Copy Cat Writing: Writing Children’s Books Like Audrey Penn

I joined a writing group called “My 500 Words”.  The goal of the group is to write 500 words each day.  Obviously, my writing slacked off the week of our big California Council for the Social Studies conference.

The prompt for today is to copy a favorite from the classics and try to emulate the style.  When I did my day of market research in the bookstore, I looked at children’s books.  I loved the book, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, written in 1993.  (That’s a classic, isn’t it?)

Chester Raccoon stood at the edge of the forest and cried.

“I don’t want to go to school,” he told his mother.  “I want to stay home with you.  I want to play with my friends. And play with my toys. And read my books. And swing on my swing.  Please may I stay home with you?

Mrs. Raccoon took Chester by the hand and nuzzled him on the ear.

“Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to do,” she told him gently.  Even if they seem strange and scary at first.  But you will love school once you start.  You’ll make new friends.  And play with new toys.  Read new books And swing on new swings.  Besides,” she added. “I know a wonderful secret that will make your nights at school seem as warm and cozy as your days at home.”

Chester wiped away his tears and looked interested.  “A secret? What kind of secret?”

“A very old secret,” said Mrs. Raccoon.  “I learned it from my mother, and she learned it from hers.  It’s called the Kissing Hand.”

“The Kissing Hand?” asked Chester.  “What’s that?”

“I’ll show you.” Mrs. Raccoon took Chester’s left hand and spread open his tiny fingers into a fan.  Leaning forward, she kissed Chester right in the middle of his palm.

Chester felt his mother’s kiss rush from his hand up his arm, and into his heart.  Even his silky, black mask ringed with a special warmth…

So I wrote my version, The Eskimo Kiss by Marsha Ingrao 472 words

Misty Rabbit stood outside Tree House School and cried.

Misty Rabbit

“I don’t want to you to go away,” she told her friend.  “I want you to stay here.  I want to hop along familiar roads, play and be friends. And talk about growing up. And eat giant carrot burgers and drink chocolate malts. And ride bicycles together.  Please stay.

Rusty Raccoon took Misty by the foot and nuzzled her ear.

“Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to do,” he told her gently.  There will be roads for us to hop along again.  But we both have to follow our families now.”

“You are going to school.  You’ll learn to write books.  And make author presentations.   And shake feet with lots of new friends who buy your books.  Besides,” he added. “I know a wonderful secret that will make your days at home seem as warm and cozy as our school nights together.”

Misty wiped away her tears and looked interested.  “A secret? What kind of secret?”

“A very old secret,” said Rusty Raccoon.  “I learned it from my mother, and she learned it from hers.  It’s called the Eskimo Kiss.”

“The Eskimo Kiss?” asked Misty.  “What’s that?”

“I’ll show you.” Rusty Raccoon spread  his fingers on both sides of Misty’s face.  Leaning forward, he gazed into her eyes, rubbed her nose with his nose.

Misty felt her friend’s Eskimo Kiss rush from her nose down her neck, and into her heart.  Even her long ears tingled pink.

Rusty Raccoon smiled.  “Now,” he told Misty, “whenever you feel lonely and need a little love, just touch your nose, and think, ‘Rusty loves you.  Rusty loves you.’ And that very touch will jump from your nose and fill you with yummy thoughts.”

He took Misty’s foot and carefully held it over the kiss.  “Now, be careful.  Don’t lose it,” he teased her.  “Don’t worry.  When you wash your face, I promise the Eskimo Kiss will stick.”

Misty loved her Eskimo Kiss.  Now she knew her friend’s love would go with her wherever he went.  Even to school without him.

That night, Misty stood in front of her friend, and looked thoughtful.  Suddenly, she turned to her friend and grinned.

“Come closer,” she told him.

Misty placed her front feet on both sides of Rusty’s face.  Next she leaned forward rubbed her friend’s nose with hers.

“Now you have an Eskimo Kiss, too,” she told him.  And with a sweet “Good-bye” and “I love you,” Misty turned and danced away.

Rusty Raccoon watched Misty Rabbit hop over a jumbo rock and across the meadow.  And as Rusty scampered in the opposite direction, he stopped and pressed his hand to his nose and smiled.

Misty’s Eskimo Kiss filled his heart with warm words.

“Misty loves you,” his heart rang.  Misty loves you.”

18 thoughts on “Copy Cat Writing: Writing Children’s Books Like Audrey Penn”

      1. OK, we need to keep track of these and decide which ones are keepers. I think this one is definitely a keeper. Frankly, I didn’t find too many keepers in the market research I did two weeks ago. I’m going out this week to do some more research in different cities. :)

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