Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Slush Pile Pointers

A friend from my critique group passed this on to me. It's a guest post titled You Can Tell a Book by Its Title, and Other Wisdom from the Submission Pile on the Writers' Rumpus written by the President and founder of Ripple Grove Press, Rob Broder. It's full of great points from the editor/publisher's side of the slush pile.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

News on Reviews- Take 2

There are also negative reviews in the journals that librarians receive. One big lesson here is know the market, because editors and librarians certainly will. If one of these summarized comments strikes a bit close to home, time to revise, revise, revise...

~for a more atmospheric portrayal of this situation, try....
~kids will be confused by an incongruous depiction (i.e. well behaved child is suddenly naughty, quiet child is suddenly loud etc)
~this is not an essential purchase
~good art with a lightweight story
~narrators voice sounds too adult
~for libraries that already have...., this would not be a first choice
~for a better told, funnier version, try...

Some of these may seem harsh, but perhaps it's why a manuscript is not making it out of a slush pile. The editors job is to select books that will sell!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

News on Reviews

Reading picture book reviews in periodicals like School Library Journal and Horn Book is a great exercise. Not only can you see what new books are being published, but you can also read about what critiquers and potential purchasers are looking for. Editors must think in these terms as they are considering manuscripts. Can these summaries of rave reviews apply to anything you are currently working on?

~ a fine choice for read alouds
~will have readers conjuring worlds where anything can happen
~an energetic reading experience sure to be a hit
~inspired and instructive silliness
~the message bubbles throughout the story without ever being heavy handed
~exceptional economy of words, striking art and a great choice for all libraries

Reviews in these publications are often factors in purchases made by public and school libraries. With limited budgets, they need to really be discerning.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Eagle Eye

Nothing like the appearance of a bald eagle to bring all work to a screeching halt. Awesome!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Predictable Texts- Part 2

Predictable texts for picture books work in several ways so the reader can anticipate what come next. Different types of predictable stories include:

Songs- like Old MacDonald had a Farm
Cumulative stories- they build on themselves with repetition like The House that Jack Built
Sequences- they include familiar sequences such as counting or the days of the week as in Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
Pattern- a scene is repeated with a minor change as in The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
Q&A Stories- A question is repeated as in Whose Footprints? by Molly Croxe
Repetition of a Phrase- a phrase is repeated almost like a refrain as in Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Rhyme or Rhythm Repetitions-  as in Tough Boris by Mem Fox
Circular or Chain Stories- the story "comes full circle" and ends back at the beginning as in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

These story structures are fun to explore. Young children, parents and teachers all delight in them too!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Predictable Texts

A "predictable" picture book may sound ho-hum, but it is often just what the child, parent, reading specialist is looking for. Predictable texts are great fore shared reading. The child learns the pattern, repetition, rhythm or rhyme scheme and can "predict" what comes next. It also allows for pretend reading time, an early literacy skill, when the adult isn't helping and soon the child know the story. Think about children that want to hear the same story over and over again. It is becoming predictable. The child is learning.

Predictable books come in many forms and there are great resources for finding them. In my search to find some mentor texts for my picture book writing, I found these sites very helpful:

Monroe County Public Library Children's Booklists

University of Wisconsin- Polk Library

I Can't Wait!!