Monday, October 14, 2013

The Story Behind....Three Ghost Friends: Learn About the ABCs - Halloween Edition

When I created the THREE GHOST FRIENDS, I honestly never saw them as Halloween characters. After writing the first three books in the series someone said to me, "These books are going to be great for Halloween!" I had been so focused on having the ghosts just playing and learning in the first three books that it never dawned on me to make a Halloween book. (Duh! Ghosts = Halloween!)

My best friend from elementary school and I were talking on the phone and he said, "You should have the ghosts dress up as ghosts. That would be funny!"  I thought it was a genius idea and it was all the motivation I needed to starting working on my fourth book.

The question was, "How would I get the Three Ghost Friends to the climax of wearing ghost costumes?"  What would they learn in this book?  What concept would I teach to continue the series?

I love ABC books so I thought I would give it a try. (I am glad I did!)
I started by making lists of costumes for each letter of alphabet and quickly noticed that I could group many of costumes into categories. It was then that I decided to go with the idea of "one of these things is not like the other" along with ABCs.

This proved harder than I thought.  I needed each category to have three costumes plus a costume that didn't fit.  Then, I needed everything to follow ABC order too! There was also the challenge that there are 26 letters in the alphabet and that is not divisible by three ghosts! 

The obstacles actually helped make the book better. I had tons of traditional Halloween costumes listed and those became the costumes that "were not like the others". The alphabet helped change the pace of the book in the middle when the Three Ghost Friends decide to try on the same costumes.  Overall, I was really pleased with how it all worked out!  
Next, I had to figure out how to organize the book.  I remember this coming pretty easily because much of the organization was done with the order of the costumes.  Also, the storyline had been rolling around in my head for quite some time. I sketched out the pages and only a few things changed from the sketchbook to the final layout.
On the bottom of this page of my sketchbook I drew a "cousin ghost". My niece is the biggest fan of my books and she suggested that it would be a good idea to have a "cousin" ghost in one of my books.  It was a great idea and it fit perfectly in this book with the THREE GHOST FRIENDS going to the "cousin ghost's" house for Trick or Treat.

Below are the final storyboard sketches that I made.

After the sketching was complete I went to the computer to create all the images. I used iDraw to make all the illustrations.  It was a blast creating all the costumes for the ghosts.  Initially, I remember feeling hesitant to start because I really didn't know if I could put costumes on my ghosts. Once I did the  Apple and Banana ghosts I realized that I could indeed draw costumes on the Three Ghost Friends.  From there, I finished one costume after another. Once I finished one costume I wanted to work on the next!

Which one is my favorite?  I really like the narwhal and the manatee costumes.

Below is a video of me reading Three Ghost Friends: Learn About the ABCs - Halloween Edition to my 18-month-old daughter.  It has been such a joy that she has been asking me to read my books to her each day. Today, I decided to flip on the video camera and share our story time with you!

This book is currently on sale on and available as an eBook on iTunes for only 99 cents:

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