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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Picture Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 7,430
1. #822 – Chuck and Woodchuck by Cece Bell

Chuck and Woodchuck Written & Illustrated by Cece Bell Candlewick Press    3/08/2016 978-0-7636-7524-0 32 pages    Ages 4—8 “When Caroline’s classmate Chuck brings a woodchuck to show-and-tell, Woodchuck is so funny, their teacher says he can come to school every day! Woodchuck is friendly to everyone, but he’s especially sweet to Caroline. He gives her Chuck’s hat …

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2. Being A Captain is Hard Work: A Captain No Beard Story | Dedicated Review

Ahoy! Captain No Beard and his crew are back. In the latest installment to Carole P. Roman’s award-wining series, Being a Captain is Hard Work, readers learn it’s okay to make mistakes, especially when you learn something from them.

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3. Two Friends

Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. 2016. Dean Robbins. Illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. 2016. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Susan B. Anthony set out two saucers, two cups, and two slices of cake. Frederick Douglass arrived for tea.

Premise/plot: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass were friends. This picture book for older readers imagines these two sitting down and enjoying tea together. Readers learn facts about Susan B. Anthony and facts about Frederick Douglass. Readers can see what these two had in common and why they supported one another.

My thoughts: I liked it. This one reminded me of last year's Chasing Freedom by Nikki Grimes. But I happened to like this one a bit better. Instead of trying to force all the biographical facts into dialogue, this book devotes a few pages per person. Readers still learn a little bit about each one. But it doesn't feel as forced perhaps, at least in my opinion. This one was also not as text-heavy.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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4. Picture book Monday with a review of Here comes Valentine Cat AND The Valentine


Today I am doing something that I have never done before. I am offering you two reviews! The reason for this is that I could not make up my mind which Valentine's Day book I wanted to tell you about. They are both wonderful. So, you are getting two picture book reviews instead of one


Here comes Valentine Cat
Deborah Underwood
Illustrated by Claudia Rueda
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Penguin, 2016, 978-0-525-42915-9
Cat does not like Valentine’s Day and has declared his territory a “No-Valentine’s Zone.” The reason for this is that Cat thinks Valentine’s Day is “all mushy.” Cat’s friend – who happens to be the person narrating the speaking part of this story – suggests that Cat should make a valentine for a friend. Cat suggests that he could make a valentine for Squiddy, his stuffed toy squid, but the narrator gently suggests that Cat should give a valentine to someone who “isn’t a stuffed animal.”
   There is a problem with this suggestion though. Cat cannot think of a single person he would give a valentine to, which is rather sad when you think about it. The narrator then suggests that Cat should give Dog, who is new to the neighborhood, a valentine. Cat then gets grumpy because Dog throws a bone over the fence, which hits cat on the head. Apparently Dog has does this many times. Dog then throws a ball over the fence, which also hits Cat on the head. Cat then gets an idea, and the narrator starts to worry. Cat is cranky, and when Cat gets cranky he does things that could backfire in a big way.
    This laugh-out-loud funny picture book brings back Cat, the sometimes cantankerous feline who does not really always understand how to get along with others. The good news is that Cat does have a companion, the narrator, who helps Cat figure out how to navigate the tricky world of friendship and how to make the right choices in life.
Cat does not like Valentine’s Day and has declared his territory a “No-Valentine’s Zone.” The reason for this is that Cat thinks Valentine’s Day is “all mushy.” Cat’s friend – who happens to be the person narrating the speaking part of this story – suggests that Cat should make a valentine for a friend. Cat suggests that he could make a valentine for Squiddy, his stuffed toy squid, but the narrator gently suggests that Cat should give a valentine to someone who “isn’t a stuffed animal.”
   There is a problem with this suggestion though. Cat cannot think of a single person he would give a valentine to, which is rather sad when you think about it. The narrator then suggests that Cat should give Dog, who is new to the neighborhood, a valentine. Cat then gets grumpy because Dog throws a bone over the fence, which hits cat on the head. Apparently Dog has does this many times. Dog then throws a ball over the fence, which also hits Cat on the head. Cat then gets an idea, and the narrator starts to worry. Cat is cranky, and when Cat gets cranky he does things that could backfire in a big way.
    This laugh-out-loud funny picture book brings back Cat, the sometimes cantankerous feline who does not really always understand how to get along with others. The good news is that Cat does have a companion, the narrator, who helps Cat figure out how to navigate the tricky world of friendship and how to make the right choices in life.


