Extension Activity, Illustration, Picture Books



One of the basic rules of picture book writing is that writers need to let the illustrations tell part of the story. Teachers, parents, and kids can have fun looking for this principle in action in GOODNIGHT, ARK.  This activity should have a game-like quality as you and your child hunt for extra funny bits that are only in the pictures!

To get you started, here are some great examples of how illustrator Jane Chapman uses illustration to add humor and even extra plot details to GOODNIGHT, ARK.  Look carefully, for they are subtly sprinkled throughout her rich and colorful spreads.

Extra Animals: In addition to the key players, Jane adds extra animal guests.  I found nine extra pairs. Can you?

Extra (funny!)provisions: The text makes no mention of specific provisions, leaving lots of room for Jane to add humorous extras like the canned cat food that rolls across the floor on the tippiest page in the story.  It took me several reads to notice them. What other funny provisions do you see?

Underwear!: Every child I’ve read my story to has howled at Jane’s humorous inclusion of polka-dotted boxers quietly hanging on the line to dry.  We’ve also chuckled over the toothbrush. Both nice touches, I would never have thought of. What other humorous extras can you find?

Extra Plot Layer:  I don’t want to give away the most exciting part, but a certain pair of creatures is instrumental in restoring balance on the ark. In her illustrations, Jane brings out the personality of this pair in a darling way, even hinting through their gestures that they planned the whole stinky thing.  I LOVE that extra layering!

BONUS ACTIVITY FOR KIDS: Write a story and illustrate it. Be sure to include at least one extra funny bit in the illustration that is not included in the text.  Share your story with a friend and see if they can find your extra funny bits.

Note:  A variation of this post first appeared on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog as part of her Perfect Picture Boo Friday series.

3 thoughts on “FINDING EXTRA FUNNY BITS: An Extension Activity for GOODNIGHT, ARK”

  1. Laura, I found your books! I thought they’d be in the religious section, but they’re with all the other picture books. I was so happy to finally read it! Just love it and all the points you make here are critical when writing a picture book. I do both so I create from both angles. It’s key to a successful picture book and your clever text with Jane’s exceptional paintings are “the perfect pair” 🙂

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