Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Picture Book Endings Day 2: Fantasy

What makes a satisfying conclusion to a fantasy text? Many endings resonate and seem inevitable, because they echo the beginning of the story. Diary of Worm by Doreen Cronin is a good example. It starts with:

“March 20. Mom says there are three things I should always remember:

1. The earth gives us everything we need.

2. When we dig tunnels, we help take care of the earth

3. Never bother Daddy when he’s eating the newspaper.”

The ensuing diary includes humorous entries about worm’s friendship with spider, school days, his stress about fishing season, getting stepped on, nightmares about giant birds. The penultimate entry lists three good things about being a worm.

The ending:

“It’s not always easy being a worm. We’re very small, and sometimes people forget that we’re even here. But like Mom always says, the earth never forgets we’re here.”

This conclusion summarizes the book and makes a connection with children- who are little, and easily overlooked.

What a brilliant closer. That last sentence recalls the earlier advice of Mom regarding earth ( also brings up associations of mother/earth). The personification of earth is poetic, leaves the reader with the comfy feeling of everything-is-relatedness, and strongly (note the use of “never”) affirms that even small creatures are appreciated and have their role. A deep way to end a hilarious story!

Like the ending of All Pigs Are Beautiful (the book discussed here yesterday), this finish refers back to the beginning, it sums up the story, and in spare language creates emotional impact. There are other types of endings for fantasy texts.

Which ones resonate with you? Why?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your great tips on endings. I am struggling over a picture book ending right now. Maybe I'll find one of your models that I could work in for my book. Thanks, I'll keep trying.