Mouse Book: The ValentineThe Valentine
Monique Felix
Wordless picture Book
For ages 4 and up
Creative Editions, 2013, 978-1-56846-247-9
A mouse is sitting, by itself, feeling lonely and bored. He starts picking at the paper he is sitting on and when the tear in the paper gets big enough, he peers through the hole it has created. There is something wonderful and amazing on the other side of the paper and the mouse jumps for joy.
   Quickly the mouse starts chewing at the tear and until he has created a little paper heart. Then he squeezes through the hole he has made and goes to the other side. Soon he is back and he stars chewing the paper again. Diligently he chews a big square and then smaller squares. Then he starts to fold and fold  until…
   In this delightful wordless book, one of Monique Felix’s little mice finds a wonderful surprise behind a piece of paper, a surprise that inspires the lovelorn mouse to get creative. 

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5. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #469: Featuring Chloe Bonfield

“Jack reached a hill and climbed to the top. No perfect trees were there.He climbed down the other side. Nothing.The perfect tree was really very hard to find.”(Click to enlarge spread)   I’ve got a review here over at BookPage of Chloe Bonfield’s The Perfect Tree (Running Press, January 2016). This is the debut book […]

3 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #469: Featuring Chloe Bonfield, last added: 2/7/2016
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6. lisa rose paints the town!

Meet Lisa Rose

Meet Lisa Rose

What a delight to welcome Lisa Rose back to Frog on a Dime. She’s so honest, funny and genuine. She first visited in March 2014 to talk about her upcoming picture book. And now [cue the fan fare!] SHMULIK PAINTS THE TOWN has just released!

To celebrate, I’m letting Lisa take the wheel . . .

When my agent suggested I write Jewish books I wasn’t thrilled. True, I was Jewish.  I suffered through Hebrew school.  I had a Bat Mitzvah.  I didn’t have a Christmas tree or even own a Christmas sweater.  I used words like tush, schlep, and nosh.  But I didn’t really want to write a Jewish book.  At the time I was writing outside of my race.  Inspired by the students I taught in Highland Park and Pontiac, Michigan,  I believed their story needed to be told.  I have been fighting for #blacklivesmatter long before it was a hashtag or even twitter was invented.

It wasn’t until I adopted my daughter that I thought about my culture.  How would I make her feel part of the community?  It was then I realized how little I knew about my own history.  I knew much of it was slaughtered in the Europe’s concentration camps.  And what was known was not discussed.  The memories were too painful.  There was just an attitude of  “move on and live.”  Simple and yet profound.  We lived.  We learned.  We laughed.

So, I believe it isn’t accident that my first published Jewish picture book is both funny and empowering.

Thank you for sharing, Lisa. I’m very excited for you and for the children who will enjoy your book. (And hey, you’re a pretty good driver!)

Shmulik Paints the Town coverSHMULIK PAINTS THE TOWN just released from Kar-Ben Publishing is about a painter who has to create a mural for Israeli Independence Day.  He can’t decide what to paint and gets a little help from a very unexpected source—his dog!

 

Shmulik Paints the Town spread

 

 

 

 

 

And now, it’s time for True Confessions, Random Facts and Inside Info with Lisa Rose . . . 

True confession:  Rose is actually my middle name.  I have two terrible last names.  So I chose to go by Rose because it was easy to pronounce and also honored the grandmother I never knew.  She, against all odds, escaped to Detroit.  There, she lived, learned and laughed so that one day her granddaughter could tell the story.

Lisa Rose:

  • Loves the color blue
  • Hates ketchup
  • Taught 1st grade and her students often lived in homeless shelters
  • Owned pet turtles named Broccoli and Peapod
  • Practices yoga
  • Prefers frosting and ice cream to anything spicy or garlicy
  • Likes to wake up early–like before 5 a.m. early
  • Prefers Law & Order reruns to reality TV

Would you like to know even more about Lisa Rose, my crispy little waffle cones? What a silly question. But of course you would. More info about Lisa Rose, click here.

When you write, magic happens. Doors open. People smile and the world is a better place. ~ Alan Dapre


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7. Bedtime Blastoff!

