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Where's Zippy?

A child explores the city with his Nana to find a missing toy.

Photo of Amy Pan
9 0

Written by

After breakfast, on a sunny day, 

I went to find Zippy so we could go play.


To my surprise, she wasn't there.

"Oh no! Where's Zippy?" I thought in despair.


I scratched my head, slapped my knee

and said to myself, "Where could she be?


"In the closet with jackets and coats? [Flip insert to reveal more jackets: no Zippy]

Or in the tub with rub-a-dub boats? [Flip insert to reveal more bath toys: no Zippy]


I looked and looked high and low

Still no Zippy - where did she go?


"What's wrong?" asked Nana, "It's a beautiful day.

Let's go explore, what do you say?"


"My friend Zippy is gone!" I cried.

"Uh oh, we'll find her - I'm on your side!"


"What's Zippy like?" Nana asked me.

"Is she short, small or as tall as could be?"


"She's short, with a white, fluffy part."

"Is that her over there, about to depart?" [Show bus with people getting on it with a little white ball within the crowd]


That's not Zippy, it's a furry white hat. [Flip insert to reveal a hat: No Zippy] 

"But Zippy has stripes, like that round, sleepy cat."


"Is that her over there, with kids playing tag?" [Show kids running in a park with a striped object sticking out]

Nope, that's not Zippy, that's a striped diaper bag. [Flip insert to reveal a dad with the bag: No Zippy]


"What do you do together?" Nana asked me.

"We listen to stories for an hour or three."


"One more stop," Nana said with a smile.

"I have a feeling it will be worthwhile."


"Is that her sitting there on the shelf?" [Show lots of books with a striped piece sticking out]

YES! It's my friend Zippy, all by herself. [Flip insert to show Zippy]


"Nana, Nana how did you know?"

"I also come here to read stories and grow." 

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

This book encourages conversation and problem-solving between a child and her caregiver using a light-hearted story of a missing toy. The goal is to be relatable to both caregiver and child by including frequently visited places in a city with the relationship dynamics between relatives, children, and favorite toys.

Share your suggested book title

Where's Zippy?

PLEASE USE THE VERSION OF THIS QUESTION AT THE TOP OF THE SUBMISSION FORM: Share a draft of your manuscript (250 word limit, not including title).

After breakfast, on a sunny day, I went to find Zippy so we could go play. To my surprise, she wasn't there. "Oh no! Where's Zippy?" I thought in despair. I scratched my head, slapped my knee and said to myself, "Where could she be? "In the closet with jackets and coats? Or in the tub with rub-a-dub boats? I looked and looked high and low Still no Zippy - where did she go? "What's wrong?" asked Nana, "It's a beautiful day. Let's go explore, what do you say?" "My friend Zippy is gone!" I cried "Uh oh, we'll find her - I'm on your side!" "What's Zippy like?" Nana asked me. "Is she short, small or as tall as could be?" "She's short, with a white, fluffy part." "Is that her over there, about to depart?" That's not Zippy, it's a furry white hat. "But Zippy has stripes, like that round, sleepy cat." "Is that her over there, with kids playing tag?" Nope, that's not Zippy, that's a striped diaper bag. "What do you do together?" Nana asked me. "We listen to stories for an hour or three." "One more stop," Nana said with a smile. "I have a feeling it will be worthwhile." "Is that her sitting there on the shelf?" YES! It's my friend Zippy, all by herself. "Nana, Nana how did you know?" "I also come here to read stories and grow."

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

Content/Plot: The storyline and characters are relatable to children/their caregivers in their day to day - e.g. having a favorite toy, looking for things in the home, or looking at people and places in the city. I tried to integrate the themes of problem solving and object description via the dialogue between the child and Nana, using lots of questions within the storyline, which can also be applied to the reader's favorite toys. Structure/Vocabulary: Use of rhyme and repetition to make reading not only interesting for the child, but also for the caregiver. Focused on using Tier 1 words that can be tied to senses. Design: Would love to design this book in a way that is delightful and tactile as a reading experience. For example, using cutouts or inserts between pages to reveal when it's not Zippy. This type of design could engage children to flip pages and creates suspense, giving caregivers a chance to ask children questions about what they expect to happen.

Please describe any familiarity you may have with Philadelphia and its residents? (optional question)

I grew up in neighboring NJ and my parents loved taking us to museums in Philadelphia growing up (esp the Ben Franklin museum). Then I lived in Philadelphia for 2 years for school and still visit friends there every few months. I loved the diversity and energy of the city and spent a lot of time exploring art, food, and music and nature in the area while working with the local business community.

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

The main characters and plot were designed to resonate with anyone anywhere. Regardless of background or culture, most children have favorite toys (which they've lost) and received help from caregivers/adults. Zippy is also purposefully vague, so she can be any type of toy/stuffed animal (with stripes - tiger, zebra, dog, person, fictional object) The locations and other people illustrated within the story (apartment, bus station, public park, library) will reflect an urban environment.

Location: Country

USA

Location: State or Department

NY

Location: City

Brooklyn

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

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)

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

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

9 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott
Team

Wow! Even Zippy wants a me-alone-time to unwind. Sounds nice. Good story

Photo of Amy Pan
Team

Thanks, @Ashanti Antonio Prescott - great reading all your stories too (you wrote so many! I could barely get one together). Esp liked the one with the clock and how you're teaching kids numbers and ABCs

Photo of Ashanti Antonio Prescott
Team

You are welcome. Well, like you I just tried my best. However, I had my team who gave me feedback to fix the lows and intensify the highs.
Regards

Photo of Niha Rika
Team

Hi there! such an engaging and fast paced story. Love it - especially the rhymes (thats what I struggle with in my submission!) and the story's inclusion of a nana (my story also has a grandma <3). Perhaps there is a way to tie in the urban facet? Eitherway, such a wonderful manuscript!!!!

Photo of Amy Pan
Team

Thanks @Niha Rika! I know - all the books we read with rhyming makes it look so easy, but getting ideas to fit with the right tempo was hard. It's not completely there, there are some lines that could be better, but am running out of word count :)

Re: the urban and diversity themes, I'm hoping to communicate a lot of that through illustrations - since the characters start in an apartment building then move to a busy bus stop, an urban park like Rittenhouse or the park in Fishtown and a public library.

Also enjoyed your story, esp as a child of immigrants myself - I actually did a lot of those things with my parents and once in awhile with grandparents when they came to visit.

Photo of Niha Rika
Team

I definitely understand the challenge with word count. I think we both believe our illustrations will also carry our work further! and Thank you for your kind words! Best!

Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Cute story.
Children will surely relate as they too usually have a favourite toy.
Imagine their horror as they relate to the story of losing that toy!!!

Photo of Amy Pan
Team

thanks, @Dawnnbooks! I enjoyed your story of Peanut and Billy as well - great way to explore the city while meeting lots of animals.

Photo of Dawnnbooks .
Team

Thank you for taking the time to read my submission.
Glad that you liked.