Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Opening Line.

I love opening sentences in children's books. They vary in length from six words in Peter Pan and Wendy by J. M. Barrie to the extreme of 148 words in L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables.

No matter the length of the opening sentence or what the sentence is about, it should capture its audience with some sort of intrigue so that the reader wonders, "why is that happening?" or "what is going on?"

Here are some opening lines that made me wonder enough to keep reading.

“‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”

Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White

“I didn’t know how long I had  

been in the king’s prison.” 

    The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

“All children, except one, grow up.”
Peter Pan and Wendy by  JM Barrie


“Sophie had waited all her  

life to be kidnapped.”                                

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani 

"Queen Gobbledeegook was angry!" 
Sir Nathan and the Troublesome Task by Mark Simon Smith

"It certainly seemed like it was going to be another  normal evening at Amelia Bedelia’s house.”

Amelia Bedelia Unleashed by Herman Parish


"When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen."
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

"The First Place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it."
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

First sentences not only peak the reader's interest  with "why" or "what", they also set the tone of the story.

Here are the first lines of my two books.

"Petra curtsied to the king and queen of Pen Pieyu, who sat upon their thrones."
Sir Princess Petra - The Pen Pieyu Adventures by Diane Mae Robinson

"Petra awoke to the sound of the royal councilman's bugle."
Sir Princess Petra's Talent - The Pen Pieyu Adventures by Diane Mae Robinson

What are some of your favorite first sentences in children's books?

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