How to Write a Children's Picture Book

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Overview

This volume emphasizes an aspect of children's picture books that has not yet been thoroughly investigated: structure.

Both concept books and picture storybooks employ very distinctive structures that, once mastered, can be applied to any picture book you wish to write.

When so many of the best picture books employ the same structures, it is important to analyze these ...

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Overview

This volume emphasizes an aspect of children's picture books that has not yet been thoroughly investigated: structure.

Both concept books and picture storybooks employ very distinctive structures that, once mastered, can be applied to any picture book you wish to write.

When so many of the best picture books employ the same structures, it is important to analyze these structures, understand why they work, and learn how to incorporate them into your own writing.

This volume helps you do all that.

You will see that no matter how carefully you labor over the tone, word choice, plot, character, setting, theme and style of your picture book, you must have a thorough grasp of its structure if you wish your book to succeed.

Indeed, you will find that an expert command of structure is the key to writing a successful children's picture book.

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
How To Write A Children's Picture Book focuses especially upon structure as the key to creating a memorable and entertaining treasure for children to read, share, and learn from. Distinguishing between picturebooks and picture storybooks, and closely examining such enduring children's classics as "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Where The Wild Things Are", How To Write A Children's Picture Book is a highly useful and focused guide that dissects the nuts and bolts of writing with a keen eye toward higher achievement and quality. A "must-have" for any aspiring children's picturebook writer.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780971989887
  • Publisher: E & E Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/2004
  • Pages: 204
  • Sales rank: 629,090
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Introduction

For this exploration into what makes a successful children's picture book, I wanted to choose the most beloved, time-tested, reader-tested books.

Therefore, I selected books from the list "100 Pictures Books Everyone Should Know" compiled by the New York City Public Library and from a collection entitled The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury, selected by Janet Schulman.

All of the children's picture books discussed in this volume are consequently readily available for anyone to acquire and study.

TYPES OF PICTURE BOOKS

In Part I of this volume, we analyze favorite concept books: alphabet books, counting books, naming books, and books that explore an idea, object or activity.

In Parts II and III, we analyze celebrated picture storybooks. These have a simple plot-usually involving a problem that the main character must overcome-and engaging pictures that tell part of the story.

STRUCTURE: THE KEY TO WRITING A PICTURE BOOK

There is a lot to consider when writing a children's picture book: tone, word choice, plot, character, setting, theme, style, and so on. There are many books and articles that discuss these elements of a children's picture book.

This volume, however, emphasizes an aspect of picture books that, ironically, has not yet been thoroughly investigated: structure.

Both concept books and picture storybooks employ very distinctive structures that, once mastered, can be applied to any picture book you wish to write.

Think of structure as a hanger. It holds and shapes an infinite variety of shirts, blouses, dresses, coats and suits. In the same way, picture book structures can hold and shape an endless variety of concept books and picture storybooks.

It does not matter what the theme is, what the plot is, or who the characters are; these structures give shape to the world's favorite picture books, and they will help you to write your own successful picture books, as well.

One of the most important structures you will learn about is the Symmetrical Picture Storybook Paradigm. This is the structure which underlies most of the best-loved picture storybooks.

The celebrated authors who wrote these books were certainly not aware of this paradigm and never called it by name. But their intuition led them to create stories with the same underlying structure, which I call the Symmetrical Picture Storybook Paradigm.

When so many of the best picture storybooks employ the same structure, it is important to analyze that structure, understand why it works, and learn how to incorporate it into your own writing. This volume helps you do all that.

You will see that no matter how carefully you labor over the tone, word choice, plot, character, setting, theme and style of your picture book, you must have a thorough grasp of its structure if you wish your book to succeed.

Indeed, you will find that an expert command of structure is the key to writing a successful children's picture book.

OTHER SALIENT FEATURES OF PICTURE BOOKS

Part I of this volume also explores what the best-loved picture books can teach us about:

- irony
- anthropomorphism
- pacing
- the interplay of text and picture
- cause-and-effect in plots
- the difference in emotional responses to climactic vs. episodic plots
- the effect of using the present tense
- the effect of showing character through action

By learning how the best writers incorporate these features into favorite picture books, you can apply similar successful techniques in your own writing.

PREPARING TO WRITE YOUR OWN PICTURE STORYBOOK

Part IV of this volume guides you step-by-step through the process of preparing to write your own picture storybook.

Like an architect who draws a blueprint before starting to build, a writer should plan his story before sitting down to actually write it.

Part IV holds your hand and guides you through this process, so that you will have the entire plot and structure of your story well thought out before you write even one word of your story.

Follow the steps in Part IV and you will have the "road map" of your story. Secure in the knowledge that you know where your story is going, you will be able to write with confidence.

 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Promotes structure as the key to writing a successful children's picture book

    Eve Heidi Bine-Stock has written a practical, comprehensive writing guide consisting of three books. The first volume focuses on structure, the second on word, sentence, scene, and story, and the third on figures of speech. From cover to cover, Volume I: Structure guides the reader through an analysis of beloved classic children's books comparing structure to a hanger which holds and shapes a story. The author identifies the elements of basic underlying symmetrical structure and guides writers through a planning process to replicate this type of structure in their own work. What I have appreciated most about this series is it is very readable and useable. I have found myself reading children's books with a new awareness that has prompted me to also think differently about how I want to write. The other bonus is that the books are great for independent study--though I could also see potential for using the series with a writing group.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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