Tag Archives: Children’s picture book

Illustration scares me:

This timely prompt has given me a nudge. Illustrating some of my children’s stories has been something I keep putting on the back burner. I am embarrassed to say that my attempts are so pathetic; I lose confidence that I can do it. In reality it is just a matter of practicing daily. It’s a bit like my love/hate affair with the computer.

Here is one example of a book I attempted to illustrate some time ago. It is done with collage, crayon and ink. I do not need your critique, as I know it is crap. This is just to show you why I hesitate to even begin again:
















I know I can do better!

Is there something you’ve wanted to do but never got around to starting (an activity, a hobby, or anything else, really)? Tell us about what’s keeping you from doing it?

(Thanks, Rocky, for inspiring today’s prompt!) Ben Huberman


Fenella the duck: another picture book to be

Fenella the Duck   Barbara Pyett © 2013

Singing along to their favourite song, the car suddenly stops.                                                      ‘Oh no!’ Dad says. ‘We’ve run over a duck!’                                                                                       He got out and moved the mother duck to the side of the road.

A little duckling stood all alone.                                                                                                      ‘Can we take it home?’ chorused the children.

‘Remember we live in an apartment upstairs; we cannot possibly look after a duckling,’ Mum replies.                                                                                                                                               ‘We can’t leave it here, it will get run over and die!’

‘Well,’ said Dad, ‘I guess the best thing we can do is to take it to a park where there is a pond with other ducks. Maybe they will adopt this poor little orphan.’                                                  ‘We can come back another day to see how it is getting along.’

The children decide to call the duckling Fenella. They really don’t want to leave her, but it is a beautiful park and there are lots of other ducks.

When the family comes back to visit Fenella, Will says,                                                                  ‘Oh how sad, she is all alone!’

‘I don’t think the other ducks want anything to do with her,’ says Hazel.                                     Finn remembered to bring some duck food.

They have tears in their eyes when they have to leave.

Fenella hides amongst the kangaroo grass and the Acacias, below a large sculpture. She has to learn to find food for herself.

When Fenella waddles up to the café in the park she is shooed away, because the café staff don’t want her messing on the patio. At weekends, when Joan is on duty, she sends children down to the lake with breadcrumbs. Watching the other ducks Fenella soon learns to scavenge for food herself.

Sometimes at night Fenella is very scared. There are foxes that roam the park. She swims out to the island in the lake. The other ducks are less scary than the foxes! She hides, hoping that the other ducks will not peck her.

Fenella spends her days scratching in the mud finding her food. She is unaware that she is getting bigger. She loves it when children visit the park and throw breadcrumbs. It reminds her of the family that brought her here.

Fenella is no longer shy and her sleek coat of white feathers is mirrored in the lake as she swims. ‘Wow, she looks big’, cries Will. (pictured: Hazel and Finn pointing showing their parents, when they arrive back in spring).

‘Look at Fenella swimming with that handsome drake.’                                                             ‘She’s followed by a clutch of little ducklings,’ says Dad.                                                             ‘Aren’t they beautiful?’ says Mum                                                                                                  ‘Let’s count them together, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.’

‘’I think the drake looks like Frederick, ‘ says William.                                                                      ‘I’m going to name the ducklings then too,’ says Hazel.

‘We can name three each, because 3×3=9.’

‘OK, my turn, says Hazel, ‘what about: Eloise, Aurelia and Flynn?                                             ‘Good,’ says Will, ‘my three can be: Sonny, Rory and Jack.’

‘Your turn Finn,’ they shout together.                                                                                                ‘I’ll call them: Tove, Ty and Mackie.’

They all watch as the ducks swim around in circles with the ducklings paddling hard to keep up. It’s good to know that Fenella won’t be lonely anymore, now that she has such a large family!’ says Jack.

‘That’s great,’ says Dad as he packs up the picnic, ‘let’s go for a walk and look at the other sculptures, before we say goodbye and go home.’

The end

This story was written after we’d been caretakers at McClelland Gallery in Langwarrin Victoria, Australia.  A duckling was brought to the gallery’s lake, which inspired this story. After completion, I thought it was a bit like ‘The Ugly Duckling’, but hopefully it is different enough to stand on its own.

