Monday, March 12, 2018

ReFoReMo Day 8: Matthew Winner Starts Strong, Ends Strong



There is little more that gives me joy than a picture book that lands on its last page.

Strong starts and strong endings matter a lot to me, both as a reader and as a writer. It’s how you greet your audience and how you ensure that they’ll return to your story again. Here are 10 books along with their first and last lines. Consider how these lines move you. And how your writing, in turn, can move your readers.


1. HOW TO FIT IN WHEN YOU STICK OUT
Charlotte the Scientist is Squished by Camille Andros and Brianne Farley

START: Charlotte was a serious scientist.
END: Charlotte didn’t need outer space… she just needed her own space.










2. MAKING MOLEHILLS OUT OF MOUNTAINS
Great Big Things by Kate Hoefler and ‎ Noah Klocek

START: The world is full of great big things: This enormous canyon. This wide desert. These billions of stars. This single mouse who travels far by an endless highway.
END: It’s a great big thing to love someone. “But there were deserts and mountains, a forest, the sea…” “Small things.”


3. WORDS THAT WALK WITH US
Nimoshom and His Bus by Penny M. Thomas and‎ Karen Hibbard

START: Nimoshom drove a school bus. Sometimes he spoke in Cree. Nimoshom means my grandfather in Cree.
END: Some Cree people don’t say goodbye. Nimoshom was one of them. Instead, at the end of the day when he dropped off the kids, he said: “Ekosi.” Ekosi has many meanings. It means, okay, that’s it, or amen. Nimoshom was a good man. Ekosi.



4. THOUGH YOU ARE SMALL, YOU ARE SPECIAL
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman and Isabel Greenberg

START: Let me tell you a secret. The sun is just a star. And there are (maybe) 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars (a hundred billion trillion).
END: There’s only one of YOU. Right here, right now, reading this book.



5. PREDICTABLE, WITH A TWIST
I Won’t Eat That by Christopher Silas Neal

START: Dogs eat dog food. Fish eat fish food. But I’m a cat, and I will NOT eat cat food.
END: “Hi, Cat,” squeaked Mouse. “I’m hungry and searching for something yummy to eat. What does a cat eat?” “Hmm… I think I’ve just figured it out. But I must warn you…”






6. SETTING THE STAGE AND CLOSING THE CURTAINS
Shelter by Celine Claire and Qin Leng

START: It’s morning. And as the day stirs, the animals do, too. Some slowly… some gently… while others go leaping out of bed! Over breakfast, everyone catches up on the latest news: A STORM IS COMING!
END: And that is how two strangers came to share their humble shelter on a stormy winter’s night when the moon could not be seen.





7. CONGRUITY THROUGH CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCE
Another Way to Climb a Tree by Liz Garton Scanlon and Hadley Hooper

START: Lulu climbs the tallest trees in the neighborhood, the ones with the widest branches, the biggest knots, and the stickiest sap.
END: And Lulu, with her fingertips, climbs that tree, bit by bright warm bit. She reaches and swings and twists and hides. She’s here… and then she’s gone, just like that.






8. FOLLOWING THE THREAD
Sing, Don’t Cry by Angela Dominguez

START: Once a year, my abuelo would come from Mexico to stay with us. He always brought his guitar, and he would sing to us every night.
END: “And always,” Abuelo told us, “I will be singing with you.”






9. AS CAPTIVATING AS HISTORY

START: One of the ships on this page is painted in sneaky, stripy camouflage. You probably can’t even see it. Oh. You can see it? Hmmmmmmm.
END: After all, as those of us inspired by Norman Wilkinson’s paint job know, sometimes desperate times call for DAZZLING measures.





10. A NOTE OF WISDOM TO TAKE AWAY
Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet by Sanae Ishida

START: Little Kunoichi, a ninja-girl-in-training, has a pet… But not just any pet...
END: Often overlooked | All the treasures that we seek | Are here, part of us







Matthew is giving away a 30 minute Skype session on a topic of your choosing. Brainstorm story ideas. Critique a manuscript. Build a strategy for expanding your social media presence. Develop a personalized recommended reading list to support your writing and story developing. You name it. To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must comment on each post, be registered by March 4, and consistently read picture books throughout the challenge.




















