If you are a fully registered participant and hope to qualify for prize drawings at the conclusion of ReFoReMo, read mentor texts every day through March 28, comment on the prize posts, and keep a record of your reading. You know what you need most for your writing. Best wishes achieving your goals!
by Travis Jonker
As someone who reads a lot of picture books, those with unexpected endings stand out. Here are a few books that do the unexpected ending right.
A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
How It Ends: Vernon returns the bird to a Cuckoo clock.
Why It’s Unexpected: The reader learns that this is indeed where the bird belongs when the clock strikes and bird emerges with a loud Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! A delightful way of showing rather than telling.
The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud
How It Ends: In a packed opera theater, Papa Bear ends up on stage and decides to sing a song that will bring Little Bear back.
Why It’s Unexpected: Bears can’t sing (at least in the human sense), so the song comes out as a fierce growl, sending the audience running in terror. It works to find Little Bear, but not in the way the reader expected.
The Jacket by Kirsten Hall; illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova
How It Ends: The girl makes a jacket to protect Book.
Why It’s Unexpected: The jacket the girl makes is the same as the jacket on the physical book. It’s a conclusion that changes the reader’s perspective on the story by bringing it into the physical world.
Wild by Emily Hughes
How It Ends: The girl leaves civilization to return to the wild.
Why It’s Unexpected: She completely tears the house up on the way out and never looks back. There’s no change of heart - a rarity in picture books.
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen
How It Ends: They dig until they fall back to where they started.
Why It’s Unexpected: It’s unclear if a) they are truly back where they started and b) how exactly they got there. An open-ended conclusion that leaves readers questioning what happened.