Tantalizing, Titillating Titles

Which book would you pull off the shelf first:

“Leaves for clothing”  or  “Hey Jeeves, you forgot your Leaves”

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Is there any doubt which one tickles the brain more?

Recently at our Writers meeting we had a bit of fun with this to practice writing titles. We were asked to write a list of book titles as they popped into our brains. Here’s mine:

Pollyanna Green Eggs & Ham Huck Finn Little Women
Great Expectations A Wrinkle in Time Uncle Tom’s Cabin Oliver Twist
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory The Witches Bourne Identitiy Lord of the Rings

Then we were told, ‘Now morph them, dress them up, dress them down’ as quickly as we could.
Mine became:

Pollyanna’s Bad Word Green Ham & Swamp Monsters Huck Finnigan begins Again Little Women in the Wine Cellar
Great Expectorants Time Wrinkled in Rum Uncle Tom gets Cabin Fever Oliver’s Twisted Psyche
the Chocolate Factory Fiasco The Witches Twitches in their Britches Born Without Identity Lord of the Rigmaroles

What do you think? Intriguing? Makes you really wonder what stories will unfold from the altered titles.

When you’re browsing in a bookstore, hundreds of them all sandwiched together, what is the first thing that draws you attention to a book? The spine–the Title. That is first what makes you pull out a book from those titles squashed so tight by bookstore employees that you can hardly get them out, let alone back in. (Note to self–is this a sales tactic?)

We roll that title around on our tongue. Cumbersome tongue twister types are not welcome by the average human bean. We like a title with a ring to it, or a rhythm. With a beat or an ominous note that reverberates down the spine. Or something that tickles our funny bone.

That title has to catch people. The cover is what we look at second, but an author has very little control, if any, of what his book cover will be like so that title has to count! I find that publishers have developed a knack for pairing covers with the books, but on occasion it happens that the title has to make up for an odd cover. So give it some pizazz folks. (Mind you there is such a thing as the deep end. Don’t send your would be readers over it.)

Chapter titles are important too, so think about them. They, as the book title, should encase a hint, a clue, a temptation to what is in store for the reader, to lead them on a fantastic journey.hjgjkhg1

Try the exercise above for yourself, and just let go. Don’t think too hard. Have fun with it as you create wonderful titles that may just spark your next book.

And here’s a link for some tips to naming that book of yours: http://www.wikihow.com/Come-Up-with-a-Good-Book-Title

Words–Their Weft & Warp Template


Words. Unusual words. Forgotten words. Foreign words. And some whose authenticity one may question, but are fun anyway. In other words, not your average grade 4 spelling list. Enjoy!

Acatalepsy
(n) The impossibility of comprehending the universe

Pluviophile
(n) A lover or rain: someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

Bohemian
(n) Gypsy. Wanderer. A person , musician, artist or writer who lives a free spirited life and believes in truth, love and freedom

Pictures Worth a Thousand Inspirations, cont’d

Previously I posted briefly on “Which Books Started You Reading?” and “Pictures Worth a Thousand Inspirations”

Today I’ll continue to honor the fantastic artists that helped make some of those books memorable and twigged my interest in art and drawing. Some picture books I enjoyed for the words alone. Some I ‘enjoyed’ because the drawings and paintings, so quirky or beautiful or curious, made up for a lame story.

The best children’s books, of course, are the ones where author and illustrator were paired off on equal footing.

These are 3 more of those that made me sit up and dream big.


Shirley Hughes: alfie_autumnalfie_outofdoorsThis British artist/author won my admiration when I was a new mother and began to read to my little’uns. Again, her characters have that little bit more than the average, a little more life, character and a spice I can’t well explain. The pictures speak for themselves. And her stories also. They transmit a warm, comfortable secure feeling that make perfect bedtime relaxants. Like warm milk with honey. I have her books on my shelf of artists volumes.   Dogger4_Hughes IMG_4583(Click on the above picture to appreciate full size details.)


