Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 18, 2020

Picture to Picture Book Story Idea Mira Reisberg with Wendy Wahman

Dr. Mira Reisberg

Mira Reisberg is the Director of the Children’s Book Academy and an award-winning children’s book illustrator and author. With a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies focused on children’s books, she has worn just about every hat in the industry. Besides running the Academy, Mira is also an acquiring editor and art director at Clearfork Publishing/Spork where she has acquired, edited and art directed many of her former students. Mira has been instrumental in helping many authors and illustrators get published and teaches and co-teaches way too many courses to mention.


If you have an illustration you would like to explore picture book ideas with Mira, please send in one illustration to kathy(dot)Temean(at) PLEASE PUT PICTURE TO PICTURE BOOK IDEA in the Subject Area. I will send them to Mira. This is one small way Mira helps her illustration students and others who might need help with ideas during The Craft & Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books e-course at the Children’s Book Academy. 


Little Popcorn and Big Doggie

Hi Wendy, what fun to be critiquing your image and helping you develop a story for it. Here’s what comes to me: In terms of the art, apart from the, what to me, are too skinny arms and legs, I love this image and would put it in a dreamy surreal landscape if you want to run with this lyrical playful story idea. Unfortunately, per your request, it’s a bit impossible to come up with a story idea for this image of a girl and a dog without a dog in it, but I hope it sparks something for you. So as always, take what you like and leave the rest.

Even though Poppita’s parents had named her Poppita, because of her peppy, poppy, persistent personality, everyone called her Little Popcorn. The name seemed to fit and pretty soon her parents started dressing her to fit the name.

Life was good for Little Popcorn, except there was one thing missing. A dog. Little Popcorn really, really, really, really wanted a big dog. The problem was her parents really, really, really, really didn’t want a big dog. So Little Popcorn had to figure out a way to get one.

At night she dreamed about going to the land of giants and trying out the big dogs there. First she rode a giant Dalmatian but then she started feeling spotty. The next morning, she made a drawing about it and gave it to her parents. They worried about the strange new spots on her clothing.

The next night, she dreamed about riding a giant Poodle but his preening made her feel vain. The next day she drew that too. Her parents were a little worried about Little Popcorn’s posh new attitude.

On the third night, she dreamed of meeting a giant Great Dane but he was too high for her to climb up on, so she led him around by his leash. This too became a drawing for mom and dad‘s collection. They noticed how Little Popcorn kept stretching to make herself taller.

Little Popcorn really, really, really, really wanted a big dog. So she went back to the place of her dreams and found a giant Labrador. She was so sweet licking Little Popcorn’s face all over with her giant tongue. The place of her dreams peeled with the sounds of laughter as Little Popcorn’s face got wetter and wetter.

Little Popcorn’s face became so wet, she tried to wipe it clean. Then she felt something soft, and warm, and furry. It felt so lovely that she woke up. Little Popcorn saw and heard her parents laughing and laughing as a tiny puppy climbed all over her, licking her face.

Mom said, “We really really, really, really, really didn’t want a big dog.” Dad said, “But a little dog, is just perfect.“

Now it was Little Popcorn’s turn to laugh. In fact, she couldn’t stop laughing. And from then on she and her puppy were known as Little Popcorn and Big Doggie. Even though he wasn’t.

Of course you’d want to make it yours in any way that you like.

Alternately, you could have the little girl making giant animals out of popcorn and other foods for the cooking class and then someone comes and eats them, so she learns to work with paper maché. Or… she makes dogs out of different snack foods but they all collapse when she sits on them or tries to ride them to school. Eventually her parents buy her a dog on the promise that she will never ever try and ride it and she will stop eating junk food.

Well, as usual, I had tons of fun with this, and the last one with the junk food is per my assistant’s suggestion who was offended by the paper maché as being a bit random. Yes we laughed a bit too much with this and it is a bit whack but I hope you enjoy it and find something here that inspires you.

Sending much kidlit love,


Wendy Wehman’s Bio:

Wendy Wahman is the author and illustrator of many wonderful books about animals, including Don’t Lick the Dog (Henry Holt), A Cat Like That (Henry Holt), and Rabbit Stew (Boyds Mills, 2017). When she’s not grazing in the pasture, galloping through the meadow, or rolling in daisies, you’ll find her in her stall, drawing pictures and dreaming up horse tales. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Featured on Illustrator Saturday.

Featured book – Nanny Paws.

Featured book – Rabbit Stew.

Featured book – Pony in the City.


MIra, thanks for sharing your time and expertise with Wendy and us. I have always found a spark of an idea that I used from listening to other people’s ideas.

If you were thinking about joining Mira with her picture book e-course, don’t miss this: Mira has extended the scholarship application dates to this Friday and the $100 discounts for the Craft & Business of Writing Picture Books until Monday the 23rd with the 2020PBLove discount code.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. […] via Picture to Picture Book Story Idea Mira Reisberg with Wendy Wahman — Writing and Illustrating […]


  2. Ah, Mira! I smiled the whole way through, and I love it! You’ve really helped me break free from my cyclical thinking about Poppita, thank you so very much. And yep, I see now those skinny arms and legs couldn’t hold the weight of a piece of popcorn.

    Thank you, Kathy, for providing the perfect playground to learn and grow from Dr. Reisberg.


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