First Lines: Children’s Books


I’m a sucker for firsts: first lines, first paragraphs, first pages.

I love them.

What do you think? The words that introduce you to a new character or bring you into a new world? As a reader (and a writer) how important are “firsts” to you?

They are essential for me, as both reader and writer. Also, I adore collecting them. They take up less space than Hummels and need no dusting.

There are so many. Far too many to post on a blog but I am going to share some favorites. Because. You are worth it. And this was such great fun to put together.

This is my children’s book post, as the title clearly states, but please, don’t turn your nose up at these. There will be no nose turning allowed. Children’s books aren’t just for children anymore. Well, with The Hobbit and Chronicles of Narnia, were they ever really just for kids?

Without further fuss delay ado…


“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling 


“I don’t trust Clive Fagenbush.

How can you trust a person who has eyebrows as thick and black as hairbrushes and smells of boiled cabbage and pickled onions? Besides, I’m beginning to suspect he’s up to something. What’s worse, I think he suspects I’m up to something. Which I usually am.”

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers 


“The woman smiled so politely that he felt offended.”

Pay It Forward (Young Readers Edition) by Catherine Ryan Hyde 


“The first thing many people do after getting out of bed is put on a pair of slippers. The first thing Pearl Petal did on that Friday morning was slip her feet into a pair of leprechaun shoes.”

The Imaginary Veterinary: Book 4 The Order of the Unicorn by Suzanne Selfors 

“In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.”

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


“There are a lot of things that can hatch out of an egg. A chicken, for example. Or a dragon. And when the egg in question is the size of a pumpkin, and almost as orange, not to mention burning hot, you know that you’re far more likely to get a dragon than a chicken.”

Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George


“There was once a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself—not just sometimes, but always.”

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster


“There was only orange juice in the fridge. Nothing else that you could put on cereal, unless you think that ketchup or mayonnaise or pickle juice would be nice on your Toastios, which I do not, and neither did my little sister, although she has eaten some pretty weird things in her day, like mushrooms in chocolate.”

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman 


“If you believe that death is about to spring upon you at any moment, you won’t spend much time watching television.”

The Books of Elsewhere: Book 3 The Second Spy by Jacqueline West

“Linderwall was a large kingdom, just east of the Mountains of Morning, where philosophers were highly respected and the number five was fashionable.”

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book 1 Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede 


“The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car.”

Percy Jackson & The Olympians Book 5: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan


“It was my aunt who decided to give me to the dragon.”

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George


First Lines_childrens books


Next up:

First Lines: MG & YA (*ahem* No nose turning.)

Do you have any favorite first lines from children’s books? Place some in the comments. I’d love to read them.


Serendipity, Social Media, & Sunday Brunch


I wanted a sketch for my blog.

Nothing fancy. Just a pen and ink drawing. I asked the only person I knew who could do this. Quite easily, too. I thought he was actually going to do it. I wanted so badly for him to come through for me. But he didn’t. Or wouldn’t. Or couldn’t. I don’t know. And so it was with much disappointment and upset that I fell into a silly hole of self pity. I needed a big, fat helping of get-over-it.

What I received instead was an email. It was from a fabulous tweep, Geoff Le Pard. He had no idea I wanted an image for my new blog. When what to my wondering eyes did appear? An attachment for me and a note of good cheer.

Over Sunday brunch, Geoff and his nephew were discussing a post I had written about social media. I mentioned that when I do too many things at once, they all suck. Especially when the things I still needed to do were piled on top of my head. Lisa Reiter commented that this would make a great cartoon. Geoff’s nephew, who I will call Peter (because that is his name), happens to be an artist. While eating an apple crumble, Peter quickly scribbled an image of what he imagined my life to be. Scribbles by talented people can be quite impressive. That is what arrived with Geoff’s email.

Serendipity is such fun.

I cried. Then I sent a gushy email back about how wonderful they both were and how the timing bordered on magical.

With a few minor alterations (like adding lots of wine and getting rid of some of those roundish metal things with handles that go on the stove), the drawing was perfect.

I am so grateful to Geoff and his nephew, Peter, for providing this incredible image. For me. To use however I wish. I feel like Cinderella. Without the dress or shoes or pumpkin carriage… Okay, I don’t feel like Cinderella at all. It’s the fairy godmother thing I was thinking of. Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!

Sarah Brentyn Parenting Posts

Isn’t she awesome?

Geoff said to think of this as a random act of kindness or a pay it forward. And so I will. But what can I offer? I can’t draw so sending a beautiful work of art to you is out. I can drink coffee while getting my shoes on and blowing an 8-yr-old’s nose. (Not helpful, but true and pretty impressive if I do say so myself.) Going through the list here… I can play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano. If I try really hard, I can probably fail fifth grade math. Oh, hell, I’m talentless.

Here’s what’s going to happen. If you comment on this post, I will randomly choose one of you for a pay it forward. I will send The Chosen One a brand new copy of Matchless by Gregory Maguire (bestselling author of  Wicked, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and many other fantastic novels—he’s brilliant). Matchless is a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Match Girl”. I read this. I loved this. I bought extra copies of this (for friends, family, and apparently an unforeseen give-away).


“Matchless glows with aching beauty…An eloquent retelling…A wonderful gift.” – Huntsville Times

The Peter Le Pard Pay It Forward:
This is, of course, international. Last date to enter a comment for the book is November 12th. I will contact the lucky recipient via email and will make a goofy announcement in the comment section. 🙂