Monday, May 11, 2015

Bad Picture Books

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. How about Attila the Nun?
    Drunk Lunk

  2. Hi Susan,
    I loved this post, very tongue in cheek. I love simple sound books, too. My Halloween book, "Ten Little Tricksters," has chanting the 'ee' sound. Thanks much. Blessings, Penny


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