Picture Books to Chapter Books

December 12th, 2011 by

Admit it. Even though you’ve outgrown the baby stuff and your favorite books have lots of words and chapters and just one picture on the cover (that you’ve stared at a lot), you still have a soft spot for picture books. I know I certainly do! And wouldn’t it be great if some of our favorite picture books were made longer? For instance…

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Whatever Harold drew with his purple crayon became real — whether it be pies or animals he shared the pies with, or the boat and the waves he sailed on.

But in the extended chapter book version…

We find out the magical origin of Harold’s purple crayon and why he only has blue pajamas to wear. He woke up with his head shaved and he’s determined to track down the rapscallion who did it — the man with the green crayon! *cue suspenseful music*

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Punished for misbehaving, Max is sent to his bedroom without supper. There, his imagination takes him to the land of the Wild Things, where he is king.

This one is a little tricky because a movie was already made based on Where the Wild Things Are, and there’s also a novelization of the movie. But what about some more back story on the Wild Things and their world? I always imagined them to be other children who had run away and then eventually mutated into wild, fantastical creatures.

Madeleine by Ludwig Bemelmans
In the Madeline series, our protagonist lives in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. How simple and quaint, oui?

Buy why was Madeline sent to boarding school? Does she have a checkered past? I know she’s young, but perhaps her day-to-day schoolgirl life is a cover for that fact that she’s an INTERNATIONAL SPY! The class visits around the globe (London, Texas, even the White House!) are a perfect cover story for French Intelligence.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Alexander woke up with gum in his hair, and the day just goes downhill from there. He resolves to move to Australia.

No crazy plot twist necessary here — I know this sounds weird, but I want to hear MORE about Alexander’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It would be 24 chapters total, with a chapter for each hour of his terrible day.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
The rosy-pink Little House sits on a hill and watches the growing city expand closer and closer to her, until she’s no longer surrounded by apple trees but by tall buildings and loud noises.

This one’s more on the serious side, but hear me out — a thoughtful short story on the pros and cons of city versus country life, and how do to deal with urban sprawl.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
The lions tango, the warthogs waltz, and Gerald the giraffe wants to fit in… but he’s just too clumsy.

The extended chapter book version, like the picture book, would be a thoughtful story about not caring what others think and just doing what you LOVE! Even if it means dancing like this!

What’s your favorite picture book you’d like to read more about? Leave a comment below with the description!

— Nancy

Nancy was going to mention what her favorite picture book was here, but she can’t. There are just too many.

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