Opening Sentences


Thank you to Ms. Mustain’s fourth grade class who proved to be a wonderful audience for my speel on revision today. I am always so flattered when teachers ask me to share my humble experience with the students. Regardless of the format, revisions are terribly important, aren’t they? I don’t think kids will ever truly believe how many revisions go into a manuscript before it is considered publishable.

I’ve done several visits like this recently which is fantastic practice for me. I think I learn as much as the kids.

Among my outlined presentation, I included some memorable first sentences from well known books (and one fun but lesser known title) that I had handy. The students enthusiastically nailed all but one. They had so much fun with these, I decided to list them here. Can you identify the books?

1. In 1900, twenty-year-old Mack Sennett was a horse’s rear end.
(Mack Made Movies by Don Brown, 2003)

2. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
(Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling,
3. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.
(Holes by Louis Sachar, 1998)
4. “Where’s Papa going with that ax?”
(Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, 1952)
5. All children, except one, grow up.
(Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, 1904)
6. He did not want to be a wringer. This was one of the first things he had learned bout himself.
(Wringer by Jerry Spinelli, 1998)
7. If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.
(The Bad Beginning. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, 1999)

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