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Cliff hanger ending?

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What are your thoughts on the main question of the story not being answered in a picture book? Something like not knowing what's in the box, or who left the surprise? I think it can be fun and allow the readers to create their own ending but kids might really not like an incomplete conclusion. Thoughts?
#1 - November 19, 2020, 09:48 AM

I think anything can work if it's done really well. I can't think of any books that do what you're talking about off the top of my  head -- maybe someone else can?

With this idea, it would be important to make sure the story still has a strong arc and a satisfying conclusion.  I'm imagining a story in which the characters don't learn what's in the box or whatever, but they learn or achieve something else that is more important, so  the original mystery is almost forgotten by end. 

If you have an idea and think it would work, there's no reason not to write it and see how it goes!
#2 - November 19, 2020, 10:13 AM
STORY MAGIC (Jolly Fish Press 2020)
DEAD BOY (Crown BFYR 2015)

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The closest I can think of to this is LeUyen Pham's THE BEAR WHO WASN'T THERE. We're warned on the cover that there's no bear in the book, but still follow the MC searching throughout the book. The final page--which has bear tracks across it--notes that there was, in fact, no bear. "Unless..." and on the inside back cover you see a bear peeking out from behind the dust jacket.  That might be a comp title for you--it's really cute.
#3 - November 19, 2020, 05:54 PM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
The Constitution Decoded (Workman, 2020)
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You'd have to be really careful that the reader does not feel cheated at the end of the book.
#4 - November 19, 2020, 06:32 PM
Twitter: @dvilardi1

To be honest, I think that small children prefer for all loose ends to be tied up - it’s also an unwritten rule in picture books. While ‘breaking’ the rules can work sometimes, why tempt fate?
#5 - November 26, 2020, 01:39 PM
Save the Titanic! (Burlington Books, 2018)
Tunnel to the Unknown (Burlington Books, 2019)

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