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`Ping pang!` or `The Panguin`

by andinadia 

Posted: 18 January 2015
Word Count: 482
Summary: This was fun to write, and I think it would be fun as a readaloud, with the reader giving their own expression to the nonsense words! It's only a draft and all comments - however structural - are well received. I'm not sure whether to give the first two penguins names, or maybe describe in some other way than 'the first penguin' and 'the second penguin'. There are 2 options for the title. I haven't finished off the art brief yet.

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Spread 1
A penguin went to the seaside. He liked to build sand castles.
(a/w: penguin making sand castle, using bucket, which gives round shaped blocks)
Spread 2
The penguin saw a second penguin walking on the sand. The second penguin come closer.
(a/w: need to distinguish the second penguin somehow from the first)
Spread 3
‘Ping!’ the second penguin said and he waved his wing.
‘Ping!’ the first penguin replied, after a moment. He waved his wing too.
Spread 4
The first penguin continued to build his castle. The second penguin watched the first penguin for a while. ‘Ping?’ the second penguin asked.
The first penguin looked thoughtful and then replied, ‘Ping.’
Spread 5
The second penguin helped the first penguin. Together they made lots of sand blocks. The castle grew bigger.
Spread 6
The first penguin went to get more wet sand. He saw a boat. He called the second penguin. They went to look at the boat.
Spread 7
‘Ping, ping!’ shouted the first penguin. There was another penguin inside the boat. This penguin did not look well.
The first penguin and the second penguin lifted the third penguin out of the boat and carried him to the castle.
(a/w the third penguin is quite thin, and is coloured a deep purple rather than black)
Spread 8
The two penguins brought some fresh water. The boat penguin drank the water.
They brought some fish. The boat penguin ate the fish.
Then the boat penguin closed his eyes and went to sleep.
Spread 9
After a while the boat penguin opened his eyes. He looked at the first penguin. Then he looked at the second penguin. Then he opened his mouth and said quietly, ‘Pang.’
The first penguin and the second penguin looked at each other.
‘Pang?’ said the first penguin. ‘Pang?’ said the second penguin.
Spread 10
The third penguin stood up and looked at the castle. He brought some wet sand and started to make a block. It was different shape of block.
Then he made more blocks and added a room to the castle.
While he worked he sang to himself, ‘Pang pang, pang pang, pang pang pang-pang pang.’
(a/w the new blocks are rectangular in shape, which the boat penguin makes with his own wings)
Spread 11
The two penguins helped the boat penguin. The three penguins worked hard. One of them brought the wet sand, another made the blocks, and another put the blocks into place.
Together they built a wonderful castle. Everybody came to see it.
(a/w need to decide which other animals will make up the audience)
Spread 12
‘Ping ping!’ said the first penguin to the second penguin. ‘Pang!’ said the second penguin to the third penguin.
‘Pang pang!’ said the third penguin.
‘Ping pang, ping pang!’ said the first and second penguins.
‘Pang ping,’ said the third penguin. ‘Pang ping!’

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Comments by other Members

a.m.edge at 12:49 on 19 January 2015  Report this post
This is cute.
On first reading I'd say you'd need your first and second penguin to look exactly the same, so maybe one could have a hat on, something like that.
When the boat penguin arrives (and he does need to look different) he uses different shaped blocks, yet the castle was successful enough with the round- shaped blocks. Could you have the first two penguins scraping the sand up with their wings to make the castle walls and then the boat penguin comes along and suggests making blocks? Just an idea to differentiate more clearly between them.
As a general point, couldn't much of the text be shown by the illustration? Could you even pare down the language to simply 'PING' and 'PANG' (now there's a challenge!)
Have you ever seen the kids' cartoon Pingu?

andinadia at 14:22 on 19 January 2015  Report this post
The hat idea and the blocks idea are very good! I don't know if I can pare it back to just Ping and Pang but as you say might be worth a try. Yes, love Pingu. The pb writer/illustrator I had most in mind when writing this one was Oliver Jeffers. Thanks, Annie. (Which of the titles did you prefer?)

TassieDevil at 15:50 on 19 January 2015  Report this post
Hi Andy,

An intriguing refreshing story, especially the words used by the penguin beasties. Ping and pang have a great onomatopoeic sound to me - blunt but expressive. I'm sure that any children reading or hearing these words will be waddling around for hours speaking penguin just for the feel-good sound.

As a former scientist I'd suggest dropping the 'fresh water' from the water spread 8. Penguins can and often do drink salt water along with their fishy food diet. They can process the salt water as well as drink fresh.

As such why would the penguins one and two give him water to drink when his boat is surrounded by the stuff? This reference to giving boat penguin water seems confusing to me but I can't suggest anything else apart from maybe a different fish variety. I was going to mention chocolate but that shows my age as well as my sad sense of humour.

I enjoyed the fun and lack of drama in story and lets face it, penguins are such great animals. Title wise - I prefer The Panguin as it gives a hint of the story's characters whilst sounding slightly intriguing. I hope this helps.


a.m.edge at 17:46 on 19 January 2015  Report this post
Yup, definitely 'The Panguin'.

andinadia at 12:19 on 20 January 2015  Report this post
Very valuable comments, Alan. Thank you!

I popped into a bookshop yesteray and did see a very old republished book about a duck called Ping but I think that's a good thing - maybe the word will ring a bell for some readers! laugh http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_about_Ping

I was also struck by how many picture books are actually written and illustrated by the same person. Hmmm.

Thanks too, Annie. Panguin it is.

Freebird at 12:48 on 21 January 2015  Report this post
Yes, 'The Panguin' is perfect. 
I like this - it's a simple idea that could be very useful in an early years setting when talking about differences.  They say 'Ping', he says 'Pang' but they work together and produce something amazing.

andinadia at 14:05 on 21 January 2015  Report this post
Thank you, Sarah. I've revisited all three of my challenge stories in the light of everyone's comments, and have taken the plunge of sending them to an agent. 

a.m.edge at 18:22 on 21 January 2015  Report this post
I've used Lou Trealeven's website to find a list of children's literature agents. I also sent direct to Maverick Books and Nosy Crow. Heard nothing yet. Good luck with yours Andy.

andinadia at 22:54 on 21 January 2015  Report this post
Good luck to you too, Annie.

It was probably foolish but I haven't regretted it yet! I decided to send them agent by agent to start with.

Freebird at 18:09 on 22 January 2015  Report this post
Ooh, exciting stuff, Andy!  How many agents have you subbed to?
I'm still very wary of getting another agent, but I have sent a sub off to one that I rate v highly (she only wanted one - I would have thought it's hard to make an informed decision with so little to go on). 

Hope you hear something soon - I like waiting for other people's news in that respect almost as much as waiting for my own responses.

andinadia at 21:23 on 22 January 2015  Report this post
Just the one so far, Sarah. Then I read a blog she'd written, saying their agency received tens of thousands of submissions per year! (Of which very few from the slush pile get through.) Ah well, .....

Freebird at 15:51 on 23 January 2015  Report this post
Which ones have you sent?

a.m.edge at 17:40 on 23 January 2015  Report this post
Maybe you should start up as a publisher in this country, Andy!

andinadia at 21:21 on 23 January 2015  Report this post
Hi Sarah - I sent the three newborns (Being Grandad, Chris the Bird, The Panguin). Have you now separated from your former agent?

Annie, that's a lovely comment but that would be one challenge too far! (Thank you for helping me 'lift the lid'.)

Freebird at 14:45 on 28 January 2015  Report this post
yes, I'm properly separated! Still v unsure about having another, but the one I've subbed to works editorially with clients, which appeals to me.

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