Bedtime Blastoff! Luke Reynolds. Illustrated by Mike Yamada. 2016. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: A bed. A boy. His daddy. "Bedtime?" "Not yet!" A train…a conductor…His full-steam-ahead!

Premise/plot: A little boy isn't quite ready for bed yet. He and his dad have a LOT of playing to do…together.
My thoughts: I am so glad I didn't judge this book by its cover. I wasn't expecting to like it very much. But I gave it a chance and decided to go ahead and read it. The first few pages hooked me. It was GOOD. What did I like about it? The simplicity of the text. So much is communicated in just a few words. I liked the creative, imaginative play. I enjoyed the relationship between father and son. It was just sweet without being super-sticky sweet. And the illustrations may not have wowed me at first. I did appreciate the clues they provide.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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8. Review: Through My Window by Tony Bradman and Eileen Browne – 30th Anniversary Edition

Through My Window - 30th Anniversary edition, written by Tony Bradman, illustrated by Eileen Browne (Frances Lincoln, 2016)

Through My Window – 30th Anniversary edition
written by Tony Bradman, illustrated by Eileen Browne
(Frances Lincoln, 2016)

Little girl Jo has to stay … Continue reading ...

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9. Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton – PPBF, Diversity Day, 2016

  Celebrating Black History Month! Title: Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses HortonPoet: Author and illustrator: Don Tate Publisher: Peachtree Books, 2015 Themes: slavery, illiteracy, poetry, African American, perseverance, Genre: biography Ages: 6-9 Opening: GEORGE LOVED WORDS. He wanted to learn how to read, but George was enslaved. He and his family lived … Continue reading

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10. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Charlotte Voake(And a Bit from David McPhail)

— From Beatrix Potter &the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig(Click to enlarge)   — From Say It!   Today at Kirkus, I look at some reissues that make me happy. That link will be here later. * * * Last week, I wrote here about, in part, Deborah Hopkinson’s newest picture book, Beatrix […]

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Charlotte Voake(And a Bit from David McPhail), last added: 2/5/2016
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11. Goal Check-in: One Book, One Picture at a Time


For today's post I thought I'd share how one of my goals for the year is going: Use one art book at a time completing ALL the lessons.

The book I'm starting with is How to Draw Buildings, by  Ian Sidaway. I chose it for a number of reasons: 
  • It dovetails nicely with my other art goal and theme of drawing and painting doorways, especially those connected with my current WIP, Ghazal.
  • It give me a good foundation (no pun intended) for my weekend outings with Urban Sketchers.
  • I really, really want to learn how to use perspective better/correctly.
  • Being familiar with buildings and architectural detail will help me with some ideas I'm tossing around for illustrating picture books.
  • The more buildings I draw for practice, the easier it will be to sketch in my travel journals.
  • And more than anything, I just love buildings!
I particularly like the way this book is structured. Each lesson is divided into three: first is the main example with several pages of instructions followed by the suggestion to "Try Another Medium," and ending with a third prompt, "Try Another Building." 

The first chapter, and the one I've completed, is all about drawing simple small houses, beginning with graphite on white paper. I used a new 9 x 12 inch Strathmore Recycled 400 series sketchbook I bought for just this purpose:


Once I'd finished the drawing, I then moved on to Part II: try another medium. For this I chose to use an ultrafine black Sharpie on a heavier sketchbook page (Strathmore Visual Journal) that I had already painted with a background using my Japanese Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors:


The last section, "Try Another Building" provided a photo of what the book called a "stern little house," which it certainly was. For this piece I chose a sheet of student-grade watercolor paper that I had previously experimented on last year by placing a piece of crumpled wax paper face-down on the surface and then ironing the whole thing with my craft iron. After removing the wax paper and letting the watercolor sheet dry, I then painted it with a light wash of Prang watercolors (my super-favorite, ever-so-cheap but excellent brand for art journaling, etc.). The result was an interesting resist pattern resembling bare tree branches that also matched the photo in this last part of the lesson. 

I drew the house and filled in the "trees" with Faber-Castell Polychromos color pencils and white charcoal--doing my best to make the whole thing as stern as possible.


So there you are, three houses, three ways, and all ready for the Three Little Pigs to move in! Another interesting option might be to write a story or vignette based on each of these settings. Anybody want to try?

