A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Silly Animal Problems

writing an original story that has been thoughtfully sequenced

The writing of author Dav Pilkey is currently inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of idea development and organization.

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Student Samples: Early Elementary

Monty the Dog
by Ross, first grade writer

Monty barks in the middle of the night. He wakes me up every time so I never get to sleep in the night.

I go get my mom and dad, and I sleep with them. Every night I go under the covers so I can get some sleep. Dad got tired of me crawling in bed every night, so Dad brought home a tennis ball machine.

He put the machine on the porch. He plugged the machine in. The balls began to shoot out into the yard!

Now Monty fetches tennis ball all night.

Now Monty’s barking won’t bother us anymore.

(Click here to view/print Ross and two of his classmates' stories)

Monkey Smell
by Autumn, second grade writer

Once there was a family named the Larus family. They had one tiny problem. The family pet, Chim-Chim (a monkey), smelled so bad that the Larus family had to give Chim-Chim a bath every day. It was no use, he was always smelly, so the Larus family decided to find a new home for Chim-Chim.

The next day the children took Chim-Chim to the beauty parlor for pets. When they walked in the beauty parlor door, the manager asked, “What can I do for your pet?” All of a sudden the wallpaper fell off the walls and turned dark green. The plants died and the plant leaves turned white. Then the manager died.

Next, the children took Chim-Chim up a tall, grassy, breezy mountain. When they finally got to the top of the mountain, the breeze did not take the awful smell away. When they came down off the mountain, a skunk family smelled Chim-Chim from 20 blocks away and fainted.

Late at night two burglars snuck into the Laurus’s house. All of a sudden “CRASH”, CRASH!” Both of the burglars fainted from the smell of Chim-Chim. Then the whole Larus family woke up, and there were the burglars. In the morning the Laruses called the police and the police came and arrested and sent them to jail. For a while Chim-Chim was famous, so they kept him.

Duke’s Coat
by Jessika, third grade writer

Once, across six oceans and seven valleys, there was a Pinto horse named Duke. He lived on a peaceful farm with all his friends and wore a rainbow bandana with a matching personality. Despite his award-winning features, Duke had a big problem. His coat was so shiny and colorful that anyone who looked at it was blinded instantly. Everybody had to wear sunglasses around him.

Sometimes this hurt Duke’s feelings, but it never troubled him much, until one day. It was Earth Day. Duke and his friends had just planted fifty fir trees down by the lagoon, and now Duke and his friend Betty Donkey were deathly exhausted. Betty did not have to wear sunglasses around Duke because she was already blind. Duke and Betty were relaxing by the creek. The calm, flowing water seemed to relax them and wash away all their troubles.

Soon Charlie the pug came trotting happily over the hills. Charlie was a small dog with a big mouth. Nobody could start an argument with him and win. Duke didn’t notice him prancing by, so Charlie turned to say hello. But before he could say a word, he caught a glimpse of Duke’s magnificent hide. He uttered a shriek loud enough to knock Duke back to reality.

Duke saw Charlie stumbling around and ran over to help the frantic dog. But Charlie didn’t know it was Duke, and he kicked him in the leg. Charlie lost his balance, and he tripped over a rock. Unfortunately, there was a six foot cliff beneath him, and he went hurling down into the pit below. Luckily, there was a pool of water at the bottom, so Charlie didn’t get hurt. When they got back to the farm, Charlie wanted to sue Duke for 964 ears of corn.

(Click here to read/print Jessika's entire story about Duke the Horse)

Student Samples: Upper Elementary

Too Chubby
by Jayson, fifth grade writer

One blazing day in the Savanna grasslands, a leopard named Leon was swimming in deep, cold water. As he was swimming to stay cool, he saw a young buffalo that was as large as him. Leon swam at lightning speed toward the huge beast. When the buffalo saw Leon, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to escape, but still he turned and ran. Leon caught up with the childish buffalo and later on, he had a satisfying meal.

