Living with a children's author isn't as easy as it looks!


Picture books and poems work better if they have something unexpected in them. Besides originality, an opening that captures the reader, complex characters, conflict, cause and effect, solution, setting, wordplay, rising stakes, humor, a satisfying ending, and a dog….


… (OK. I made that last one up.), a story needs a surprise. It could be a dragon who likes to cook, crayons that make magic drawings, baby birds hatching inside a motorcycle helmet,


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Β Photos courtesy of Gemma –

a super hero baby, or a dog who paints like an artist….. Unexpected surprises. They help makeΒ stories and poems more FUN.

I found an unexpected surprise outside by the laundry room stairs, yesterday.


A hairbrush. Why?


Wait! What??

Why is there a hairbrush in the grass outside? Were neighbors fixing their hair before doing laundry? Was a student walking to school doing her hair because she was late? Is the groomer from Petco hiding behind a tree waiting to brush my fur?


What will happen to the hairbrush? Will spiders move in between the bristles and build webs? Will grasshoppers walk through and think they’re in a forest? Will a baseball fly over the garages and land on top of it? Will the lawn guys mow it?

If it’s still there tomorrow, I am going to taste it. I hope the super doesn’t come by and put it in the garbage when he cleans up…. That would be NO FUN.


Comments on: "Unexpected" (41)

  1. Cupcake, the brush might be a lovely place for lice, maybe it walked away by itself… πŸ™‚

  2. It’s a mystery Cupcake, wonder if it will still be there tomorrow πŸ™‚ xx0xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  3. So cute! My mom can’t go to bed because she had a sunburn so she needed a laugh to snooze her pain! Your friend Linus.

  4. My goodness Cupcake……you sound like Sherlock Holmes (or since you’re a girl maybe Shirley Holmes?) with all those questions trying to figure out WHERE that brush came from! I know you’ll solve the mystery though…..meanwhile you’re right about unexpected things – they’re sometimes GOOD surprises and other times NOT SO GOOD ones! πŸ˜€

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

    • So true, Sammy. Once Mom surprised me by giving me a treat in the bathroom – good surprise. Then – bad surprise – she stuck me in the tub and gave me a bath!!

      Love and licks,

  5. Unexpected surprises sure are fun, and so are you, Cupcake. We wonder what will turn up tomorrow!

    Piggy kisses,
    Katie and Coccolino the mini pig

  6. Maybe someone was going on vacation and it dropped out of their travel bag. Now they will look like a firecracker went off on their head when they wake up in the morning! I unexpectedly found a cell phone yesterday and I found the owner and returned it. Now they must have thought THAT was UNexpected!
    Thanks for using my photo. πŸ˜€

  7. It’s a mystery! But I don’t suppose you’ll be allowed to taste it. Bipeds have such strange ideas about what we should and should not taste!

  8. snoopys@snoopysdogblog said:

    Haha Cupcake – The mystery of the hair brush, I hope you’re able to solve it buddy! πŸ™‚

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy πŸ™‚

  9. Can I be your Watson πŸ™‚ xxx Have a fab weekend Cupcake

  10. I don’t think you made that up. I think every picture book benefits from a dog… especially if it’s you, Cupcake πŸ™‚

  11. You know a really good picture book? This is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen. I do love books with dogs in them, though πŸ˜‰

  12. Don’t eat it!!!! Some surprises can taste really bad. Love the babies in the helmet. Have a nice weekend.

    • Thanks, DD. I eat things that taste bad all the time. That’s why my mouth smells the way it does, despite doggie mouthwash and getting my teeth brushed every night.

      Love and licks,

  13. Wonderbutt probably put it there. He loves to move things around – or eat them.

  14. I can’t wait to hear what it tastes like, maybe its made of rawhide:-)

    • I missed my chance, Misaki. The possibly-rawhide, possibly-delicious brush is gone like a freight train. Why does the clean up guy take his job so seriously??

      Love and licks,

  15. Cupcake…you continue to look more adorable with each passing picture!!!! Oh, I love the ottoman you are posing on in the first picture…I love stuff like that with Shakespeare and poetry written on them…We send woofs and wags to you and your mom…what a treat to capture those baby birds…Happy Sunday!!!!

  16. I think that hairbrush belongs to a handsome longhaired dog boy who wanted to make your acquaintance!

  17. Cupcake and the mystery hairbrush. πŸ˜‰

  18. what?? you didn’t taste it yet Cupcake??? Really????

  19. Taste It! Taste It! Taste It!!!

  20. […] Conflict and tension are important. (Mom stinks at both of […]

  21. […] started a new story last week. She is working on it with her online writing class – Making Picture Book […]

  22. […] is also drawing a picture for each idea. AND she is using that as an excuse in her head for falling behind. […]

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