Matthew Winner is an elementary library media specialist in Howard County, Maryland. He is the host of The Children's Book Podcast (formerly All The Wonders podcast), a weekly podcast where Matthew talks to authors, illustrators, award winners, up-and-comers, and everyone in between. Matthew is the author of ASHA WENT WALKING, a webcomic for young readers illustrated by Lorian Tu-Dean about a girl, her arctic fox companion, and her magic bag. In 2013 Matthew was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker and was invited to the White House as part of the Champions of Change program. Visit Matthew online at www.matthewcwinner.com/blog or on Twitter at @MatthewWinner.

176 comments:

  1. It is a very unique collection of books and examples that I am now very keen to explore. I am honestly feeling grateful to have you (Matthew) here for guidance. Thanks again!

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  2. This is a great selection with so much variety. I love how each book is given a descriptor around the starts and endings (e.g. A Note of Wisdom to Take Away) that helps me to categorize other examples.

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  3. Matthew, I love Shelter & Dazzle Ships and now, when you put the beginning and ending next to each other, I love them even more. Thank you for this great post. I enjoyed looking through your listed books & then some of my mine.
    Here's one for you - "Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor" by Patricia Valdez.
    Start: Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, a little girl named Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests.
    End: And just like when she was a little girl, Joan often hosted children's tea parties at the Reptile House with her scaly friends. Sumbawa [Komodo Dragon] was the guest of honor.

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    1. I'm going to check out Joan Proctor!

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    2. I just read JOAN PROCTOR, DRAGON DOCTOR last night! It's a March release, right? Beautiful book!

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  4. For weeks I have struggled to find the best ending for my manuscript.I couldn't find my way to a satisfying closing sentence. Thank you for shining a bright light on the path ahead. I am most grateful.

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  5. I believe it's a habit of highly effective people (aka PB writers) to begin with the end in mind! It sounds simply, yet it's often quite challenging to end with a powerful impact. This post is a helpful reminder about the many ways to do so effectively. Many thanks for sharing!

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  6. Thank you for this selection and post - the start and end is a great exercise to try out our own writings!

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  7. Writing out the beginning and ending sentences is a great way to think about how the story must connect from beginning to end. It would be a good exercise to try as we craft our manuscripts. Thanks for the tip!

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  8. All these titles were new to me but I appreciated their uniqueness. Thank you Matthew!

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  9. Knowing the beginning and ending of a story is how I structure my work. I'd be lost without it. Thank you for this amazing list of picture book inspiration.

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  10. Thought-provoking post. It was fun to read the gathered beginnings and endings that you have. It's not unusual for me to have a great beginning for a story but not have a sense for where it may circle back. And that usually is a sign that the idea needs to "cook"a little bit longer.

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  11. Hi Matthew! Great examples of well structured stories. Thanks for sharing some PBs that are new to me.

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  12. These are great selections for this topic. Thank you for this post!

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  13. I really enjoyed zooming in on the beginnings and ending of this set of books. The ones that I liked the best had some sort of surprising contrast from start to finish. For GREAT BIG THINGS, it was starting with “The world is full of great BIG things” and then juxtaposing this with the idea that these are “SMALL things” in the face of love. For A HUNDRED BILLION TRILLION, it was contrasting a hundred billion trillion stars at the start with “there’s only one of you” which really drives home the message of how special each individual reader is. Finally, I loved the twist from the “desperate times call for desperate measures” at the beginning of DAZZLE SHIPS to “desperate times call for DAZZLING measures” at the book’s end. Thank you, Matthew Winner for these dazzling beginning and endings!

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  14. It is so challenging to start strong and end strong. Thank you, Matthew, for these mentor texts that do it so well.

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  15. Thank you, Matthew for a great post. I thought it was interesting that this list of books are “quiet” books. I love when the last line of a book is the same as the first line but with a different meaning, like in “Your Alien” or when it is just slightly different, like in “The Napping House.”

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  16. Thank you for sharing some titles which are not part of the mainstream. I know a few, but I'm excited to read the rest!

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  17. Thanks, Matthew, for this detailed post. I was able to get about half the titles already, but I love that you included first and last lines for ALL of them, so I get good examples even if I can't get my hands on every one of them. I also appreciate that you spelled out the purpose/effect of each pair. Super helpful!

