- How to Study, Analyze, or Dissect a Picture Book
- *Picture Book, Length, Differences and Word Count
- PB Vocabulary (actual title is Word Choice in Picture Books, part 1)
- 10 Ingredients for a Great Picture Book
- Picture Book vs. Short Story
- *Nonfiction Fun
- 6 Tips on Writing Picture Books
Wow! I didn't know I had that many.
HOW MANY CATEGORIES ARE THERE? As I continue to read and study about types of PB's and recommended word lengths, I wonder who is right. I think there is a lot of overlapping info. Here's my latest discovery and interpretation. In the 2010 Book Market for Children's Writers, the index lists three categories: Early Picture Books, Picture Books, and Story Picture Books. I had originally thought it to be three completely separate categories, but now I'm beginning to rethink this one. Some of you may think that I'M the one making this difficult by over analyzing this, but that's okay by me. NOW, I wonder if there are just TWO main groups, Early PB's (2-5) and Story PB's (4-8). And the "regular" PB's encompass both of those categories (2-8). So my new concensus is that publishers who publish PICTURE BOOKS do BOTH kinds!
EARLY PICTURE BOOKS. This category is often simply called a picture book, as Aaron Shepard describes in his book, The Business of Writing for Children. When publishers talk of pb's, they are probably talking about this group. Especially when the "new word count" is considered to be no more than 500. Children under two will be squirming by 500 words, if they even make it that long. But 2-5 year olds (what I had deemed as Early PB's) can sit still for longer periods of time. According to Ann Whitford Paul (among others), the average manuscript page contains about 200 words. A PB for this age child should be about 2-5 ms pages, or 400-1000 words (although she said 400-900 and looks for ways to cut when it gets to 700 words). Shepard says a typical ms page is 250 words and the number of ms pgs for this age pb is two to four, or 500-1000 words.
The main difference between Early PB's (or simply PB's) and STORY PB's is that:
- Early pb's require the illustration to help tell the story. OR that the text is left open enough for the illustrator to ADD to the story by creating another level of story by creating a second story line. The text to picture ratio is either balanced or heavier on the pictures. This group also includes concept books such as alphabet, counting, opposites, etc. For preschoolers.
- Story pb's (also called picture storybooks) do typically have more words, so the text to picture ratio is heavier on the text. In these longer story pb's, the illustrations are meant to help hold the listener's attention and aren't really an integral part of the story, at least not in the same way. These books often "have large chunks of text that might even take up the entire page (Paul)." Shepard says these are books "with more text and plot development. Typically, text and art are separated on the page, and the text could stand alone." Historical fiction and biographies tend to fall in this group. For kindergarten to grade 3 or higher.
So there you have it. QUICK RECAP:
- picture books (or early picture books)
- 400-1000 words (or the "new" 200-700)
- ages 2-5
- concept books, such as alphabet, counting, opposites, etc.
- story picture books
- 1200-2000 words (or the "new" 700-1500)
- kindergarten to grade 4
- ages 4-8
- stories with more plot development, such as historical fiction, biographies, etc.