Johnston at Beach Lane bought Log on Log. She has not yet rejected Nat The Rat and Fat Cat. Allyn is pretty quick with lovely rejection letters. She rejected Claire and the Bear. I will be shopping that elsewhere.

I love working with one- sound picture books, but some sounds make really bad books. For example: Fun with Nun and Hun. Even changing the Hun from a Nazi to Attila the Hun didn’t help.

Fun with Nun and Hun

Nun and Hun have fun in the sun.

Run Nun, run.

Run Hun, run.  

Hun finds a bun.

One Bun.

 Nun finds none.

“Bun, Nun?” asks Hun.

 Nun is hungry. “Yes, Hun.” 

“No. No bun for Nun.” Hun runs. 

Nun shuns Hun.

Hun has a gun. 

“No Hun!” says Nun. “Not fun!”

 Nun takes gun from Hun. 

Nun stuns Hun with gun.

“Not fun, Nun,” says Hun

Hun is done.

Now Nun has a bun and Hun has none.

Nun won.

See What I mean? I tried the “an” words. Hmmm.

Stan’s Bad Plan


Nan and Dan.


Nan and Dan go with Gran in the van.

Gran and Dan and Nan go to Jan’s.                      
Nan wants Jam
Dan wants Spam.

“I have a plan,” says Gran. She buys Bran and Jam and Spam.
A man in a tan van scans Nan.
“Gran,” said Dan, “the man in the tan van scanned Nan.”

Gran scans the man in tan.

“The man is Stan,” says Gran. “He is a bad man.”

“Scram, Nan and Dan.” Gran throws the can of Span at Stan.

Nan and Dan ran.

Stan rams Gran with the van.

Poor Gran.

Bad Stan.
Then there is Skunk and Monk. This one is almost publishable if I left out the work drunk…I put illustrator notes in parentheses, as the words have more than one meaning.


Monk and Skunk

Monk saw Skunk.

Monk shrunk. 

Skunk stunk.                                            (skunk sprays)
Funk.                                                        (Cloud of smelliness)
Monk in funk.                                          (runs to pond)
Monk dunks

Monk sunk in gunk.
Hunk of junk.                                             (old boot in pond)

Monk has spunk. 
Monk chunks junk at skunk.                  

“Punk!” says Monk.
Skunk bunks                                            (skunk flees)
Monk shrunk.                                          (His robe shrank)
Monk in trunk                                         (underwear)
Monks on Bunks.                                    (Monks lying on beds)

Thunk!                                                     (Skunk posse arrives)
Skunks on trunks.                                  (Skunks sit on trunks at ends of bunks)
Skunks stunk.                                        (spray)
Monks slunk.                                          (Run away)
Skunks in bunks.
Monks get drunk.
Currently I am working on Buck and Duck. It’s not going well. Hopefully I will find a sound that makes a good story. Please feel free to leave me a suggestion.

I apologize for any oddities in the layout and spacing. I returned from SCBWI's fabulous National Conference at 9:30 and couldn't make blogger behave.


  1. Hi Susan, Okay, I love "Skunk and Monk" much more than "Stan, Gran, Jan" story! Keep up the good work! I'm a Certified Phonographix Reading Therapist with Read America ("Reading Reflex"), and they use a "Fat cat sat on mat" story to teach the "a" sound. They use the vowel sounds (and variations), not putting the consonant with them (each sound is separate). They sound out each letter, like fuh-a-tuh, blended is fat, and so forth. But I know that's not how the public schools teach "phonics." I like the "Reading Reflex" system.

    1. Penny, I too have a Fat Cat story. It's my mafia approach. Nat, the Rat and Fat Cat. Allyn is still holding that one. I have hopes for it.

  2. Cute! I'm rather fond of the Nun and Hun...Great idea. Another notch in your blog belt!

  3. I like the drawing of Attila the Fun. The Nun creeps me out.
    Altar Adverb

  4. These are great. My favorite is Stan's Bad Plan. It reminds me of an old episode of Sesame Street.

  5. Susan,

    What a clever idea! I love all the combinations because they are very helpful in teaching kids how to read. Thanks for posting!

    Nicole Weaver

  6. Thanks, Penny, Nancy, Altar Adverb, Jenn and Nicole. Susan loves all the comments.

  7. Terrific post. I've never approached my writing in this manner. Thrilled you had the chance to meet Nicole weaver in person.


    1. Thanks, Donna. She told me you were the person who introduced her to Lynda.

  8. Adorable and hard to forget these stories. Like some others, I'm quite fond of the monk and skunk story. :)

    1. Thanks, Lasleigh. Maybe I will send it out.

  9. Why won't these picture books ever get published? My publisher will publish them. PDMI Publishing ... 1-855-publish

    Just thought I'd share this info with you. I do hope you can get them published. Contact my publisher. Good Luck!

    Author Talina L. Collier

  10. Thanks for my morning chuckle. These are great.

  11. I think Monk and Skunk are great and the visuals will really help with word comprehension too!

  12. Monk and Skunk was my favorite.
    It was fun to see you at the conference. Sorry it was just a short visit. Too much going on!

    Best wishes!

  13. What about poor Bill who was ill so took a pill? Maybe not.

  14. Great article, Sue. Loved it!

  15. Sue-- I love the kid's drawings and pics. So adorable. Also, I'm not totally convinced that these wouldn't work with some odd tweaking here and there. Never surrender! Never give up!


  16. I think these are hilarious! I love them all! :)


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