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  18. Alice Carty FulgioneMarch 12, 2018 at 8:52 AM

    I also feel that good beginnings & good endings make me want to return to stories again and again. My favorites from your list were "I Won't Eat That", "Sig Don't Cry", and "Charlotte The Scientist Is Squished".

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  19. Thanks so much! I love stories that come full circle... but I must admit, my favorite part of all of these was the complete unexpectedness, in I WON'T EAT THAT, of "bioluminescent phytoplankton." Wow.

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  20. Thank you for introducing us to these great mentor texts. In revision, I usually review my mss over and over from start to finish. I will now take a look at first and last lines separately as well.

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  21. Matthew, thank you for these examples and a different way of looking at them. I do notice the first and last lines in books but usually when they are very similar. I appreciate your insight.

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  22. Thanks for an incredible post, Matthew! I love what I learned from reading the beginnings AND the endings of these books. And all the stuff inbetween was pretty great too!

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  23. Love this! Thanks for sharing these titles!

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  24. We love Charlotte the Scientist, and I'm excited to explore the rest! Can't wait to catch up on what I can put on hold at the library. And truly- there is nothing better than books that stick the landing. When I'm reading a good PB for the first time, I feel like I'm rooting for it along the way... "Come on... you can do it" and then "yay! They did it!" when they nail it at the end. :)

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  25. My favorite from this list is the Dazzle Ships. I, especially, like reading first & last lines in nonfiction picture book biographies. Thanks.

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  26. I enjoyed reading/studying all of these books but Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton and Victo Ngai had me turn right back to the first page and starting all over again. Thank you for doing your home work and sharing it with the rest of us.

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  27. Matthew, This presentation is powerful! Thank you for writing out the first and last lines for comparison, and stating the theme above them. Each example reminds us of the potential impact of the opening and closing lines. Thanks again!

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  28. Wondrous opening lines and endings make me smile. Thanks for sharing these mentor texts, Matthew. You inspire!

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  29. What a great post, than you Matt!

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  30. Matthew, I often learn best by example and this was an excellent 'example' lesson. Succinct and right on point. Just what I needed as I work on revisions of two stories right now. Thank you for giving it. :)

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  31. Thank you for sharing these titles. I always try very hard to start and end strong and have a connection between the two, so it's great to see successful examples of that.

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  32. Thank you, Matthew, for these great titles that "land on their last page." With a strong hook at the beginning, these last lines demonstrate how to doubly hook the reader at the end, making a picture book a chosen read-again. I especially enjoy creating a delightful surprise twist at the end of a book. Becky Loescher

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  33. Thank you for the reminder for strong beginnings and endings, Matthew. You have introduced me to several new titles. BTW--I love All the Wonders Podcast!
    Suzy Leopold

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  34. So enjoyed your post and these wonderful mentor books.

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  35. Such a great, multi-faceted, winning post. Thank you so very much, Matthew! I've added these to my reading list and pile.

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  36. These were books I may not have found on my own. So THANKS, Matthew!
    I especially loved Great Big Things!

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  37. Morning! I concur with Traci Bold's comment--your ideas above are straight & to the point. Something I too need to nail down in some of my manuscripts. Thank you for these amazing mentor books to review again & again

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  38. I wasn't able to locate all of these but will keep working on the Cree story. I learned so much from Matthew's take on them. I will read some of them again and again before they are due back at the library. Thanks for your insight.

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  39. Wonderful mentor text examples for strong starts and endings. Thank you!

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  40. A great bunch of books to nosh on. And a diversity of ways to get from the first page to the last and end strong. Thanks for sharing these books.

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  41. I love getting new ideas on how to tear apart a book. Love this idea of looking at the beginning and ends of some great ones. Thanks.

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  42. Fantastic post. Strong beginnings and ending can make or break a manuscript. Tough to come up with, but worth the effort. Thanks for the great list of books!

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  43. Endings can be so tough! I look forward to reading these.

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  44. Thank you, Matthew! I’ve always been a little obsessed with first and last lines. Many of my manuscripts end with some sort of framing or circling back to the first line. I am enjoying your recommended reading list. These books certainly do start and end strong. I WONT EAT THAT, Is one of my new favorites. What a fun and surprising book! ONE HUNDRED BILLION TRILLION STARS, left me with so many new discoveries and appreciations for our world and galaxy. Thank you for brining attention to strong beginnings and their ends.