I've set aside Sunday afternoons to be my "class time" using this and my other how-to books throughout the year. Next Sunday I'll be moving on to Lesson 2 and two-point perspective (the example shown on the cover of the book above). Already I'm feeling nervous which is exactly why I'm using this step-by-step approach. No more just buying books, looking at the pictures, and working on the "easy" parts. Instead, I'm "building up my courage" to go straight through from cover to cover, lesson to lesson. And because I've put that in writing, I'm now honor-bound to stick to my goal! (Taking a deep breath.)

Tip of the Day: What difficult phases of the creative process do you find yourself frequently avoiding and therefore never learning to the degree you want? For me it was never attempting the "advanced" lessons in my art and other reference books. I've found that breaking a task down into easy steps is a good way to overcome and/or work with anxiety. For instance, gathering all your needed supplies for a project a day before you start can be be one step. Setting a timer to work on a portion of the project for just twenty-minutes at a time can be another. Whatever you do, keep in mind that the only way to learn anything is with steady practice, not "instant genius absorption." Good luck and have fun!

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12. #819 – A Baby’s Guide to Surviving DAD by Benjamin Bird & Tiago Americo

A Baby’s Guide to Surviving Dad Series:  Baby Survival Guides Written by Benjamin Bird Illustrated by Tiago Americo Capstone Young Readers    2/01/2016 978-1-62370-610-4 24 pages    6″ X 7″    Ages 0—3 . “HELLO, BABY. “The whole life thing is pretty new to you, right? Luckily, you have a dad. Unluckily, he’s new to the …

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13. My Chat with Rachel Isadora

“I love telling stories, and I would say that writing and illustrating for children is not really different from writing or illustrating for adults. The plots might be more complicated, but the messages and connections with the reader are the same. That is why children and adults share joy when experiencing a book together.” * […]

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14. Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike, illustrated by Patrice Barton


Babies love to look at babies. And even though there are no more babies in my family, every few years or so, there is a book that comes along that reminds me of how much babies love to look at babies and how wonderful the perfect book filled with babies can be. Little Bitty Friends, written by Elizabeth McPike and illustrated by Patrice Barton is one of those books. McPike and Barton also created Little Sleepyhead, which is due out in board book this spring. Both books pair repetitive, mellifluous rhymes with equally charming illustrations of toddlers that pop thanks to crisp white backgrounds. In Little Bitty Friends the setting moves from bedtime to the natural world, which, after babies, is the second greatest thing babies love to look at.


A trail of ants, a fuzzy caterpillar, a field of flowers and a snail leaving a trail fill the pages of Little Bitty Friend along with a diverse array of adorable, bright eyed, big headed babies. The sneeze of a cat, the chitter of chipmunks and the nibble of a mouse are the sounds of Little Bitty Friend. As the cadence of the book winds down, a basket full of baby rabbits, "nuzzle while they nap," and a toddler and a puppy snuggle on a blanket under a tree. The final spread, above, has to be one of the sweetest I have seen in a long while and one that will always make me smile and remember when my own babies were small enough to tuck their heads under daddy's chin. 

Little Bitty Friends, and Little Sleepyhead, are the perfect gifts for anyone welcoming a baby into the world, from moms and dads to grandpas and grandmas, and anyone lucky enough to have a baby in their lap!






Source: Review Copy

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15. Rock-A-Bye-Romp by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani



If English is your native language, there is a very strong possibility that can sing the first few lines of the nursery rhyme lullaby Rock-a-Bye Baby without even thinking about it. If you can do this, then you know how strange the words to this 250+ year old song are. With Rock-a-Bye Romp, Linda Ashman not only reclaims this song, she manages to give this updated version a classic nursery rhyme feel - without the original Mother Goose strangeness. Add to this the patterned, playful, painterly mixed media illustrations of Italian artist  Simona Mulazzani.


Rock-a-Bye Romp begins with these adorable endpapers that really need to become a textile - be it bedding or jammies for babies. Ashman begins with the question, "Rock-a-Bye, Baby, in the treetop. How did you ever get so high up?" as if she's addressing the weirdness of the original and moving onward and down, into a crow's nest. As baby bounces down from the nest to the barnyard, then from pig to sheep to duck Mulazzani's illustrations almost evoke a Tuscan farm with rolling golden hills and a lapis colored night sky.


