Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Page Critique: picture book

This week’s submission is from Storylady, who said, “This is a picture book manuscript. It's 441 words if you include the illustration notes, and approximately 300 if you don't. 300 words with the notes ends at the paragraph starting with "GOOD HEAVENS!" Thank you for doing this!

I'm going to include the whole thing, because I think it's worth discussing those illustrations notes.


    Goldipig thought the tidy cottage in the woods looked WAY better than her mucky sty at the pond.
    She watched Mama Cat instruct her family as they stepped out the door. “Single file! No pushing!” said Mama Cat. “Papa Cat, comb your whiskers! You look dreadful! Hurry up! We must be at Grandcat’s house in exactly six minutes! Max! Don’t dawdle!”
 Illustration note: Six kittens in matching clothes are lined up tallest to shortest. Max, the smallest kitten is not with the program. Goldipig is watching from behind the neatly trimmed shrubbery.
  The moment the cat family was out of sight, Goldipig followed her snout to the kitchen.
    “Where do they keep the food in this place?” she snorted.
    The hungry pig rooted through the pantry, raided the refrigerator, and rummaged in the cabinets. Munch, munch, slurp.
    “So, what’s to do around here?”
    “Books? Bah!”
    “Blocks? Boring!”
    “Banisters? Beautiful!”
     Illustration note: Goldipig tosses the books off the shelves, kicks over a neat stack of blocks, then slides down the banister, breaking it.

    “Nap time! Now, where can a pig go for a snooze?”
    “Not comfy!”
Illustration note: Goldipig is trying to fit on a stiff looking sofa.

    “Not cozy!”
Illustration note: Goldipig lying on Mama Cat’s perfectly arranged bed.

Illustration note: Goldipig lying across the kittens’ side-by-side beds.

    While Goldipig snored, the cat family finished their 27 minute visit with Grandcat and marched home.
    “Wipe your feet on the mat! Hang your coats up in order!” barked Mama Cat.
    Then she walked into the kitchen.
Illustration note: Max drops his coat on the floor behind Mama Cat and tracks in mud.

    “GOOD HEAVENS!” she cried. “Papa Cat, call the police! Raymond, clean up those cans! Suzy, mop the floor!”
Illustration note: Max is secretly lapping up milk and eating a treat.

    Then she walked into the parlor.
    “GOOD GRACIOUS!” she exclaimed. “Papa Cat, call the fire department! Sylvia, line up those books! Robert, stack those blocks!”
Illustration note: Max slides down the banister and flies off the broken end.

    Then she walked upstairs.
    “GOOD GRIEF!” she shrieked. “Papa Cat, call the President! Roger, fluff those cushions! Max, pull up those covers! Max? Max, where are you?”
    Max slipped into his bedroom.
    “Hi,” he said. “Mama Cat thinks you sure did make a mess.”
    “Hey, a pig’s gotta have some fun,” said Goldipig with a grin.
    “You’d better get out of here before she sees you,” Max whispered.
    “Well then, what’re we waiting for?” winked Goldipig. “C’mon, kid. Let’s go!”
    Illustration note: Goldipig and Max are outside playing in the mud while a horrified Mama Cat watches from the window.

Thank you, Storylady! One of the best ways to learn to write is to intelligently critique other work, so readers, how would you critique this story? Leave constructive criticism if you like and check back tomorrow to see my views.

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