Susan Perl: This artist didn’t so much illustrate whole picture books, as illustrate early readers  and story anthologies, as well as adult periodicals.  My Mom and I would look out for her illustrations when getting library books. The children in her drawings were often big-eyed, with big heads and tiny peaked features. There was something sweetly “cherishable” about them. Nuf said:icanbescrollkay11 4e2e378723c87028baa52fd889334b07 1a96acd302f117c91955f2f8b25838f7 images


 Michael Marchenko:  I never think “Michael Marchenko” without thinking “Robert Munsch.” They are an example of the perfect team, in my eyes. 9781550375534Michael Marchenko’s artwork mirrors, echoes and enhances Munsch’s stories. He captures his essence.url Thus the illustrations are as alive and full of humour, they are as vivid as the writiing. So although I of course wasn’t introduced to these newer books as a child I enjoyed reading them to my children, who were as engrossed in the stories as the illustrations and always asked me “Don’t turn the page yet.”#10683 ANNICK -A-


 

Authors and artists like these planted a dream inside my very core, and it’s taken me years but I’m on the path now. The dream has become a tangible goal.

Who were your childhood favorites, authors and illustrators that struck a cord?

 


 

 

 

 

 

Words–Their Weft & Warp Template


Words. Unusual words. Forgotten words. Foreign words. And some whose authenticity one may question, but are fun anyway. In other words, not your average grade 4 spelling list. Enjoy!

Flaneur
(n) fr; One who strolls around aimlessly but enjoyably, observing life and his surroundings

 

Mizpah
(n) The deep emotional bond between people, esp. those separated by distance and death.

Pictures Worth a Thousand Inspirations

Last week I posted briefly on “Which Books Started You Reading?

Today I’d like to honor the fantastic artists that helped make some of those books memorable and twigged my interest in art and drawing. Some picture books I enjoyed for the words alone. Some I ‘enjoyed’ because the drawings and paintings, so quirky or beautiful or curious, made up for a lame story.

The best children’s books, of course, are the ones where author and illustrator were paired off on equal footing.

The earliest illustrators that made me sit up and take notice were Garth Williams, Richard Scarry, Susan Perl and Robert McKlosky. These are just a few.


Robert McCloskey: McCloskey 2

His picture book drawings were sweet and his chapter books about Homer Price are barrel full of interesting , full-of-life and humour characteristics. So is his writing, and the antics the characters get up to were unlike anything I’d read up to that point.image_blueberriesforsalDoughggnuts Homer Price and the Doughnut machine that kept spewing more and more doughnuts. The “42 pounds of edible fungus in the wilderness a-growing” poem was so catchy even my parents were repeating it ad nauseum. Only it wasn’t nauseous, it was fun. And the elixir that made everything “ever-so-much-more-so.” Beauty. Pure Beauty.


Garth Williams:

charlottes-web-a-writers-tribute-21469142 BedtimeforFrances1He illustrated “Charlotte’s Web” with heart-warming images of the pig and spider we came to love as kids.

He brought to life The “Little house on the Prairie” books, showing us what a butter churn looked like and how Laura and Mary played ball with a pig’s bladder. We lived the books with Laura not just because of her word skill but because of Garth’s pictoral capture of life “back in the day.”0877910664bc80e773fda874675a5f4e75d1e0e44d

And scores of picture books are memorable because of his soft illustrations that gave us the ‘warm fuzzies.’


 Richard Scarry: Long before “Where’s Waldo” or any other “I spy” type book, there was Richard Scarry and his busy world books full of busy little animals doing busy day-to-day things like shopping, sweeping, mowing. And in the corners were little by-plays going on, like someone sipping on a banana peel and landing in an ice-cream vat.4 There were characters like Bananas Gorilla with a dozen watches on his arm, and Lowly Worm with only one “leg” and one shoe. Or the Three Hungry Beggars.scarry I poured over them when I was young. And I poured over them again when my first two children were old enough for them and given a few of the big hard cover books by their Uncle Tom. The girls dubbed them the Big Tom books and wore the spines out of them. What greater tribute could an author or illustrator attain to?richard-scarry-dough2


 

Authors and artists like these planted a dream inside my very core, and it’s taken me years but I’m on the path now. The dream has become a tangible goal.

Who were your childhood favorites, authors and illustrators that struck a cord?

Stay tuned next week for three more of my favourite illustrators (/authors):

Susan Perl 

Michael Marchenko

Shirley Hughes


 

 

 

 

 

Words–Their Weft & Warp 26


Words. Unusual words. Forgotten words. Foreign words. And some whose authenticity one may question, but are fun anyway. In other words, not your average grade 4 spelling list. Enjoy!

Irenic
(n) Promoting Peace

 

Paracosm
(n) a detailed, prolonged, imaginary world created by a child, that includes humans, animals and/or aliens/fantasy beings

esprit d’escalier
(n) The witty comeback you think of after the event where you needed it