Ashman brings Baby and her book home on the wings of a hawk and into the nursery where Mommy is rocking Baby to sleep in her arms beneath a mobile made up of the animals Baby encountered. As Mommy tucks Baby into the cradle the illustrations shows a tree painted on the nursery wall that mirrors the original tree the cradle was stuck in at the start of the book. And the blanket Mommy tucks Baby in with? It's the same pattern as the endpapers!

Rock-a-Bye Romp is a wonderful new book - a much needed update of a curious classic paired with gorgeous illustrations that make it a beautiful, perfect gift for a new baby.

Source: Review Copy

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16. Supertruck

Supertruck. Stephen Savage. 2015. Roaring Brook Press. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The city is full of brave trucks.

Premise/plot: The garbage truck is the star of this book about "brave trucks" in the city. True, you won't find him among the three brave trucks shown on the first page. The three "brave" trucks are the fire truck, the bucket truck, and the tow truck. But Garbage Truck is brave all the same even if the other trucks are unaware of his secret identity. Essentially, the book shows what happens in the city when a BIG, BIG snow storm comes through. All the super-brave trucks are STUCK, STUCK, STUCK. But one truck is a SUPERTRUCK and "saves" the city. The other trucks are clueless who this HERO is...but readers know the truth.

My thoughts: I liked it. I definitely liked it. Yes, it is very, very simple. The illustrations are simple. The text is simple. The plot is simple. But it works, it all comes together and just WORKS.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. Snow! – Picture-book reading list from around the world

Snow – love it or dread it, I think most adults would agree at least that for children there’s something very special about it. And there are also some very special picture books around too. Here, in no particular order, is a small selection of snowy stories set around the … Continue reading ...

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18. Jennifer Thermes – Illustrator Interview

I have been following Jen for quite a while now on social media and as I am a huge Darwin fan, I wanted to highlight her on my blog before her next picture book comes out! [JM] Illustrator or author/illustrator? If … Continue reading

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19. How to Write a MetaFiction Picture Book

BURN: MICHAEL FARADAY'S CANDLE

Coming February 9!


PreOrder Now!

I’m working on a revision of my book, How to Write a Picture Book (Look for the new version in September). One section goes through various genres with tips on writing an ABC book, a narrative nonfiction, a picture book mystery, etc. One genre that I neglected in the first draft was metafiction picture books.


A Revealing Conversation between DH and Me

Me: I need to write a blog post about metafiction picture books.
Darling Husband (DH): What’s that?
Me: You know. Postmodern stuff.
DH: What?
Me: They are books that refer to themselves in some way. They break the concept of “book” in the story itself.
DH: Oh. Faux books.


Metafiction picture books are those that break the mold by making the reader aware that they are reading a book. Often fiction writers talk about the immersive book, and value stories that transport a reader to a story world and immerse them totally in the story. The reader’s surroundings disappear and they are deeply involved with the story.

Metafiction breaks that immersive experience. Why? In the theater, this is referred to as breaking the fourth wall.  The stage has a back wall and two wings; the fourth wall is invisible wall that separates the audience from the stage. When an actor turns to the audience and makes comments, it’s breaking the fourth wall. The technique can be used to add information, set up irony, create humor or other purposes.

While metafiction isn’t new, it’s been more prevalent in the last few decades. Some say that it’s related to the postmodern philosophy. Read more about postmodernism here.

So, what is a metafiction picture book? Let’s look at some characteristics typical of this genre. Of course, you won’t use all of these in any given book. You can mix and match techniques to tell your story (or un-story). The best way to understand these is to read through a variety of the books suggested below.

Characteristics of a Metafiction Picture Book


Me: One reason I need to write this is because I’ve been trying to critique some manuscripts and having a hard time.
DH: You expect them to be a certain way and they aren’t.
Me: Well. Yes. There are rules about writing picture books.
DH: Are there?

