Today begins 2015 PiBoIdMo. Eh?

Today is the first day of PiBoIdMo, 2015. If you’re a picture book writer you probably already know what that stands for: Picture Book Idea Month. Think of a new idea for a picture book every day for thirty days–it’s that easy. This is Tara Lazar’s brain child for people who don’t use the month of November to write a novel in. Or you can do both. This is my first year to join in the challenge. I have started my list–but I ‘m not telling. Maybe some of my ideas will materalize into books.

In the meantime, check out my two latest picture books from Guardian Angel Publishing:

BonBon

BonBon

BonBon is a plush toy French Poodle dog. She lives, for the time being, at the Twice-Loved Toy Shop in Paris, France. She longs for a nice child to take her to a loving home. While she practices being patient, she and the other toys look out the window and see the Eiffel Tower. They talk about other beautiful and famous places in Paris. But, oh, no! BonBon is hidden by another toy, a large bear. Will BonBon ever be seen by tourists walking up and down the Champs Elysees Boulevard? A series of fortunate events is about to happen. Eugene Ruble used photographs of the real BonBon to share the pup’s story with readers.

http://guardianangelpublishing.com/bonbon.htm

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Colby Mouse’s Christmas Gift

Colby Mouse's Christmas Gift

Colby Mouse thinks of a way to take part in the Christmas festivities in the people house where he lives. The little girl, Becky, realizes that the gift left on Santa’s plate is from the clever little mouse.

http://guardianangelpublishing.com/colby-mouse.htm

And here is an announcement from Lynda S. Burch: More new books from Guardian Angel Publishing:

100 Pecans for Tabitha
Academic Wings
Author: Tracey M. Cox; Illustrator: Eugene Ruble
Tabitha is on the search for 100 pecans. Help her count by 5s to reach her goal and have her favorite treats. Recipes and Pecan info included.
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/tabitha.htm

America Bless God,  a Children’s Musical
Angelic Harmony
Authors: Dixie Phillips, Sharon Phillips
Light up your 4th of July with this simple easy-to-perform patriotic children’s musical.
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/america-bless-god.htm

Papillon and the Magic Lamp
Chapbooks for Tweens
Author: Osa Kauffman; Illustrator: Aumi Kauffman Perry
A talking butterfly and a boy embark on an adventure in the desert. They encounter a talking camel, a wily salesman, and a magical lamp.
http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/papillon-magic-lamp.htm

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Monday Metaphor: Personification: It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

It’s quite an imaginative feat for a writer to turn an inanimate object, an abstract concept, or animal into a person. But it can be done through Personification, the technique of giving human qualities to something not human. This method of word play is also referred to as Anthropomorphism. Prosopopeia means “giving face,” as in the face of a mountain or the eye of a hurricane.

This picture is the Personification of Constance and Fortitude.

Ancient Greek gods often had human characteristics. The Muses are among my favorites. They collectively represent inspiration for the arts. I’ve always wondered about Urania, the Muse of Astronomy. But I think she is a Muse because the Greeks considered mathematics an art, and astronomy uses math to figure out the heavens. In fact, all of the sciences contain some art and many scientists have been known to be inspired.

“[The Muses] are all of one mind, their hearts are set upon song and their spirit is free from care. He is happy whom the Muses love. For though a man has sorrow and grief in his soul, yet when the servant of the Muses sings, at once he forgets his dark thoughts and remembers not his troubles. Such is the holy gift of the Muses to men.”
~Hesiod~

The Mother of the Muses, Mnemosyne, is the personification of memory. It makes sense because all of the arts require the student to remember vast amounts of facts and practice in order to become proficient.

It was a convention of the Epic Poets to invoke a request of the Muses to inspire them to create the most beautiful poem worthy of their subject.

From ancient times to the present, writers have employed the metaphor of personification.

In the title of this blog post, I am referencing the movie version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Most people (who like old movies) are familiar with that scene. Mary’s scientist gave life to a creature he put together from body parts. In the preface to the novel, Mary says: “I have thus endeavoured to preserve the truth of the elementary principles of human nature. . .” Her monster has both good and bad qualities.

