Posts tagged ‘Laura Gehl’

December 9, 2014

One Big Pair of Underwear Blog Tour – Writing with Kids by Laura Gehl

Yesterday I reviewed Laura Gehl’s engaging, wonderful picture book One Big Pair of Underwear. Today is my pleasure to have her stop by the blog and discuss ways to encourage and inspire kids to write.

A big thank you to Darshana for hosting me on this stop of my One Big Pair of Underwear blog tour.



Darshana asked me to talk about writing with kids.  Many authors agree that a big part of becoming a good writer is simply to write as much as possible.  Most of us have about a zillion bad stories to write before we write any good ones.  So here are three techniques I love for getting kids excited about writing:

  1. New Ending: Take a familiar story, whether a fairytale or a favorite picture book, and write a completely different ending. (Note: for parents, this is a good opportunity to take the annoying characters in the books your children have forced you to read over and over and kill those pesky characters off.  Or at least orchestrate a move to Antarctica.)
  2. Character Swap: What happens when Elephant and Piggy go into the Three Bears’ house and find cooling porridge? What happens when Cinderella visits a farm and finds cows with a typewriter?  Kids will love transporting characters from one favorite story to another and writing about the chaos that ensues.
  3. Editors’ Club: For older writers, have each kid type up her or his story and save as an MS word file. Then ask kids to swap stories and use “track changes” to edit one another’s manuscripts.   For kids who have email addresses, Google Drive is another great option to allow kids to comment on one another’s stories.

With the holidays coming up, you might also want to consider gifts that encourage kids to write:

  1. Very inexpensive: Blank lined notebooks with new pens and pencils
  2. Slightly more expensive but still cheap: Blank books without lines for writing and Some are simple blank books such as these and some come with stickers, markers, and word prompts, such as these.  You could also throw in some pens that write in multiple colors, which are lots of fun.
  3. Splurge: There are several companies that will take your child’s illustrated story and bind it into a real hardcover book. One company is Illustory, but there are other options as well.


If you’ve already done your holiday shopping, you can teach kids to fold their own “books” out of regular paper.  Check out one method for this here.

I wrote another post recently with additional ideas for getting kids excited about writing.  You can check out that post at

Happy writing!


Laura Gehl is the author of One Big Pair of Underwear, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, as well as four upcoming picture books: Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel; And Then Another Sheep Turned Up; Peep and Egg: I’m not Hatching; and Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick or Treating.  Her own kids love writing stories…including, recently, The Maze of Death (K, age 10); The Gangster (N, age 8); The Presidents (S, age 6); and The Rainbow, the Butterflies, and the Giant

December 7, 2014

One Big Pair of Underwear

onebigunderwearTitle: One Big Pair of Underwear

Author: Laura Gehl
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld
Publisher: Beach Lane Books, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-6
Themes: Counting, Sharing

Opening Lines:

ONE big pair of underwear.
TWO brown bears who hate to share.
ONE bear wears the underwear.
ONE bear cries, “That isn’t fair!”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

What’s one thing that two bears, three yaks, four goats, and six cats have in common?
They hate to share.
But look out—here comes a pack of twenty pigs ready to prove that sharing makes everything twice as fun!


– Kindergarten Common Core Curriculum Guides for Math and English Arts.
– Printable activity sheets

Why I Like This Book:

Let me ask what is NOT to love about this book … Nothing.

  • I love that this is more than just a counting book from 1-10. It is has an underlying theme of sharing!
  • I love the front cover definitely an eye-catcher.
  • I love all the silliness: big underwear, cooking hippos, pigs on a slide, etc.
  • I love the use of poetic devices to create engaging and sometimes tongue-tied text.
  • I love the colorful, engaging, humorous illustrations of Tom Lichtenheld. The art was rendered in pencil and digitally colored.

This is a great book to use in any preschool classroom, storytime, for lap-reading.

Check-out Laura Gehl’s guest post on writing with kids!

Picture Book Analysis:

It’s been a while since I have done an analysis, but this is a great book to apply some of the tools I recently learned from the Pacing Picture Books to WOW class and the Lyrical Language Lab.


Spread 2


Spread 3


  • WORDS: The title of “One Big Pair of Underwear” is a memorable catchphrase. Definitely a ‘hook’.
  • REPETITIVE STRUCTURE:The first ten spreads have a repetitive structure that acts as a pacing marker.
    • Line 1 – Introduce number ‘N’ and desired objects
    • Line 2 – Animals (N+1)
    • Line 3 – ‘N’ Animals get the desired object
    • <page turn>
    • Line 4 – Reaction of the extra animal that didn’t get the desired object
  • PAGE TURN: Due to the repetitive structure above the reader KNOWS there is going to be some silly sad animal after each page turn.
  • WHITE SPACE: When showing the sad animal, it is just the one animal in that illustration which really makes the reader ‘feel’ the animal’s loneliness in being left out.
  • POETIC DEVICES: Rhyme, Alliteration, Assonance, Consonance. While this isn’t a ‘rhyming’ book (doesn’t have consistent meter) it does make use of end rhyme.
    • Rhyme – yaks.. snacks.. packs, seals .. wheels
    • Alliteration – young yaks, small sacks .. salty snacks
    • Assonance – black backpacks
    • Consonance – seals steal
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