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  45. Great first and last lines, especially the first book listed.

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  46. Thanks, Matt. Great examples in your mentor text selections. Time to revisit my manuscripts and inspect the power of the first and last!

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  47. Strong endings and strong beginnings create such a satisfying read and re-read. Thanks for sharing some favorites, Matthew. Carole Calladine

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  48. Hi Matthew, I always love your posts! Thanks especially for the title, I Won't Eat That. The first and last lines are hilarious.

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  49. Thanks. Great selections illustrating strong first and last lines.

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  50. I think a lot about beginnings and endings, especially when I want them to be (almost) the same!

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  51. I'm a fan of your podcast and love these examples. I'm currently struggling with a good opening on one manuscript and a good ending on another. Thank you for the food for thought.

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  52. I love seeing the start and end side by side. I have done presentations on PB Beginnings and PB Endings separately. But thinking about the beginning and the ending of the same PB really takes it to a new level. Thanks!

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  53. Great post, Matthew! The best books have perfect endings, ones that bring the story home. Thank you for this selection of books to study.

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  54. Thank you, Matthew, for these examples of starting and ending strong:) Terrific reads!

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  55. Hello Matthew, I enjoyed this reading list. These titles were new to me. Thank you for showing how the beginning and ending of a story works together by pairing the first line and last line of these books. I appreciate this post very much.

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  56. Thank you, Matthew. Many of these titles are new to me. I am still waiting for some of these.

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  57. Matthew, this is a great reminder to look at the opening and closing lines of our manuscript! Sometimes I forget to see how they tie together.
    Thank you for this post!

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  58. Thanks for the encouragement to put special focus into first and last lines. Very helpful. Thank you!

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  59. I enjoyed revisiting some titles and meeting some new ones in this post. "Setting the stage and closing the curtains" was a particularly useful way for me to reread and better understand the storytelling in SHELTER. Thanks, Matthew!

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  60. Books with strong openings and endings are such a joy to read. Thank you for suggesting these mentor texts-most are new to me.

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  61. This was such an inspiring post. The beginning and ending are critical parts of a story and easy to overlook as you struggle to get the middle right!! Thank you, Matthew, for offering up titles to study, that do a great job of demonstrating this important aspect of storytelling.

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  62. What a great study! Found some new favorites in this list! Thank you for breaking down beginnings and endings.

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  63. Excellent examples, and what a great way to look at our own WIP-- via only the opening and closing lint(s). Thanks, Matthew.

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  64. Thanks you so much, Matthew, for your list of ten books with clear descriptions of how they captured your interest and especially the opening and ending lines since I may not be able to find all of them. Looking forward to reading the ones I've found!

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  65. I found this post so educational! I will try writing out my story beginnings and endings to see how intriguing they sound. Thank you for this study!

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  66. I agree, Matthew, the beginnings and endings are SO important, and I strive to make mine solid every time. These were excellent examples -thank you for sharing your time and talent!!

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  67. I might have to keep a file of starts and endings from now on. Fascinating! And thanks for your diverse list.

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  68. Thanks, Matthew. Can't wait to read the middles of all these wonderful titles!

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  69. I feel inspired! Thanks so much for the post Matthew!

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  70. Great post, Matthew! I love all of the examples you gave. As a writer, I find beginnings and endings a real challenge to get just right.

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  71. Great post, Matthew. Yes, those beginnings and endings are so very important in picture books. Thanks for highlighting these titles. And thanks for your extremely generous offer of a Skype visit with a lucky #kidlit person.

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  72. Hi Matthew! Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post with us!

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  73. Thanks for the mentor text list, Matthew! Always start and end strong! Looking forward to diving into these!

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  74. My favorite titles today were Charlotte the Scientist is Squished and Sing, Don't Cry. I really like their starts/ends (and what was in between as well!). For me the beginnings of these two made me have to read what came next. And the endings left me feeling good and uplifted.

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  75. Thank you, Mathew--very interesting post and great examples! I also enjoy when a story brings the beginning into the end. For me, it gives a sense of infinity. Ekosi!

