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How To: Writing Funny and Amusing Chapter Books for Children
The Four Square
Start With A Four Square
Writing a book for kids is not too hard to do. Just get the kids to help you do it! My students got excited about writing this year when I told them that we were going to write a book together. They were even more excited when they discovered that the book was going to be published like a “real” book!
We started with a four square. Each square has a specific purpose. The first square is for the character or characters. The second square is for the setting. The third is for the problem, and the fourth is for the resolution.
Sneezey The Snowman
The characters are the people in your story. The main character is who moves your story along. It is his or her thoughts that create your story – their actions that make things happen. You can have as many characters as you would like in the story – but you need at least the main character.
In A Forest With His Friends
The setting is the time and the place your story takes place. The time can be present day, the past or the future. The place can be a real place or one that you create. Sometimes settings are made up places that are based on real places. Sometimes they are fantasy places such as another planet or another world that only exists in the author’s imagination.
Every story needs some sort of problem. Without a problem, there can be no story. Imagine the Wizard of Oz without Dorothy not needing to get back home, or Amelia Bedelia not getting things mixed up. Dorothy would just be walking around a farm and Amelia would just be another woman in a small town. Nothing really exciting and no real reason to read.
A resolution is how a problem is solved. The resolution must go directly with the main problem. There can be smaller problems throughout the story, but the resolution must fit the big problem. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy finally figures out the way home, and in Amelia Bedelia, Amelia figures out how to make things work.
He Talked To Uncle James
Pick A Funny Character
To make a funny or amusing story, pick a funny character. My students picked a snowman. When we first began writing our story, we had just experienced our first snow. A snowman was a perfect character for them to begin with. We talked about all kinds of characters – talking animals, boys or girls, aliens and monsters. They decided that a talking snowman would be the funniest character. They also decided that the snowman needed friends to help him out. They decided on a talking tree, a bird and a polar bear.
Uncle James Thought
"In A Dream That Came True!"
An amusing story needs a setting. The students thought about making a funny setting – a silly planet that had only snowmen. Jacky wanted a place near the North Pole that only Santa knew about that had talking snowmen. They finally decided that the story would take place in a regular forest. When I asked when the story took place, Mykaela spoke up and said “It took place a long, long time ago in a dream that came true!” I loved it!
Did It Work?
Do You Use These Steps?
Have you used a four square to write a story?
An Amusing Problem
You need a problem – and if you want people to laugh at your story – you need a funny problem. Anthony suggested that the problem be that the snowman sneezed a lot. And when he sneezed, he froze people. The other kids voted and they decided that they liked that idea, as well.
Sneezey Talked to Harrison
The Resolution Fits the Problem
Remember, the resolution needs to fit the problem. If you have a funny problem, you can have a funny resolution. This is where my class had some fun. Each student came up with a different way to keep the snowman from sneezing. Antonio said that the bird gave the snowman a bird seed to cover his nose. Armani thought that maybe a soda would stop him from sneezing. Ethan suggested that the snowman would just take off his nose and then wouldn’t sneeze anymore. That’s when Rachel said that the talking tree was a cherry tree and that they should replace the carrot with a cherry.
Have Fun Writing An Amusing Story
It took a lot of work for the students to come up with the story. They worked hard and wanted to do their best. Once they came up with the ideas for the characters they decided on the names. Then they drew the pictures for the story. They couldn’t wait to send it in to be published!
Read the story following this!
This process will work for you, as well. It will work for picture books or for chapter books. Just have fun with the process and you will have success!
Sneezey The Snowman
©LaDena Campbell and the Brainworks Crew (aka justateacher)
Sneezey The Snowman
Written by Anthony, Armani, Mykaela, Rachel, Landon, Jacky, Ethan, Antonio and Mrs. Campbell
In a forest a long, long time ago, in a dream that came true, there lived a snowman named Sneezey. He lived there with his friends. Woody was a cherry tree. Uncle James was a colorful bird and Harrison was a polar bear.
Sneezey was your everyday snowman…three big snowballs, button eyes, a carrot nose and a mouth made of bubble gum balls. He had a silk scarf and a soft hat. He was happy most of the time. But sometimes he was sad.
You see, Sneezey had a problem…he sneezed ALL the time! And when he sneezes he freezes his friends! His friends were sad. They didn’t like to be frozen. That made Sneezey feel sad and alone! Poor Sneezey!
Sneezey wanted stop sneezing. He asked his friend Uncle James if he had an idea.
Uncle James thought and thought. He went back home. He saw the seeds that he was saving for winter. The seeds gave him an idea. He took one of the seeds back to Sneezey.
“I have some seeds left. Put this seed on your nose. Maybe it will fix your nose!”
Sneezey put the seed on his nose. “Achoo!” He sneezed. It didn’t work. It cracked and fell off. And Uncle James was frozen solid! Sneezey gave Uncle James some hot cocoa and a warm blanket, and he soon thawed out.
Sneezey went to see Harrison the polar bear. Harrison suggested that Sneezey have a soda to keep him from sneezing. Sneezey took a drink of the soda. It tickled Sneezey’s nose. “Achoo!” Harrison was frozen solid! He gave Harrison a hot cocoa and a warm blanket and thawed Harrison out.
Sneezey went to see Woody the cherry tree for help.
“Woody, can you help me?” asked Sneezey.
“I can help you,” said Woody. “Here, give me your carrot nose.”
Sneezey took off his carrot nose and handed it to Woody. Woody picked a cherry from his head.
“Use this cherry for your nose. It may stop you from sneezing.”
Sneezey put the cherry where the carrot used to be. He waited to see if he would sneeze.
He didn’t sneeze!
Sneezey was so happy he decided to have a party! Woody, Harrison and Uncle James all came. They all had ice cream to celebrate.
Sneezey never sneezed again!