  1. Parody or irony.
    Some metafiction picture books refer to folk or fairy tales, often with irony or parody.
    Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? By Lauren Child
  2. Pastiche. Copying a certain style of art to create something very different, these are usually author-illustrator stories. Willy the Dreamer by Anthony Browne.
  3. Story gaps. Sometimes the text has gaps that require readers to make decisions about the story and its meaning. Academics call this interdeterminancy. The Three Little Pigs by David Wiesner.
  4. Multiple narrators or characters. The story includes multiple point-of-view characters, often with multiple story arcs. In Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex, the author, illustrator and main character each tell separate stories and talk to each other. The complex interaction has three separate endings.See also:
    • Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
    • Black and White by David Macauley
    • Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne
  5. Direct address to reader. When you use second person point-of-view and talk to the reader, the story can fall into the metafiction category.In a quick review of different points-of-view, you can usually figure out the story’s POV by looking at the pronouns.
    1st person: I, me, my
    2nd person: You, yours
    3rd person: he, she, it, his, hersIn Warning! Do Not Open This Book, by Adam Lehrhaupt, the reader is warned against opening the book. When—of course—the child does open the book, the text provides other warnings.
    See also: Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, by Laurie Halse Anderson,
  6. Non-linear, non-sequential. Most narratives follow a certain time sequence. This happens first, and then that happens. There’s a beginning, middle and end. However, metafiction picturebooks create stories without a clear reference to time order. In Black and White by David Macaulay, each page is divided into four sections which tell different stories and it’s up to the reader to connect them. Or not.
  7. Narrator becomes a character. The author or narrator of the story steps into the story and participates. In Chester, by Melanie Watts, a simple story devolves into an argument between a cat and the author about what story to tell.
  8. Unusual book design or layout. Some metaficiton picture books have unusual typography, while others use a layout that breaks the story out of the page or book. Three Little Pigs by David Wiesner, has illustrations showing the pigs folding up a page and climbing out of the story onto a blank page. Or, they fold up a page into a paper airplane and take a ride.
  9. Stories within Stories. No Bears by Meg McKinlay, Ella writes a book within the book.
  10. Characters and narrators speak directly to the reader.
    Sandra Boynton’s board book, Moo, Baa, La, La, La.
    The text says,
    “The pigs say, ‘la, la, la.’
    ‘No, no,’ you say, that isn’t right.
    The pigs say, ‘Oink,’ all day and night.”
  11. Characters who comment about their own or other stories. In Chester by Melanie Watt, the author and cat character go back and forth about the story. Among other shenanigans, the cat crosses out the author’s name on the cover and puts his own name.
  12. Disruption of time and space relationships. Redwoods by Jason Chin. A boy picks up a nonfiction book about redwood forests and enters the forest.
  13. Something makes the readers aware of what makes up a story. In Help! We Need a Title! By Herve Tullet, characters realize someone is watching them (that’s YOU, the reader) and decide to make up a story. In the end, they invite the author to help finish the story.
  14. Mixing of Genres.
    In A Book by Mordecai Gerstein, a girl runs into characters from different genres in a search for her own story. This allows the reader to learn about elements of different genres.
  15. Metafiction + Creative nonfiction. Can you write a metafiction nonfiction picture book? Yes. These stories often mix informational text with fiction. No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young features a couple of worms who make funny comments while the narrator explains where chocolate comes from.
How to Write a Metafiction Picture Book | DarcyPattison.com
How to Write a Metafiction Picture Book | DarcyPattison.com

Writing a Metafiction Picture Book


DH: Actually, I do metaficiton.
Me: What? When?

Flashback to memory of DH telling bedtime stories to our kids:
“Once upon a time, there were three bears. Flopsy, Mospy and Peter Bear.”

Me: (Slapping forehead) Oh, my goodness. You’re a metafiction storyteller!
At least, there’s one in the family.


Know the Rules – Break the Rules
If you’ve read my book, How to Write a Children’s Picture Book, you’ll know most of the “rules” of writing a picture book. Break any rule that’s reasonable for the story, but have a reason to break it. You may want to inject humor, parody, information, or yourself into the story for a good reason. Do it. And do it boldly.

Metafiction Topics
While you can write about anything, often the topic of a metafiction picture book is to explain a book or some element of fiction or writing. That’s reflected in titles such as It’s a Book, There are No Cats in This Book, and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book. Of course, if you try this, remember that you’ll have lots of competition.

Good Read Alouds
Make sure these are good read alouds because youngest readers may read these with adults to make sure it’s understood. Read more about how to make your story a good read aloud here.

Have fun
One of the main reasons to write a metafiction picture book is to have fun, to play with the genre. Do something unexpected, disrespectful, funny.