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  76. Now I want to read the first and last lines of the books I have.

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  78. I had a hard time getting my hands on these books, but the few I was able to read were wonderful. Thanks for examples of great firsts and lasts!

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  79. Thanks for this collection of exemplary texts. It was wonderful to read them with your insights.

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  80. Thank you so much for sharing these 1st and last lines. I've started keeping a database of picturebooks with their first and last lines. These are some great ones to inspire!

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  81. What a great selection of mentor texts for beginnings and endings. I myself love twist endings, but probably overuse them. I'll check out these picture books for some new ideas. Thanks!

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  82. I've never been great at last lines, but a lot of times they're the difference between a good book and an amazing book. Thanks for the examples.

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  83. Great post! Thank you so much, Mathew.

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  84. Starting strong and ending strong-two areas I struggle to be strong, but I'm working on it. Look forward to reading these books as good examples!

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  85. I don't typically read first and then last lines but it is a striking way to consider a picture book! Thanks for your selection, Matthew. I know most of the books (thanks to you in large part) and will be sure to check out those I'm unfamiliar with.

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  86. Thanks for the reminder of the huge importance of strong beginnings and endings, and the helpful mentor texts. And what a great exercise to specifically study first and last lines together!

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  87. Thank-you for the insight into beginnings and endings. I am always impressed when I need to go back to the beginning of a book after reading the ending because I then realize I may have missed something.

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  88. You're right - the beginning and end are so important - and difficult to nail. What a great list of books. Many of these were new to me. Thanks for sharing!

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  89. I'm going to go back through all my own manuscripts to see if they pass the START/END test =). Thanks, Matthew!

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  90. Thank you for inspiring examples on the importance of first and last lines- great way to focus on mentor texts. And thanks for introducing me to some books I might not have looked for!

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  91. I remember Matthew Winner's Wonderful Webinar. This is an awesome post that you can print out and study again and again. What a varied selection of books. I had only read one of them, so I was thrilled to have a lot of new books to peruse.

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  92. Ooo, this is an absolutely fantastic list! Thanks for sharing so many books which appear to be off the beaten path!

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  93. Matthew,
    I love your book recommendations. To Skype with you would be a delight.

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  94. Great list. Just ordered all from my library. Thank you!

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  95. Great mentor text recommendations, Matthew! I love first and last lines too and sometimes I agonize over them when I'm writing!

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  96. Thank you for all your great mentor suggestions, Matthew. You've enticed me to read each and every "middle"!

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  97. I really appreciate beginnings & endings. They give a book purpose. Thanks so much for sharing these examples. Several were new to me.

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  98. Great book choices! This was a great perspective. Reading the first and last lines of these books was a great lesson. It will be fun to try it on some other books too!

    Also! What do ya know Matthew! I grew up in Howard County! What school do you work in? I went to Waverly ;) I enjoyed discovering your podcast today.

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  99. THANK YOU for the inspiration and providing GREAT examples of how to start and end our stories strong. An important reminder.

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  100. Thank you for the great post! I read the list of books first and at first I was a little confused why some were selected for this topic. But seeing the first and last lines written together in the post helped put everything together for me. The contrasts are stark and really help drive the points home, especially in Great Big Things. The only one that hasn't come in from my library yet is Dazzle Ships and I am so excited to read it! Thanks!

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  101. Thanks for the great book selections and for the reminder of the importance of engaging and satisfying beginnings/endings. I enjoy tying the first and last lines of my stories together and appreciate the examples of how to do that well.

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  102. Oh, the lines of Another Way to Climb a Tree! I just adore.

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  103. Truly loved your post. And I thought the chapter names were equally brilliant! And I was intrigued by your bio and excited to learn about your podcast!
    Jenna feldman
    Plus I love your giveaway! How rad!

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  104. What unique selections! Each book possessed a great beginning and a great ending. Each book instructed in multiple ways. I absolutely loved Charlotte the Scientist is Squished! As a teacher, I was always looking for books that demonstrate the scientific method, especially for younger children. Charlotte not only does that and but also touches the heart. Thanks for the great post about two important elements of picture books.

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  105. Thank you so much for including Chibi in this wonderful list!!

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  106. Beginnings and endings are always a challenge. Thank you for sharing these excellent examples!

