PB 14:14 Day Two: Top 10 Picture Book Story Elements – Beginnings and Endings

Today is Day Two of Christie Wright Wild’s PB 14:14…I had fun yesterday, hopping around to several other blogs to read the other entries

If you are just tuning into the challenge, you can follow this link to find out all about it: http://christiewrightwild.blogspot.com/2015/02/pb-1414-in-2015-day-one-with-vivian.html

Do you ever wonder why you love certain books, while others leave you wanting more? Every book needs to be strong in certain elements in order to capture…and hold your attention.

For me, the beginning of a story – the hook that grabs me…and the ending of a story – the finish that leaves me feeling satisfied, are crucial. Love, Twelve Miles Long is a perfect example of a picture book that succeeds in both of these.

love twelve miles long


Author: Glenda Armand

Illustrator: Colin Bootman

Publisher: Lee & Low

Date: 2011

Word Count: 1200 est.

Top 10 Element: Beginnings and Endings

This book stands out for many reasons, but the beginning absolutely grabs you.

The scene is set in a candlelit kitchen. Mother and son are enjoying a few precious moments together:

’Can I come visit you?” asked Frederick.

“No, child. It’s too far away.”

How far?” he asked.

”Twelve miles.”

“But you walked here, Mama.”

“Oh, it’s not far for me, she said. “The way I walk makes the journey shorter.”

“Tell me how you walk, Mama. Tell me how you make it shorter.”

As we turn each page, we discover how Frederick’s mama forgets her pain, remembers her love for him, listens, looks, hopes and prays, as each mile passes by. And finally, at the end of the book:

By the time Mama slipped out into the moonlit night, Frederick was asleep.

When he woke up early the next mmorning, Frederick ran outside and looked down the road he knew Mama had walked. Through his sadness he could still feel his mama’s presence. He thought about all the things she had said.

Mama had told him that there were things he could not count or measure: there were too many stars, the oceean was too wide, and mountains of corn were too high. But there was one thing he could measure. Frederick knew with all his heart that his mama’s love was twelve miles long.’

This is a book that employs a circular pattern…the ending contains references that appeared in the beginning…and for me, that makes a truly satisfying story.

I reviewed this picture book for Perfect Picture Book Friday: https://viviankirkfield.com/2015/02/13/ppbf-twelve-miles-long/

If you’d like to hop around and check out the other posts in the challenge today: http://christiewrightwild.blogspot.com/2015/02/day-2-swirl-by-swirl-spirals-in-nature.html

I’m off to enter my last three non-fiction story ideas in the Mini-Wow Rafflecopter: http://www.kristenfulton.org/mini–wow-nonficpic.html

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday…I plan to stay inside because…guess what? IT’S SNOWING AGAIN!!!!!!

So I guess it is a perfect day for reading more PICTURE BOOKS!!!

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on February 15, 2015, in Beginnings and Endings, PB 14:14, Top Ten Picture Book Story Elements and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Hi, Vivian! LOVE, TWELVE MILES LONG is new to me. Thanks for sharing!


  2. What a sweet book! I’d seen it mentioned elsewhere, but yours was the first description of it that made me want to read it.

    Snowing here today, too… and this kind of weather does make great picture book reading days, doesn’t it?


  3. I think the best thing about participating in these challenges is finding out about so many great picture books you haven’t already read. This one’s on my library holds list now!


  4. I saw this book on Kristen’s website as well…and finished up my last three ideas today for the Mini-WOW.

    I need to have a box of tissues ready when I ready this one. Circular stories are great to help kiddos see how somethings come right back around from where they started…maybe without even knowing. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Haven’t read this one yet. Looks like a great addition to our US history curriculum, thanks!


    • It is hard to keep track of all the wonderful books that come out…that’s what I love about these challenges…I’ve been introduced to a whole bunch of great picture books that I had not come across before. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by….this book touched my heart.


  6. Christie Wright Wild

    This is where I felt it: “When he woke up early the next morning, Frederick ran outside and looked down the road he knew Mama had walked. Through his sadness he could still feel his mama’s presence. He thought about all the things she had said.”

    My library doesn’t have a lot of books or a lot of new books. We can’t get any book we want. That’s part of why I started this challenge, so that hopefully, after reading each other’s “lessons/reviews” we can feel like we’ve already read the book and learned a technique from it.

    Thanks so much for sharing!


    • I’m so lucky, Christie…not only does my library not have a limit on the number of books I can take out, but they are also pretty good about getting everything I request from other libraries, if they don’t have it.
      What an awesome challenge this is…I’m so happy to be participating!


  7. Looks like a marvelous tender story if love Vivian. I must make sure my library gets this. I take them lists and as they can they order books I have requested.


    • What a splendid idea, Damon! Many libraries do take requests from patrons…they have a budget to buy books and want to buy the ones the community wants most. When my parenting book came out, some of my friends requested their local libraries purchase it as a resource book…and as a result, lots of libraries have it on their shelves. 😉


  8. I’ve got to get this one from the library. It sounds so beautiful! I don’t know why I don’t get notices form Kristen’s blog. I need to check on that.


  9. this is a new one to me. Sounds like a great book with good dialogue and a wonderful story.


  10. I like this post a lot! 😀


  11. Yes, this one needs lots of Kleenex. It seems like a tear jerker, the best kind of story and hard to do in a picture book. I”m going to see if I can get it from our library. Like you I can put books on hold from our other libraries in the system. But if our whole library system doesn’t have it — well I”m out of luck.

    Christie Wild’s picture book challenge seems like real valuable and I would have participated if I wasn’t deep in memoir revision. My first picture book , “Annie’s Special Day”,was a circcular book starting with the same things as the end. I Like those books as well. 🙂


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