I have been studying Ann Whitford Paul’s “Writing Picture Books” for some time now through the Word by Word Facebook club.
In chapter 9, the author suggests that we take a famous fairy tale and rewrite it using our own characters and/or setting while sticking close to the plot. This is a great way to study “how a well-written and enduring tale is plotted”.
I decided to base my fairy tale on “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. At first I wanted to use three sloths, because I remember reading how some animals are just overdone. Then I changed my mind, because I couldn’t figure out who the antagonist would be. I will have to think more about that. So I settled on three chimps with the antagonist being the baboon. In real life, chimps eat baboons, so this baboon was putting herself in a precarious situation.
Because this story is a practice story, it is still only a first draft.
However, I found that ever since I have written this tale, I have thought in the “rhythm of threes”.
Why not try it and post below about your experience?
Brainstorming is always important.
“The Naughty Baboon and the Three Little Chimps”
Once upon a time there were three little chimps. These chimps were good little chimps and they helped each other out. There was a big chimp, a medium sized chimp, and a little chimp.
One day the chimps made themselves some termite stew. But the stew was too hot, so they decided to let it cool. In the meantime they took a walk.
Now there was also a naughty baboon that lived in the forest. And that naughty baboon saw the chimps leave and so decided to investigate what was left behind.
The baboon crept over to the spot the chimps had just left and saw three bowls of termite stew. She sniffed. The smell was delicious. So, looking around, she went closer to the bowls.
She dipped her hand into the first one. “Ouch!” It was too hot.
Blowing her finger, she waddled over to the second bowl. She carefully put her finger into the second bowl. “Eeeewww.” It was too cold.
She moved over to the third bowl. This time her finger met success. “Mmmmm, just right.” She ate up the stew and rubbed her belly.
Feeling drowsy, she walked over to the group of trees where she knew the chimps rested. She leaned her back against the biggest tree. “Ouch, too hard,” she said, rubbing her back.
So she moved over to the middle sized tree. But it flopped back and forth and she could not get comfortable. “Ouch, too soft.”
The next tree was far smaller. She leaned against it and sighed, “Just right.” Then she heard a big “Snap”! Just in time she jumped out of the path of the falling littlest tree.
Looking up in the next tree she saw three nests. She climbed the tree and sat in the first nest.
“Ouch,” too hard, as the branches poked out into her.
So she moved over to the second nest. But the branches almost fell out from under her. “Too soft,” she yelped as she scrambled away.
The third nest was just right though, and she lowered herself down for a nice long nap.
Just then the three little chimps returned.
The biggest chimp looked into her bowl and noticed that there was a hole in the stew. “Someone has been eating my stew,” she said.
The second chimp also noticed something wrong with her stew. “Someone has been eating my stew.”
And then the third little chimp piped up, “Someone has been eating my stew and ate it all up.”
Then the first chimp noticed her tree had scratches on it. “Someone has been leaning on my tree,” she said.
The second chimp noticed how wobbly her tree was. “Someone has been leaning on my tree.”
And then the third chimp pointed and said, “Someone has been leaning on my tree and it is all broken.”
Then they looked up into their nest tree.
The first little chimp said, “Someone has been sleeping in my bed.”
The second chimp pointed and said, “Someone has been sleeping in my bed.”
The third chimp climbed up the tree and shouted, “Someone has been sleeping in my bed. And she’s still there!”
At the shout, the naughty baboon woke up. Seeing the chimp hovering over her, she jumped for her life, down, down, down.
And she was never seen again.