When Sloane showed me the book last night, she had completed at least ten chapters.
Sloane has enlisted a helper to form the words because right now, she can only write her name. The words are written in a colour of crayon chosen by the author. Each page represents a different chapter. And each page has a drawing, crafted by the author, to illustrate the action.
A new chapter starts with Sloane dictating the text which her mother records at the bottom of the page. Then Sloane draws the illustration above it, in a different colour. The illustrations are connected circular figures who express the action in the chapter. The ocean, where the story takes place, is rippling all around the players.
Sloane began her story with the spellbinding, tried and true opener, “Once upon a time”.
I was drawn in by Ariel, a little pink mermaid, who had “many happy swimming adventures in the ocean with her friend, Flounder the Fish”.
But, there was “a sea storm in the ocean deep” and “the wicked Ursula destroyed the ocean homes”.
“King Triton destroyed the evil Ursula.” And “all the mermaids came out cheering. King Triton fixed the houses. All the mermaids and mermen were happy.”
You can tell King Triton from the other figures because his arms come out of his head and his eyes are very large.
“Ariel’s nice father destroyed Ursula. Everyone was happy. Ariel will have more adventures.”
I’ve learned that reviews are very important for promotion and sales. But to get good reviews the tale has to draw a reader in, then hold her attention. There have to be surprises in the story. Made up words keep readers’ eyes glued to the page. Happy endings are key, particularly for a four year old. But every good writer knows good times only last so long.
So, all you mermaids and “mermen”, stay tuned for Ariel’s future escapades.