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  107. Thank you for the wonderful post. Now I want to go back through some of my manuscripts to make sure my beginnings "greet my readers" and my endings "land it on the last page!" Wonderful mentor texts.

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  108. I like the way you have pointed out the strong starts and finishes of these books.

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  109. Thank you for sharing a diverse collection of books with strong starts and finishes. I'm still digesting all that's in Great Big Things. I love its strong yet contrasting start and finish.

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  110. I've been so focused on my manuscript's hook, that, after reading a few of these books, I feel I have neglected the ending a bit. Thank you for your post. It's definitely getting me to looking more closely at how beginnings and endings tie together.

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  111. Amazing how reading the beginning and the ending of each book makes me hunger to know what's inside. Thank you for these great selections!

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  112. Matthew, thank you for choosing 10 picture books with great beginnings and endings. I also like the way you introduced each one with a heading which described each book’s uniqueness. Very helpful post!

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  113. Matthew, Thank you for sharing these great examples.

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  114. The beginning and ending lines are some of the most memorable parts of books. One I just read this evening held such heart! And the MS I'm drafting? Some of my favorite words are the beginning and ending sentences.

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  115. VERY excited to check out your podcast Matthew! I've just subscribed and can't wait to tune in.
    I really enjoyed todays titles and topic. It has sparked ideas for my own work that I look forward to exploring!
    Thanks!
    - Lisa

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  116. Thank you for this post! I have been paying close attention to opening and closing lines recently, this selection is great!

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  117. Thank you for this awesome post! The idea of just looking at the beginning and ending line is genius. I'm going to be doing that with all the stories I'm working on and all the stories I read. It's a powerful exercise.

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  118. Writing out the beginning and ending sentences is a great way to think about how the story must connect from beginning to end. Thank you for this insight.

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  119. I absolutely love reading the first and last lines side by side like this. It's so amazing!

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  120. Full circle. Full twist. Gotta love a book that makes a bet and pays it off.

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  121. Thanks Matthew for some great examples. A few of the books are new to me and I'm excited to check them out!

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  122. Thank you for your post and great mentor texts. Lots of learning and ideas to help improve the start/end of my stories.

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  123. Matthew, thanks for great examples! I often learn from examples. I’m not familiar with these but they will be great mentor texts – I’ve requested them from the library! My own favorite comes from Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd: What is wild?
    And where can you find it?
    Just when you are about to give up – There
    There it is again.
    Old and worn and still standing strong –
    Wild.

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  124. Beginnings and endings are so important as they hook you (or not) and leave you with a feeling (or not). These are great examples of when they work! Thank you.

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  125. Love good first and last lines.

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  126. I absolutely love today's reflection/studies. This is honestly one of my favorite things to work on in my writing - I LOVE satisfying endings and great beginnings, especially when they mimic, or circle back, or contribute greatly to one another. I think it is the most satisfying thing to do in a story. It really leaves you wanting more, and being pleased with what you just read. I work on this a lot in my own craft, so these are great book suggestions to use as mentor texts. Also, love the mouse story!!

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  127. Matthew - I agree, beginnings and endings are so important in picture books! Thanks for excellent examples and mentor texts!

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  128. Thank you for the wonderful mentor texts, Matthew! I look forward to reading them! "A picture book that lands on its last page" - great way to think about it!

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  129. Thanks for your post! It's helpful to see how each of these authors nail their landing on the last page.

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  130. Thanks for this selection of books. The importance of connection between beginnings and endings came through for me.

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  131. I MUST have a satisfying ending, above all else-yes! As a writer of creative nonfiction, finding my way into a story is always the most difficult part for me. I tend to write the beginning and the end first, like bookends, which helps immensely. Thanks, Matthew!

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  132. Thank you, Matthew, for this fantastic set of recommendations. The beginnings and endings here all work beautifully and yet I see a lot of variety in how they work.

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  133. These are wonderful examples, thank you!

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  134. This is exactly what I've heard from SCBWI, the most important pages/sentences are the first and last. The first is your promise to your reader. The last is where you tie up loose ends and make sure you kept your promise. Thank you for great examples!

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  135. You have great examples, Matthew. Thanks!

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  136. Thanks for sharing those great mentor texts, Mathew!

