Thursday, 26 March 2015

Carrie the Limping Lion

(UPDATE: You can now buy 'Carrie the Limping Lion' through my blog, thanks to Payhip!) 

I've been struggling to figure out the format for the children's stories that I want to write. What age group should I target? How do I actually start each story? What happens in each story? All of these are things I've been thinking about and not managing to come up with answers to, until today! 

I've decided how to deliver each story, and that delivery is through simple poetry. I enjoy writing it, and hopefully it's more enjoyable for young children to read. Here's my first draught of "Carrie the Limping Lion". (Yes, she's named after me, Carrie-lion!)

Francois will be illustrating each stanza for me to make things more kid-friendly, and to add to the story a little bit. 

Please give me honest and critical feedback - I need to learn a lot and improve the way that I write these, if I want to expand on the collection and actually have kids interested in the stories. If children find them boring, then they won't learn anything from them, and what would the point be in that?

Well, here goes nothing:

Carrie the Limping Lion

Carrie is a lion cub
Her knees are always sore
Sometimes when they hurt too much
They make her want to ROAR!

Jumping jacks are bothersome
And running makes her squeal
You can't see what makes it hurt
But Carrie's pain is real

Carrie has a lion's heart
Do you know what that means?
She's very brave and carries on
And joins the running teams

Soreness makes her running slow
And sometimes she comes last
But Carrie has a special dream
Of running Cheetah-fast

Sometimes when the pain is bad
Her mom wraps up her knees
With bandages to keep them warm
But sometimes others tease

The tiger cubs don't understand
So they don't play with Carrie
But that's okay, 'cause Carrie has
A cool best friend called Sally

Sally is a panther cub
And climbing is her thing
But when her friend is tired and sore
She joins her on the swing

They talk about all kinds of things
And like to play pretend
So Carrie is a happy cub
Life's better with a friend

*Update #1: At the end of each poem, I plan to include a kid-friendly description of what affects the character involved and how this makes things different for them. Sort of an educational post-script for children who want to read more about it.

*Update #2: Edited last line from "Because she's with her friend" to "Life's easier with a friend". Also, Francois has started illustrating it in the meantime, working on the opening illustration. Yippee!

*Update #3: Panthers are the strongest climbers of the cat family, so to give Sally and Carrie different interests, I've changed Sally's 'favourite thing' to climbing, instead of running.

*Update #4: Had a lovely phone call with my mommy and got some really useful crit about the metre and some of the clumsier lines. Thank you, Mommy!

*Update #5: Daddy pointed out that Leopards are not the fastest animals, cheetahs are... How has nobody caught this yet? Haha! 

*Update #6: If Carrie needs bandages because she's cold, why is she wearing shorts? Changed stanza five from 'Sometimes when it's very cold', to 'Sometimes when the pain is bad', so the poem and illustrations make more sense together. 


  1. I like the format and also the fact that you don't moralise . Children are more subtle than we give them credence for. I would rather add a couple of leading questions as a postscript to an involved older person. . I still remember the interaction with my grandchildren:-) have you seen the Old Turtle books?

    1. Thank you. I agree, kids are more observant than many people give them credit for. :)

      That's a great idea, thank you! I can already think of a few questions that, when posed, would help children to relate to the characters in the story, and understand the differences that affect them.

      One that pops to mind is:
      "When you have a headache or a tummy ache, can you see what's making you sore from the outside?"
      Or something similar, but phrased way better than that. :P

      I don't think I've seen them. I'll look them up quickly. :)

  2. I'm thinking of changing the absolute last line to "Life's easier with a friend".
    What do you think?

  3. Super sweet! I feel like I understand younger Carrie-lion more now...

    It's really lovely, Caro.