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Philip Babble and the Scribbly Scrabbles

While in the car, Philip notices funny symbols all around him, so his mom helps him identify words where all he saw were Scribbly Scrabbles.

Photo of Joshua Levy
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Philip Babble loved the city. 

He loved driving through town in his big comfy chair, and more than anything he loved seeing all the new places.


One day, while driving, he noticed a sign with a Scribbly Scrabble. 

“Mommy, what’s that on the sign? What’s the Scribbly Scrabble?” asked Philip Babble.


She smiled and said, “Well, Philip Babble, that’s not a Scribbly Scrabble!

Those are words on a sign that say ‘Boot and Saddle’” 


Philip rolled the words off his tongue, “Booooooot and sad-dull”

But then a bus drove in front with a Scribbly Scrabble!


“Mommy!” he yelled, “It’s a Scribbly Scrabble!”

“Look again Philip Babble!

It’s an ad for a play, not a Scribbly Scrabble.”


The bus drove away and then Philip Babble 

asked his Mom very nicely, 

“What are Scribbly Scrabbles?”


“Those are letters and words, they’re not Scribbly Scrabbles.

They all have some meaning and sound, Philip Babble.” 


“That’s Wickerly’s Ice Cream,

And this one says School,

Here’s the Penn Museum,

Isn’t that cool?”


Philip began to get excited.

“What’s that over there, what’s the Scribbly Scrabble?”

         “It says Washington Square, it’s a park Philip Babble”


“What’s that one say, with the sandwich and steak?”

         “That’s a nice, little deli, they also sell shakes!”


“What about the statue with the cat split in two?”

         “That’s a great big sign for the Philadelphia Zoo.”


 “What about—“


“Philip Babble!” she exclaimed

with a sweet, loving tone 


“Words are EVERYWHERE, 

silly, they’re all over town.

They’re in the air,

and on the ground.


They’re glued to buses, 

and stuck over stores,

they’re in all our parks 

and even more!”


Philip sat back in his big comfy chair and smiled at the street that was zipping by just outside his window. He looked all around the great big city but no matter how hard he tried, Philip Babble couldn’t find a single Scribbly Scrabble. 

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

The general concept for this story would be that every time Philip sees a sign he sees a bunch of scribbles instead of words, this can be attributed to his young age and the fact that he cannot read. Each time Philip identifies a scribbly scrabble, the image will show what he sees, and - after his mother's explanation - the next illustration will show how the sign really looks, with clearly printed letters.

Share your suggested book title

Philip Babble and the Scribbly Scrabbles

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

This is just one piece of evidence among a plethora of research, but it is understood that reading to a child from a very young age will help them to develop advance language skills from an early age. The book that I have written plays off of that, namely in how it uses language that may seem advance for such a young age, to encourage learning and early childhood development. \

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

Yes. I have many memories as a child growing up in urban San Francisco of driving through town and being amazed by everything I saw. I have found that there is very little as interesting to a child as the opportunity to explore the world outside their home and interact with the around them.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City

San Mateo

Tell us more about you / your team

My name is Joshua Levy, I have no team but I have done a fair amount of work in child care and the special needs community. This experience is in large part from sleep away camps where I have worked for the last three years. I am currently pursuing a BA in English and Art Studio at UC Davis. Between those two majors and my interest in child care and development, writing a children's story seemed like a perfect intersection of my interests.

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • No

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • A professor at my college.

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Dawnnbooks .

A nice way to teach toddlers what the Scribbly Scrabbles are and how to say them.
and some adults too! LOL!!