Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It’s a Start …

… the first in an occasional series of posts where we take a look at the first line (or so) of randomly selected children’s books. The only thing these books have in common is that I happen to have them on my shelves.

Disclaimer: All commentary is solely the opinion of the author of this blog and is therefore worth no more than the paper it’s written on. Conflicting opinions most welcome in the comments section.

It is a sad and shocking fact of my young life that my parents named me Mary Elizabeth Cep by mistake. I’ve known since I was five that my true name is Lola. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, by Dyan Sheldon.

Love this. Girl’s got voice! The conflict here is sort of silly, but we know we’re in for a fun story. Stars: ****

The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange! The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin.

An odd beginning for an odd story. I don’t like having parentheses in the first sentence, and having the immediate conflict center around directionals is a little bizarre. But, we sense right away that something is amiss at Sunset Towers. And this is one of my favorite books of all time, so…. Stars: ***

”Where’s Papa going with that ax?” Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White.

Widely recognized as one of the greatest opening lines of all time … and for good reason. Stars: *****

My sister Mary Beth was a song reader. The Song Reader, by Lisa Tucker.

Um, OK. I have no idea what that means. Hmm. Think I’ll keep reading. Stars: ****

Harriet was trying to explain to Sport how to play Town. Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh.

Intriguing, but a little confusing, especially since “Sport” is an odd name for a boy and “Town” is an odd name for a game. But again, one of my favorite books in the world. Stars: ***

Your thoughts?


Lauren said...

Wow, I totally forgot the first line of Charlotte's Web. Is that a hook or what?

Rilla said...

OK Linda,
I've taken the tag dare and blogged about my second memory...
here it is...
Stuck in Memory Lane. Hope you'll come check it out and thanks for the idea. We had a lot of fun ;)

Rilla said...

"In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit."
Intriguing. What on earth is a hobbit and why does it live in the ground? Short, simple, direct and what a hook to get you into a whole new world of makebelieve!
For the longest time that was my favorite first line. I practically had the whole book and the The Lord of the Rings memorized. Nothing like a good first line. Great idea, Linda.
BTW, I've tagged a few people with your First Memory Meme and a writer has come back with a new challenge. Read about it here:
Scribbly Katia
Would love to see what comes of it. This is such a great thing you started, Linda. Perfect for writers to take a minute out and do another writing exercise now and then ;)

LindaBudz said...

Hi, Lauren! Yeah, I love that line ... I am starting to form a theory that maybe some of the classics on my shelf have weaker first lines than the newer books because writers nowadays are always coached to hook the reader with the first line. But CW would be an obvious exception.

Rilla, good one! And thanks for the re-tag. Yes, it's nice to do exercises, and to have ready-made blog post topics! Will give that one some thought and try it out later this week.