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  137. What a wonderful format for your post! Thank you for breaking this down so neatly and giving plenty of examined examples. I also appreciate your inclusion of so many diverse authors, illustrators and characters. I will strive to write PBs that "land on the last page." And I will find the book Nimoshom and his Bus. Just the little bit that you shared made me cry, and eager to read the whole story.

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  138. I always love when books tie back to their beginnings and strive for that in my writing. Thank you for these wonderful mentor texts to look at and for sharing your time with us.

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  139. The first year of ReFoReMo I wrote out the first and last sentences of every picture book I read. Thanks for the reminder of why this is such a valuable technique. Great selection!

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  140. Great first and last lines can be so satisfying. But I've never thought to study them in nonfiction books. Thanks for the great variety of titles.

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  141. Thank you for this post! I loved reading the first and last lines.

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  142. Thank you Matthew what a great way to look at books through their first and last line. I really like the character Charlotte.

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  143. Oh - these are all so wonderful! Now I want to read what is in-between.
    Thanks.

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  144. Thank you for the suggestions. I love opening lines.

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  145. Thank you for your new to me suggestions. The book on climbing trees is the only one I've read. Cannot wait to study the rest.

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  146. Thanks, Matthew, for great mentor books to read.

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  147. Loved the topic of Dazzle Ships-I had never heard this before. So curious about the word count and how it is used in schools. Some great books as always Matthew-thank you!

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  148. You must have the best school library ever in the history of libraries.

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  149. This is a great big-picture exercise for WIPs - does the opening line launch the story? Does the closing line land it? Thanks!

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  150. Thank you for this great post with tangible exercise!

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  151. I love the idea of looking at each beginning and ending.

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  152. Matthew, what a treasure you’ve given us! This post will make me examine the exact words at the beginning and end. I do, but this puts them in an even different light!

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  153. What a diverse group of books! Loved the ending of GREAT BIG THINGS and CHARLOTTE is a fave!

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  154. Strong beginnings and endings are my favorite research to do on mentor texts. I was enthralled by all the ones I read for this post. (I still have 3 to find!) Great Big Things will be added to my permanent library. Thank you!

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  155. Your post was very helpful. It's easy to get caught up in the story and characters and forget to hook your reader in the beginning and leave them feeling satisfied by the end. I especially love the beginning and ending of Great Big Things. The first line and last line go so perfectly together, you can almost feel the entire deep message of the story in those two lines. Their love was vaster than any geographical barrier and totally worth the journey. In fact, the message reminds me a lot of the song Ain't No Mountain High Enough. I digress. The beginning and ending of that story feels complete because the two lines go so hand in hand. I am going to try to make my first and last lines fit together like that in my own writing. Good advice.

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  156. Thank you, I love the idea of tuning into strong openings and strong endings. And I just signed up for your podcast!

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  157. Thank you for the helpful post and the introduction to some wonderful books.

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  158. I'm still waiting for most of these to be available at my library. Thank you for including the beginnings and endings of each one!

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  159. So many great books on this list. I love the ending of I Won’t Eat That.

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  160. Thank you for this list. I love studying first and last lines.

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  161. I did love the way A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars explored the vastness of the universe, but ended with the reader being special and unique.

    Good things to ponder for improving our MSes.

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  162. This is an amazing list of books. I've started writing out first and last line of other ReFoReMo books. Thank you!

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  163. A great post to keep handy and a great technique to use when reading. Thanks, Matthew.

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  164. It is so interesting to read some of these books for a second time and really notice how the beginnings and endings WORK, and leave me satisfied or wanting more. Thank you!

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  165. I'm looking at books in a new way. Thanks for influencing my current WIP.

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  166. I'm off to go re-read some other favourites, to look more deeply in the art of starts and finishes... thanks!

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  167. Great book choices! Looking forward to checking out your podcasts. Thank you!

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  168. Definitely going to start collecting beginnings & endings now! I love the way these beginnings are connected to their endings. Thank-you!

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  169. Thanks. Strong starts and ends certainly make a difference in these books

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  170. It's hard to tell in your own writing how strong a beginning or end is. These are wonderful choices to examine.

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  171. Although I haven't finished all of these wonderful books yet, I so appreciate you highlighting the first and last lines.

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