Critiquing Metafiction Picture Books


DH: Actually, I like a lot of the books you’re calling metafiction.
Me: Why?
DH: They’re unexpected. A surprise. They make me laugh. Kids love them.

      An aside: In my household, it’s understood that I don’t have a sense of humor.
          Slap stick? No, it’s not funny.
          Potty jokes? Absolutely not.
          Metafiction? I’m not laughing.

DH: Of course, it’s hard for you to critique metafiction manuscripts.
Me: (Groan. Why is he always right?)
DH: (Wisely, DH refrains from saying anything else.)


Authors, give your group (or editor) a heads up.
When I approach a critique of a picture book, I am always expecting a traditional story. So, it’s helpful if the author is aware of the type picture book they are writing and can tell the critique group, “This is a metafiction picture book.”

Readers, read the story in front of you.
I often read movie or book reviews and get aggravated because the review is more about the reader than the text. The reviewer talks about what they wanted or predicted and how those preconceptions were disappointed. That’s the danger in critiquing this special type of picture book. Especially for metafiction picture books, you must read the text in front of you. Be open to a new way of telling a story for kids.

Resources: Read More

  1. Ann. Teaching Tips: Fun with Metafiction. July 30, 2015. Many Roads to Reading blog. Nice list of books and teaching tips.
  2. Tantari, Sue. The Postmodern Picture Book and Its Impact on Classroom Literacy. C. 2014
    Great explanation of metafiction picture books, including interactive elements, illustrations from selected books, charts and audio. If you’re totally new to this genre, start here.

Metafiction Picture Books to Study

Look for other titles by these authors, too.

Ahlberg, Allen. The Pencil
Barnett, Mac. Chloe and the Lion
Bingham, Kelly. Z is for Moose
Boynton, Sandra. Moo, Baa, La, La, La
Browne, Anthony. Willy the Dreamer
Child, Lauren. Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book?
Chin, Jason. Redwoods
Freedman, Deborah. Scribble
Gerstein, Mordecai. A Book
Gravett, Emily. Wolves
Hopkinson, Deborah. Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek
Lehman, Barbara. The Red Book
Macauley, David. Black and White
Schwarz, Viviane. There are No Cats in this Book
Scieszka, Jon and Lane Smith. Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
Smith, Lane. It’s a Book
Spiegelman, Art. Open Me. . .I’m a Dog!
Stewart, Melissa. No Monkeys, No Chocolate
Tullet, Herve. Help! We Need a Title!
Watt, Mélanie. Chester
Willems, Mo. We Are in a Book

The post How to Write a MetaFiction Picture Book appeared first on Fiction Notes.

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20. Review of Dylan the Villain

campbell_dylan the villainDylan the Villain
by K. G. Campbell; illus. by the author
Primary   Viking   40 pp.
2/16   978-0-451-47642-5   $17.99   g

“‘Congratulations,’ said the doctor. ‘It’s a healthy little super-villain!’” Sweet, unsuspecting new parents Mr. and Mrs. Snivels are surprised by this development (and by the fact that they just “happened to have a baby”), but not disappointed. They tell their son Dylan, born wearing a purple mask and a fiendish expression, that he’s “the very best and cleverest super-villain in the whole wide world!” Dylan thinks so, too, until he goes to school and meets Addison Van Malice (sporting blue Princess Leia–style hair and a swashbuckling eye patch), who out-evils Dylan at every turn. Campbell’s soft-focus illustrations — rendered in watercolor and colored pencil on tea-stained paper — give all the characters personality, even those without speaking roles. The classroom of small villains is a hoot, and there are lots of dastardly details in the not-at-all-villainous art. The well-paced narrative’s comedic timing reinforces the absurdity of the premise. When a “most diabolical robot”–building contest is announced, Dylan seizes the chance to prove he’s more fiendish than Addison: “That hideous trophy…will be mine! All MINE!” And it is, after Dylan accidentally-on-purpose sends Addison and her menacing robot into space. And that’s that…or is it? In a satisfying twist, the final pages give Addison the last “MU-HA-HA-HA!!”

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Review of Dylan the Villain appeared first on The Horn Book.

