Literacy Milestone: Changing the End of A Book
September 19, 2016
I usually read a few picture books to my daughter while she eats breakfast (I eat my own breakfast very early). The other day we read a book called Stop Snoring Bernard, by Zachariah Ohora. I don't know if I had read this to my daughter before, definitely not recently, but I had reviewed it back in 2011. Here's what I said in my review (note especially the second paragraph):
Stop Snoring, Bernard!, as you might guess from the cover and title, is a picture book about an otter named Bernard. Bernard's only problem, in an otherwise idyllic zoo life, is that he snores. Loudly. When fellow otter Grumpy Giles complains, Bernard searches the zoo for other places to sleep. But not only are the other habitats less than congenial for the young otter, the other animals aren't so thrilled with him either. He continually hears: "Stop snoring, Bernard!".
I personally found the resolution of this book, in which the other otters miss Bernard and want him back, snoring and all, a bit unsatisfying. Bernard doesn't really DO anything that fixes the problem - it basically resolves itself. But young children will probably find the ultimate message, about being accepted for who you are, reassuring.
I didn't remember this when I was reading the book to my daughter. And I didn't really comment to her on the ending one way or another. I was trying to hustle her along to get ready for school. But she caught my attention by remarking that a better ending of the book would have had the character Grumpy Giles start snoring in the final scene. I'm not sure that this would have resolved my own criticism of the ending, but I do think that it would have been funnier.
What I told her was that she can write her own books in the future, and end them whatever way she likes. I think that revising the ending of other people's books is a natural first step to that. [Kind of like authors who start out writing fan fiction, I guess, but in picture book context.]
Do your kids suggest tweaks to the end of books?
© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.