As a long time songwriter, educator (MS-math education), and philosopher (BS-philosophy) I began writing my own stories by reflecting on the "formulas" used in the classics, considering how to both entertain and teach, and bringing my own uniqueness in much the same way I write a song. I prefer to use rich vocabulary and minimal illustrations as is found in many classic books of children's literature.
Current trends in children's literature are highly visual stories with simplistic vocabulary in an effort to boost early reading. Coupled with the integration of computer technology, kids are bombarded with visual stimulation that aims to overwhelm the senses. Lost is the art of story telling -- a quiet, peaceful, and warm snuggle time where the adventure leaps from the page and runs wild in the imagination.
Rich vocabulary gives the story a poetic and timeless feel perfect for parents to interject and enhance. Minimal illustrations give children just a glimpse into the magical world created by the story. The rest, of course, must be created by the child through drawing, painting, role playing, doll play, etc. as they generate layers of details in their minds.
This is my first completed manuscript. If you are in the habit of reading only picture books to your children (ages 3-6), consider the power of the well crafted early chapter book. Read one chapter a night before bed. Let the child look at the illustrations during the day to both remember and anticipate what will happen next. Enjoy the satisfaction of a continuing adventure that can be reread by the emerging reader at a later time. The beginning chapter book is lost in today's market but not forgotten by those who truly love to read.