fish hook in water_b&w

Hooks…do we really need one?

Hmmm….good question.

From what I’ve seen and learned from reading thousands of picture books, hooks help! If you can make your reader curious early on (the hook) and make him wonder what’s going to happen and how in the world things will end, then you’ve hooked your reader. Of course, you’ll still need to reel him in…a good story and a fabulous ending will do that. So, put some bait on your line, create an interesting story and go “catch” yourself a reader!

Some books with good hooks:

The hook: It was almost Christmas , and the forest was a flurry of activity. The animals were bustling here and there – putting up the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, making tasty cakes and cookies – while the young ones scampered about, squeaking with excitement.

Everybody was looking forward to Christmas.

Well, almost everybody.

The book: Grumpy Badger’s Christmas by Paul Bright

The hook: One Monday morning in September, Mrs. Barrington rolled out a big poster with all of the presidents’ pictures on it. Grace Campbell could not believe her eyes.

“Where are all the girls?”

The book: Grace for President  by Kelly DiPucchio

The hook: To any outsider, Gilbert had everything a goldfish could ever want.

A magnificent stone castle.

A treasure chest full of gold.

And a feast of tasty flakes that fell from the sky just in time for breakfast each day.

But one thing Gilbert did not have was the very thing that he most desperately wanted:

A pet.

The book: Gilbert Goldfish wants a Pet  by Kelly DiPucchio

The hook: Things were quiet on the Tuckers’ farm.

The cows chewed their cud.

The hens clucked and pecked and laid their eggs.

The old hound stretched out on the porch, watching and listening.

Once in a while someone would stop to buy tomatoes or corn, perhaps a quart of milk.

Nothing unusual happened there.


The book: Three Hens and a Peacock  by Lester L. Laminack

The hook: Ozzie was a very lazy owl.

“It’s time you learned how to fly,” said Mother Owl one day.

But Ozzie said, “Oh, do I have to?”

He didn’t want to learn how to fly. All that wing-flapping looked like too much hard work. Ozzie’s favorite thing to do was to sit around.

“I’m practicing being wise,“ he said.

“Well, I want you to fly,” said his mother sternly.

“Now, I’m going out to look for some food. And if you are wise, you will be on the ground by the time I come back!”

The book: Lazy Ozzie by Michael Coleman


Love that Line


“Time to Cook? I’m too tired. I am so-o-o uninspired – ‘cause my plan to catch monkeys completely backfired.”



by Judy Sierra

With its frolicking rhyme and fast paced tempo, this story moves Mr. Crocodile’s day along quickly, until, this line brings it to a halt. The way you breathe and pause when you read this line signals the change in the direction of the story. Game-changing!