“Gumballs”: My Idea for a Children’s Book

Because we all want a quarter before leaving the store.

So, I’ve kicked around an idea about a children’s book for a few months, and I’m sure my inspiration was the surprising number of kids always so eager for a quarter whenever leaving a grocery store or restaurant because there is a gumball machine at the exit. I remember feeling that urge as a child myself, so maybe that’s universal?

The idea opens with some kids accidentally knocking over a gumball machine outside their favorite Five-and-Dime-type-store in town. The glass sphere holding the candy shatters and the kids watch the gumballs bounce down the street and all over the town (I guess this store is on a hill?).

Anyway, the kids set out to recover the gumballs: one is found in the library, another at the fire department, another at the train station, etc. As the kids recover the gumballs, each stop also teaches the reader a lesson about the services available in any and every small town and the purpose of those services. Once the characters recover all the gumballs, the candy is returned to the store owner and the story is otherwise concluded.

Although I’m no artist, I think this story has a great potential for some artwork (variety of colors, etc) and you could even include a map that the children refer to while reading. Readers could pick different locations in town to search for the gumballs (maybe different inserts, pages, or scenarios could place the missing gumballs in different places so the story could potentially be different a few times).

Definitely an idea I want to explore in the future.

Author: joshuajscully

That’s my picture up there. I’m not totally sure why I look so angry. I may be thinking about how much I hated the Crypt Keeper as a child. I grew up faithfully watching reruns of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. Unfortunately, I missed the boat in terms of writing for either of those programs. I do consider both to have been wildly influential when I think back to my earliest thoughts about becoming an author and I’m grateful my parents let me watch those shows as a kid (although there were probably some nights early in my childhood my mother wished she hadn’t let me watch those shows). If you’re familiar with either program, then you know what genres are my focus. I thoroughly enjoy science fiction, suspense, the twist ending, and some horror or supernatural elements as well. Honestly, when I was a kid the Crypt Keeper scared the hell out of me. As an adult, I’ve really learned to embrace the puns. Historical fiction is a favorite of mine as well, and the root of that is shared with my profession. I am an educator by trade, and I teach American History. I consider some of the best writing I’ve ever done to be within the realm of historical fiction and I really enjoy saturating my mind in the research end of those projects. I would make the argument that storytelling is in my blood. Even my sister mulled, very briefly (about 45 minutes), launching a career as a screenwriter! My last name is one of those Irish (and, apparently, formally Manx) ones with a wonderfully researched history -“the story-teller’s descendant”. On of the first day of school each year, I do share that “my name is Mr. Scully, and that rhymes with Kelly”, just so I do not hear the myriad of mispronunciations on the first day. Several years ago, I started a blog similar to this one to highlight my middle years as a teacher. If that aspect of my life is of any interest to you at all, you can still find that blog online. During my summers, I really have time to pursue my writing projects and this blog will highlight some of that work. My first attempts to sit down and write extensively occurred when I was 15, but only a few years ago did I make setting time aside to write a priority. I’ve also benefited wildly over the years from many willing readers among my family and friends. The direction and feedback from those individuals has been invaluable. Outside the world of the written word, I am an educator, basketball coach, lecturer, and (very, very occasionally) a landscaper. I have only ever known Western Pennsylvania as my home. Although I love a good novel, I am absolutely unable to resist the power of the short story. The latter is really what I hope to be remembered for one day.

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