When he went to snooze that night and woke up the next morning, he decided to go on a morning hunt. But when he got up, he immediately fell down. He didn’t know what was wrong, but then he came to the conclusion that he was too obese.

About 20 minutes later, when Leon was moaning, Jack Rabbit came along and started to taunt Leon. “You are too slow. You are so overweight that you probably can’t get even get up.”

“Yes, I can,” Leon said.

“Prove it!” Jack screamed.

Leon Leopard lifted himself off of the ground for about five seconds, then fell back down. He tried it again and this time, he took a few steps toward Jack, then sat down on a thorn bush. “Owww!” Leon yelled.

(Click here to read/print Jayson's entire story about Leon the Leopard)

by Raelynn, sixth grade writer

The sun rose above the hilltops, and the sky turned a glorious pink-orange color. King the Lion, ruler of the Savannahs, was prepared to wake the animals from their slumber. His wife, Laila the Leopard, was snoring soundly and sleepily. King was also ready to scare her, to make her tremble with fear and then laugh ridiculously.

King slowly opened his mouth, pushing his voice to roar. “Meep,” his voice squeaked. An eyebrow was raised, he was startled, so he tried again. “MEEP!” He could not make his voice loud enough, not fierce enough! Sighing, King turned around and pawed at Laila’s tender muzzle. She awoke from a dream, eyes fluttering.

“Yes, King?” Laila questioned, “I thought you were supposed to roar us awake.”

In response the “kitty” just slowly shook his head, with a disappointing frown forming on his lips. “This morning I tried to scare everyone awake, but I didn’t. I wasn’t able to, sadly! For some ominous reason my voice won’t be louder than a peep when I try.”

Laila nodded. She understood. She was also full of pity, a humorous pity that made her want to chuckle. The sky was now transitioning from its pink hue, to a graceful light blue. It was later in the morning now, so Laila roared for King instead. Everyone woke up, from rabbit to every feline sibling.

King disappeared into a dry, grassy meadow, sulking. What happened? Could he roar no longer? Seemingly, no, he could not.

(Click here to read/print Raelynn's entire story as well as the stories of two of her classmates.)

Student Samples: Middle School

Broken Wing
by Blaize, 7th grade writer

Hal the Hummingbird was sitting in his flowerpot, gazing at the sky and crying. He wished he was flying among the sun, the clouds, and most of all, the other hummingbirds. Unfortunately, Hal fell out of a nest at an early age and fractured his left wing. The doctor said he would be unable to fly for the rest of his life. Since Hal could not fly from flower to flower to get food, he lived in a flowerpot.

One hot, summer day, when the flower in Hal’s flowerpot had little nectar and Hal was starving, a fat, juicy bumblebee landed in the flowerpot. A starving Hal snatched the bee in half a millisecond and was careful not to get stung. “Stop,” yelled the bee, “I can help you! I’m an inventor.” Hal was a little confused, but he released the bee.

“Thanks. My name is Bob. To reach me, go 21.8 yards north, turn right and keep going until you find an oak tree. Turn thirty degrees counter clockwise and go that way for 43.5 seconds. Look to the left and you’ll see the Aspen tree in which my hive is located. Bye,” buzzed Bob as he flew away.

Hal was still hungry (and confused) until his friend, Frank, another hummingbird, came. “You know what migration is, don’t you Hal?” asked Frank. “It’s when all of the hummingbirds fly south to escape the cold and eat Mexican food. Unfortunately, with your bad wing, you’ll have to stay and endure the cold. Don’t worry. I’ll bring a taco back for you.”

A month later, and it was almost time for migration. Hal was very worried because he couldn’t fly. Suddenly, Hal thought of Bob and spent four hours tracking him down on foot. When Hal finally found Bob, he explained his problem. Bob thought that his new invention might help. It was called a plane, and it turned out to be a machine that flies. Hal used it to fly away and find Frank.

They flew south, and over the Gulf of Mexico to “escape the cold and eat Mexican food”.

(Click here to read/print Blaize and two of his classmates' stories.)


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