Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oh! For the Love of Picture Books

Some picture books tickle our fancy
Some are evocative.  (For me, this one brings on a gully-washer. *See my reason below*

 Simple & pure. 

 Others are downright fun & silly! 

 Many stretch the imagination beyond our wildest dreams. 

 And, others let us know that we can be forgiven for our wrong doings. 


Picture books can teach us how to rhyme or prompt us to say ridiculous words that make us giggle as they roll off the tongue. (You may be asking yourself...what's "Oobleck?")

 Writing picture books is not an easy task, just ask any picture book author. They may even question themselves WHY do we do it? Well, quite simply, because children adore them, all over the world.

***I'll never forgive myself for not taping my youngest daughter reading, The Giving Tree when she was four. I cried every time she read it to me. The memory of her reading that story, over and over, is why picture books must exist.

If you have a few minutes, check out Ms. Sally Rose reading Ten in a Bed. OMG, it's priceless. I mean, look at that face!
And, if you're a Maurice Sendak fan, watch his interview on what it means to be an illustrator. He is a one-of-a-kind artist.

My all-time favorite picture book has to be A Poky Little Puppy by the Texas author, Janette Sebring Lowrey and illustrator, Gustaf Tenggren.

Enjoy this cutetastic storytelling video of an adorable 23 month old. Even though all you can understand are the words, "Poky Little Puppy," she reads with feeling and adorable animation, which will leave you shaking your head with a smile.

This week NPR interviewed some fabulous picture book authors. Here's are the links:
NPR Interview with Mo Willems-Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
and author Martin Salisbury gives us his thoughts on what draws the "read again & again" factor for picture books. 
The Artistry of Children's Picture Books Revealed

Learn more about the history of picture books: The Picture Book

I'm giddy today. Do you want to know why? I attended our monthly SCWBI Schmooze yesterday. The one time I have the guts to bring something for an open critique, and an amazing Texas (published & well-known) author happened to come to her old stompin' grounds for a visit. I had no idea who she was. I've heard her name a thousand times and read her work, but never met her before. Respecting her anonymity, I'm not announcing her name, BUT she said my writing was, "evocative and beautiful!!!!!!" She also had some fantastic advice for me if I wanted to turn the story into a picture book. :)) Can you say cloud nine?

Do you have an all-time favorite picture book? What qualities do you believe makes a great picture book?

"Design is an essential part of any picture book. It is the first aspect of a book that a reader judges. It is the frame-work for the text and illustration. It is the subtle weave of words and pictures that allows both to tell one seamless tale." ~John Scieszka in "Design Matters" from the The Horn Book


  1. Picture books. I remember reading those Golden Books when I was little. At a doctor's office a nun, whom I had innocently called a giant penguin, read a picture book of Popeye the Sailor to me. I can still remember that experience ... and her loving warmth.


    I remember them still. As always, a great post, Roland

  2. Glad she liked your work! That's some high praise. And "Poky little puppy" is one of the nicer phrases I use for slow drivers.

  3. So glad you were able to get some great feedback from an established author. Two extra brownie points in my "you're the coolest" column for the respect you've shown here to her anonymity.

    As for a fave PB. The ones that comes to mind are Goodnight Moon and Counting Kisses. Counting Kisses was my daughter's fave. She loved to count the little hearts as the book counted down to one, where the baby was finally asleep after receiving so much love from her family, even the dog :-)

  4. That's so exciting! I read my 3-month old daughter Goodnight Moon every night. I also just signed up to attend the SCBWI Summer conference. I can't wait!

  5. I grew up on Where the Wild Things Are. As a kid, whenever I went to the library, I headed straight for the book and would get lost in the pictures for what felt like an eternity. I even would let my imagination fly whenever I went to sleep, thinking about those friendly monsters under my bed. Gosh, I loved that book!

  6. Roland, that's hilarious...a giant penguin??
    Alex, Poky Little Puppy, yeah, that's a nice name. I can think of worse...hmm. I just used one this morning I could lend you!
    Angela, Goodnight Moon was another fav. of my youngest. We ended up buying a video back then where Susan Sarandon(sp?) read it aloud. She would recite the story with the narrator. Too cute! Thanks for that about the two points. This author never asked me to keep her visit quiet, I just felt the need to do so. She doesn't live in Texas anymore, and I got the feeling her visit was a well-needed break. It meant the world to me to have her comments. I followed her advice yesterday during a rewrite of the ms. :)
    Michael, congrats on your SCBWI con. They're the best!!! I attend one of the regional cons in the fall. I've attended in the San Antonio area, Austin and Brazos Valley event. Superb events, well worth the dollars. :) Love your new blog header, btw.
    Jack, If you haven't watched Maurice's You Tube videos, you should. He's so unique and artistic. I just love his ability to be who he is, despite what others think. Also, he had a hilarious segment on the Corbert Report...too funny!

  7. Congratulations on your wonderful review! I had forgotten about how much I loved the "Poky Little Puppy" until I saw that picture. I also really loved one where Micky and Minnie go on a picnic. I liked hearing my mom list all the food items they brought along.

    1. Joy, Thanks for your visit! I don't think I've read Micky and Minnie Go on a Picnic. You could probably have repeated the list of food when you were little! That's one of the things that make picture books so memorable.

  8. The Giving Tree was one of my favorites too! Love that book!

    And yay for you!!!! I'd be on cloud nine if someone said such wonderful things like that. :)

    1. Yeah, it was such a surprise to have met her, and to have my work read by her read...omg!

  9. What a fascinating post... Congrats on the critique, that had to make you feel amazing. There is so much info here. I have toyed with the idea of doing a picture book, but I honestly don't know where to begin. I am fortunate that I can illustrate. That is what I studied in college.

    At the moment I illustrated my first m/g fantasy (unpublished) and have collaborated with another children's author to illustrate her story which should be coming out soon. I am currently working on another large project collaboration with another fine fantasy author about mystical creatures. This most likely will be completed by the end of this year.

    So now I want to write my own. Thanks for the info Candy.


    1. Thanks, Michael! Wow, is there anything you're not good at?? I say go for it. :)) I dabble in watercolor, in the past, oils, but my true "medium" is the keyboard. I've done a few pieces with a paintbrush that I'm actually impressed with, but most is not so good.

      I say if you got it, work with it!!