Friday, January 13, 2012

Focus Friday: Endings and Perfect Picture Book Fridays

This morning I got an email from myself.  

It was "Sent from my iPad" with a time stamp of 1:02 a.m., and contained much-needed notes on how to fix an ending to a picture book manuscript I've been working on.  And after I opened the email (from myself to myself), I fixed my manuscript. 

Thank you, me.  
(Now think up a better ending for that other story and get back to me soon.)

Endings have been on my mind since some local writers and I came together for critiquing earlier this week.  We had a good discussion about how the reader's expectations, and every wonderful part of a story can be completely lost if the ending doesn't satisfy all of the loose threads.  That doesn't mean that everything has to be happy and everyone gets what they wanted.

Like...Perfect Soup by Lisa Moser, a picture book with a perfect ending.  It's not the most expected ending, but it is the best one.  Everything in the story is resolved–even though the original conflict isn't "solved" in the way the main character hopes. The ending of Perfect Soup satisfies kids and adults, and teaches a lesson without "teaching."

Which brings me to an announcement:


If you haven't already guessed, my first perfect picture book review is Lisa Moser's Perfect Soup!

Miranda Paul's first "Perfect Picture Book Friday" recommendation is Perfect Soup.

Title:  Perfect Soup
Author: Lisa Moser (who happens to be my fantastic SCBWI Mentor)
Illustrator: Ben Mantle
Publisher: Random House, 2010
Themes/Topics: Friendship, Patience, Generosity, Winter, Animals

Opening Page:  Murray shined the teapot.  "Perfect."  Murray set the table.  "Perfect."  Murray looked out the window.  "Soup is perfect on a snowy day."

Synopsis:  Murray likes things perfect.  But he hasn't got a carrot for perfect soup!  With no time to chat (Murray is in a hurry), he races past Snowman and through the town doing favors in the hopes of earning a carrot.  But when all seems for naught, can a friend show him there's more than one recipe for perfect soup?

Ben Mantle's Website (illustrator)
Goldfish Soup Recipe (doesn't need a carrot!)

Make a snowman!
Shovel the driveway!
Learn to knit!
Have a winter picnic with a friend!
Make hot cocoa  - and don't forget to put (clean) snow in it!

Now, I've got to end this post in a BIG way (and reward those of you who actually read the entire thing):

I'M HOSTING MY FIRST-EVER WRITING CONTEST AND GIVEAWAY!  The contest and giveaway prizes and rules will be announced on WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18th.  So be sure to follow my blog to get the scoop on Wednesday.  

To be continued...
(how's that for an ending?)


Jackie Castle said...

Great ending, and great book for the winter months. I need to remind myself to come back on the 18th and check out your writing contest.
Happy Writing!

Joanna said...

I love that you are bringing us a wonderful book from your mentor. yay! I have read the very satisfying ending to this story!

I grinned at you emailing yourself with your solution. What a partnership!

Julie Hedlund said...

At first I was thinking that he'd take the carrot from the snowman's nose - LOL!

Soup IS perfect for a winter day. I'll check this out before winter is over.

Miranda Paul said...

@Jackie - yes, please do come back on the 18th when I announce the contest!!

@Joanna - glad you loved the book, and my "partnership." :)

@Julie - That's exactly what I thought at first, too. But the ending is really perfect, isn't it?

Joy Weese Moll said...

Perfect soup sounds like the perfect book for my snowy day. Thanks!

Coleen Patrick said...

Soup on a snowy day--that does sound perfect!

Patricia T. said...

Yes, I thought he'd take the carrot from the snowman. Cute book and so meaningful since it came from your mentor. Also enjoyed your texting yourself the changes to your story. Very creative.

Miranda Paul said...

@Joy - did you get snow yesterday and today like me, too?

@Colleen - wish I were having soup today, but it's Daisy Scouts pizza-making activity after school...almost as good!

@Patricia - Glad you thought my actions were creative. I was thinking more along the lines of lazy or convenient. :) Who wants to get all the way out of bed at that time?! (but I know writers who would!)

Natalie said...

What a cute book! Now you've got me curious about the ending. I will definitely put it on my "To Read," list! :)

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

Please email my iPad with your recipe for perfect ending. thank you for letting me know about the perfect soup.
Sent from mybiPad.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

This book looks delightful! I love the cover art :) Sounds like a wonderful story. So glad you joined in PPBs - I hope we;ll see you again next week :) - and so glad to be adding this book to our list! Can't wait to hear about your contest!!!

Carrie Pearson said...

As writers we focus so much energy on the beginning of a story -- rightly so -- but I love this reminder to make the ending as perfect as the beginning.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

The fact the soup you shared in your resource "doesn't require a carrot" made me laugh. Sounds like a fun book. I'm not a fan of winter, but am of soup.

Penny Parker Klostermann said...

Oh, this sound so cute! I definitely have to read it.

patientdreamer said...

'P E R F E C T" post that
Loved the story, I was wondering where he was going to get the carrot!
Can you also send me your perfect Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

This seems funny! :) I'll check it out!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Congratulations on finding the fix you needed for the ending of your book. I wish I would get an email like that ;)

Anonymous said...

This book looks really cute-I love that you chose your mentor's book to feature. I work with lots of kids (about 600!) as I am an elementary school librarian. I think my kids would love this book-and for those kids who think that they have do do everything perfectly this book could teach a lesson that "perfect" comes in many packages.

Miranda Paul said...

@Natalie- yes, read the book! It's short and so sweet.

@Pen and Ink - will do...when I get a hold of one.

@Susanna - PPBF is right up my alley. I must read a dozen or more a week anyway! And come back for the contest on Wednesday!

@Carrie - yes. I believe "beginnings" are the author's way to grab an editor. But endings are the way to hold on to a reader forever.

@Stacey - sorry to hear you're not a fan of winter. It's grown on me over the past 30 years...and so has soup!

@Penny - you'll love it. In a way, it reminds me of your writing, written with the child in mind, but grabbing the moms, too!

@patientdreamer - too kind!

@thiskid - see if you can guess the ending before it comes...hope I haven't given away too much!

@inluv (Ruth) - In the sea of emails everyday, I welcome that kind!

@kelly - my mentor is magnificent! Her books are so well written. And I do hope you share this one at the's just perfect on so many levels!

Thanks, all, for visiting!

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