YABBY by Virginia Lowe

This is the picture book manuscript Yabby set in a two column format. This formatting is invaluable for beginning writers of picture books when combined with the use of the storyboard. This style helps the author omit words which would repeat details shown in the illustrations. Picture book texts are succinct!


Notes on illustration and design

[To print or save this page, Yabby.doc]



Half-title -

small picture of yabby and title

PAGE 2/3

Yabby, by Virginia Lowe

Full page illustration incorporating title,

publication details


Snug in my mud home-hole,

I lie in wait for food floating by -

water weed, insect larvae,

delicious nameless wriggling things.

Yabby in hole - the entrance makes a little muddy mountain


Then suddenly appears

something new and strange -

something that smells wild and wonderful!

I lunge and snatch -


Yabby and meat on string, and human feet through the water in the background - thematically, links with leg and foot on tram, later...



But surprise!

As I grasp the morsel it streaks upwards

like a bubble from disturbed ooze.

Up, up, to the mirror-surface

it rises and I rise with it,

till together we break

through the barrier

and flash into the bright hot air above.

Being pulled up - showing the meniscus from below, Yabby's point of view, with the Yabby's reflection on it. And perhaps showing how the meniscus bulges outwards, is distorted, as the Yabby (and the meat) reach the surface

PAGES 10/11

A hard bright coloured thing

surrounds me -

claws cannot grip.


My home-hole is gone

and the smooth water -

though there on the bottom

there is at least

a little comforting mud.

Yabby in the bottom of the bucket, possibly with human hands or a head looking in

PAGES 12/13

Beyond the rim there loom two beings -

impossibly high like trees,

Now muddy water sloshes over me soothing my gills,

and a bumping begins.

When my pond water has been churned

by a creature racing through

sometimes I have been rocked and bumped like this.

Two children - probably a boy and a girl - from the perspective of the yabby looking upwards, seeming to reach the sky.

The children scoop some water into the bucket and begin walking.

Possibly "memory" of dog spashing joyously in pool.

[could be two or three separate pictures]

PAGES 14/15

Then something enormous!

Harsh green and yellow with thunderous vibrations.

On the street - a tram is approaching

PAGES 16/17

Nothing is solid anymore.

Vibrations, bumping, jerking -

until suddenly the hard bright walls

are gone.

Children looking abstracted out window of tram, bucket is in the process of tipping, unnoticed.

PAGES 18/19


But where is the pond

and my snug home-hole?

The underneath of the tram seats, various feet hanging down, yabby off exploring

PAGES 20/21

Perhaps if I climb this branch

I can find the water?

On the shoe of man, as yet unnoticed

PAGES 22/23

Wordless - now on the leg - a hairy male

leg, which is shaking to get it off. Anger from the conductor. Consternation, or amusement, from the children and other passengers

PAGES 24/25

This branch is not safe,

it is shaking wildly -

there must be wind blowing,

though I can't feel it.

High-pitched vibrations, very strong

hurting my receptors.

But now I am caught from behind.

I try to nip, but my claws just cannot reach

and I let go.

[The vibrations are the man yelling, and others shouting or laughing.]






Child's hand taking Yabby from the leg. In background, Conductor pointing off the tram.

PAGES 26/27

The bright hard walls surround me and the

bumpting starts again. The muddy water has gone

and my gills feel hot and dry.


Children walking away with bucket, tram in the background. Could be from the point of view of the yabby peering out again.

PAGES 28/29

A familiar smell, a wonderful sight!

The home-pond -


Children back at pond, with the bucket

PAGES 30/31

and my home-hole, safe and secure.


Swimming back underwater to the hole-mountain.


[A paragraph on the yabby, explaining that they can live out of water, but like to keep their gills damp. They travel out of the water on damp nights and even days sometimes, so could have seen, could have known, trees and wind. They can't hear, only sense vibrations, but they can sense these in lots of different ways.]