Another Children’s story ready for illustration:

Willy Wally Wagtail and Rainbow  Written by Barbara Pyett © 2013

 Have you ever seen a willy wagtail? 

He’s a sporty, black backed and white chested little bird that never stops long in one place. He cocks his head on one side to look at you.

 Our Willy Wally wagtail lives in a clearing with lots of other birds and animals.

‘Why does everyone look so sad?’ he wondered as he looked at his animal friends through the gloom. No longer did he see his friend Sun or Rainbow coming to visit.

 Willy Wally hopped about trying to cheer his friends up, but it

wasn’t working and he was beginning to feel sad too.

 That night Will Wally had the most beautiful dream, full of sunshine and light. When he woke-up he realized he must make a plan to bring light back into the clearing. Those trees must be trimmed back. Perhaps echidna could lend him some prickles to help pin the branches back.

 Echidna was a slow, tired ball of prickles. After explaining his plan to lighten their clearing Willy Wally asked,

‘Have you any spare spines, to pin back the trees?’

 ‘I think that would be most unwise as I don’t think I’d be able to grow any more. Also, I might catch cold!’ echidna cautiously added.

 ‘I shall just have to think of something else,’ said Willy Wally.

 ‘Here comes possum, I’ll ask her.’

‘Possum, could you help trim the trees back with your nice sharp teeth?’

‘I’m much too busy eating bush tucker! If you have any sweet fruit I’d be only too happy to help,’ said possum.

 Rabbits hopped about, but just kept disappearing into their many burrows, so he couldn’t ask them.

 Willy Wally thought some more. There must be an answer.

‘What about Rainbow, I’ll ask her for help.’

 Waiting for the rain seemed to take ages.  A raindrop fell on his head.  Willy Wally flew up to whisper his request to Rainbow, hoping he wouldn’t be refused again.

 ‘Please can you help us Rainbow? The sun isn’t getting into our clearing and we are all getting sad because it is so dark.  Could you come and help lift the branches so that we can trim the branches and leaves to let the light through?’

 Rainbow beamed, ‘I’d love to help! You can use me as a ladder so that when I hold the branches up, you can all trim away, and that should make a big difference. I’ll show you!’

 A meeting was held with all of the bush animals, birds and insects.

Everyone wanted to help, even echidna and possum, as they could see what a good idea it was. As Rainbow pushed with all her might the sun shone through the opening.

 Rainbow called, ‘You will have to work quickly as I can’t stay long!’

 The clearing was set in motion as everyone worked quickly, trimming the willing branches while Rainbow held them in position.

The bush buzzed with activity and excitement, surrounded by singing noises and gnawing and sawing.

 As they completed the task Venus shone in the evening sky.

 The next day as the sun came up the animals decided to do something to show Rainbow how grateful they were for her help.

Rainbow’s colours were faded after such a long stay in one spot.

‘We’ll make lotions and potions to paint and revive your colours,’ they all chorused.

 ‘We’ll paint purple from the wild orchids,’ said the rabbits as they scampered and hopped up Rainbow’s bow.

 ‘We’re next,’ said the birds as they splashed red raspberry juice into the red section. Possums dribbled orange into the next part.

 ‘We’ll prepare yellow,’ said the bees as they busied themselves soaking the yellow section with honey.

 ‘We’ll make green for you to paint,’ said the ants crushing grass juice for the wallabies to apply.

 The smell of eucalyptus filled the air as the koalas added their blue-green potion made from the cut off gum leaves.

 Blue melted into purple from the wild flowers and berries, crushed by the rabbits, which hopped      amongst the slow wombats and echidnas.

 ‘My colours are brighter than they were before!’ Rainbow beamed.

 All of the animals, insects and birds stood around in the now sunny

clearing, encircling Rainbow, as Willy Wally sat on top of the bow with his head cocked to one side, admiring his friend’s smiling faces. Willy Wally slid down the bow feeling warm inside.

 Everyone spontaneously began to sing a thank you song to Rainbow. The trees clapped their leaves in time, feeling lighter after their trim.

 Rainbow thanked the bush creatures and melted away to rest awhile, until she was needed after another shower of rain, to brighten another grey day.

The end

Short Synopsis:

This story is written as a picture book; to not only show how things are better when we cooperate with one another, but it will also help young children learn their colours.