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21. Picture Book Monday with a review of Buddy and Earl

We all tend to label people, even when we try not to, and often the labels come with a certain amount of judgement. All too often our preconceptions of people are way off the mark, and sometimes they are unkind and hurtful as well.

In today's picture book we see how the labels we like to put on people are a waste of time and counterproductive. All that really matters are the relationships that we build together.

Buddy and Earl
Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Groundwood, 2015, 978-1-55498-712-2
One rainy day Buddy is feeling “bored and a little lonely.”  Thankfully, his person, Meredith, comes into the room where Buddy is sitting and life gets interesting again. Meredith is carrying a box, which she puts on the floor. She tells Buddy to “stay,” but the dog, after scratching an itch, forgets all about the command he was given and he goes over to the box to investigate. Inside the box there is a strange prickly thing, which Buddy sniffs and sniffs. He considers licking the thing but decides that this might not be such a good thing to do. Then the thing begins to snuffle and hiss. Buddy is thrilled. The brown, prickly thing is alive!
   Buddy introduces himself and the thing says that he is called Earl. Earl then proceeds to tell Buddy that he is a racecar, a giraffe, a sea urchin, and a talking hairbrush. Buddy knows full that that Earl isn’t any of these things and he points out why Earl cannot be a car, a giraffe or a sea urchin.
   After this rather peculiar discussion, Earl then decides to try and guess what Buddy is. He is convinced that Buddy is a pirate, and before logical Buddy can explain that he is a dog and not a pirate at all, he and Earl are having a wonderful adventure on the high seas.
   This wonderful book explores the nature of friendship, and it also looks at how important it is to connect with others in a meaningful way that sets asides labels. Children and adults alike will be touched when they see that Buddy eventually figures out who Earl is. It turns out that what really matters is not what you are, but who you are.

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22. Revisited: Tiger of the Snows by Robert Burleigh and Ed Young

Tiger of the Snows

Tiger of the Snows / Tenzing Norgay: The Boy whose Dream was Everest
written by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Ed Young
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006; paperback, 2010)

‘On May 29, 1953, Tenzing Norgay … Continue reading ...

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23. #818 – The Daring Prince Dashing by Marilou T. Reeder & Karl West

The Daring Prince Dashing Written by Marilou T. Reeder Illustrated by Karl West Sky Pony Press    11/03/2015 978-1-63450-161-6 32 pages     Ages 3—6 “PRINCE DASHING IS DARING AND WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO FIND A NEW FRIEND! “Prince Dashing bathes with crocodiles, eats while dangling upside down from the tallest trees, and toasts …

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24. Two Things Before Breakfast

I’m gonna resort to my favorite, the rock-and-roll hands: I’m Chicago-bound on Friday to talk about blogging at the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books at National Louis University. Since 7-Imp is 10 years old this year, I could talk all day but instead have one hour to fill. If you’re in Chicago and signed […]

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25. The Brownstone by Paula Scher, pictures by Stan Mack


Originally published in 1972, Princeton Architectural Press has brought The Brownstone, a fantastic classic, back to the shelves in a beautiful new edition. Written by Paula Scher, graphic designer and partner at the international design consultancy Pentagram, The Brownstone is her only book for children. Illustrations are by cartoonist Stan Mack, who's work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and Adweek. The Brownstone definitely looks like it's from the 70s, but the story and illustrations are timeless. I read this book over and over to classes of all ages and they were enthralled!


The story in The Brownstone is simple, but the solution to the problem the residents of the brownstone face is not... As he is walking home from work one day, Mr. Bear "noticed a familiar chill in the air." It is time for the Bear family to take their long winter nap. But, the theatrical Miss Cat is howling away at her baby grand, making any kind of sleep impossible, let alone hibernation.



A climb to the third floor apartment of the landlord, Mr. Owl, seems to bring about a resolution - and a move for more than a few residents. But, as you might expect, a move for one tenant means an upset for another. One thing that I learned right away from the teachers that I work with is to encourage students to make predictions when reading a story, and The Brownstone is the perfect book for this kind of endeavor.

 Every other page turn presents a new situation, a new combination of tenants with different hobbies and needs and it is so much fun to pause and ask listeners what they think will happen next - will this be a good move with everyone happy or will someone have another complaint? The kids love guessing and The Brownstone is a treat to read out loud and a great lesson on the complexities and rewards of living in harmony!

Source: Review Copy

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