In “talking thing” stories, such as The Brave Little Toaster, by Thomas Disch, it’s the household appliances that are given human characteristics. Their quest to find their original owner has the same adventures and perils as that of a human’s quest.

In Bill Kirk’s The Sum of Our Parts: Circulation Celebration, (Guardian Angel Publishing), the heart comes alive in Eugene Rubel’s amusing illustrations.

My seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Alison, had the class memorize Carl Sandburg’s Fog.

“The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.”

 In “talking animal” stories, such as E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte and Wilber and the others talk among themselves, but the people around them do not have the ability to hear them. {I’ll never forget the day I read Charlotte’s Web to my young children. My husband came home from work and found the three of us sitting on the sofa crying. A writer with a deft hand can make the reader believe; and White made us believe Wilber when he said, “I don’t want to die.”}  

Closer to home, you might know these people personally: Mr. Clean, Aunt Jemima, Cap’n Crunch, Tony the Tiger, and The Jolly Green Giant. And you’ve bought these products:

Goldfish, the snack that smiles back, Huggies, the diapers that hug supremely, and Kleenex, the tissue that says “bless you.” And you know “you’re in good hands with Allstate.” I like this personification of the printer: “The printer spit out more copies than I needed.” (on MissSpot’s website).

Sometimes just attributing a name seems to bestow humanlike qualities.

Death, The Grim Reaper, a hooded character draped in black robes or a skeleton.

Father Time, an old bearded man with a scythe. 

Mother Nature, countless guises.

Aesop’s fables are full of personified characters. One of the most poignant stories is that of the lion and the mouse. The mouse gnaws off the ropes tying the lion to a tree after the lion had done him a good turn. “Little friends may prove great friends.” or “One good turn deserves another.”

Remember the doll, Mrs. Beasley, on Family Affair? and the horse, Mr. Ed. And how about the mule named Mr. Bascom in Earnest J. Gaines’ Just Like a Tree? Here’s the way the short story begins:

Pa hit him on the back and he jeck in them chains like he pulling, but ever’body in the wagon know he ain’t, and Pa hit him on the back again. He jeck again like he pulling, but even Big Red know he ain’t doing a thing.

“That’s why I’ go’n get a horse,” Pa say. “He’ll kill that other mule. Get up there, Mr. Bascom.”

 ************

In Alice Through the Lookingglass, by Lewis Carroll, the poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” has these lines:

“The sun was shining on the sea,

Shining with all his might:

He did his very best to make

The billows smooth and bright—

And this was odd, because it was

The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,

Because she thought the sun

Had got no business to be there

After the day was done—

‘It’s very rude of him,’ she said,

‘To come and spoil the fun.’”

Here is my poem, “A Year in the Orchard” (published in Parents and Children Together Online).

A YEAR IN THE ORCHARD

by

Barbara Bockman

Spring 

I am the rain. I drop. I drop. I drop.
My waters gently flow
And help the buds to grow.
Listen to my song: Plop! Plop! Plop!

Summer

I am the sun. I shine. I shine. I shine.
I warm down to the root
And sweeten up the fruit.
When it is ripe, you may dine.

Autumn

I am the wind. I sigh. I sigh. I sigh.
The leaves are now brown.
I blow the fruit down.
Would you like to bake a pie?

Winter

I am the snow. I fall. I fall. I fall.
I am silent and bright.
I paint the trees white.
I am soft as a cotton ball.

The following poem was published on library.thinkquest.org as a project of a student for students:

SATIN DREAMS OF INDIA

By Autumn

Satin dreams of India.
Satin dreams of being
made into a beautiful sari.
A warm, Wonderful sari
Worn on an
Indian Princess.
Swaying in the wind.
Satin tell us to be soft and
gentle like her.

**************

Have you used personification in your work? Would you share it with us?

P.S.  Happy Birthday to my daughter Jenny

 

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