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How many pages in a picture book?

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How many pages are there in a picture book? I keep hearing the number 32. Is that the number of pages all together, even if there are maybe only five words on one page? I'm really confused about this. I'd like to do a picture book for 5/6 year olds. No I can't go and look in local libraries and bookshops. They don't exist where I live! Any information from all you experts out there please. Thank you.
#1 - October 14, 2003, 01:43 AM


Hi oscilis,

I'm no expert, but from what I understand there are usually 32 pages in a picture book. This includes the title/acknowledgement pages or blank pages at the front and back.

Sometimes there may be more or less than 32 but it is a multiple of 8 for binding/printing purposes.  

As far as art goes if that is why you're asking, one illustration could also be a 2 page spread, so you wouldn't need 32 illustrations. Maybe just one per scene.  

Have you tried making a 'dummy' of your story? (It's a homemade version for yourself that lets you know if you have enough scenes to work for a pb and how and where the text would fit. You can staple pages together so it reads like a book or just storyboard it (like a comic spread) so you get a good idea of how it flows.

#2 - October 14, 2003, 04:33 AM


Many thanks for the reply. It makes more sense now ;D
#3 - October 14, 2003, 07:17 AM

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And just to add to what's already been said about this...a 32 page picture book will normally have around 28 pages of pictures and text - actual "story" pages.  So if you figure 14 double page spreads, you should have a "workable" picture book for publishers - one they can fit into their publishing needs quite nicely.
#4 - October 15, 2003, 08:38 PM
Verla Kay

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Oscilis- what a great name, isn't that something in Greek mythology? rusty brain!

Ocsilis, instead of text think of scene changes. You can have as much as five pages or as little as one for the frontismatter (title, copyright, isbn, colophon,etc. some books simply put the info on a text page, Stinky Cheese Man comes to mind) Some books will have much text, some one or two words or a stanza, some with a word, some with none, and yet again some with a varied amount Linda Smith's When Moon Fell Down.) So instead think of your work as word and image opportunities. (though unless you're the artist, that's not your call, if it's important to your story, you can make note of it to the editor). A suggestion when you get your book into some kind of stage, even if you're not an artist, make a dummy to check the flow of your story, and whether there's ample opportunity for your illustrator.

Some thoughts on the book situation, it really is important to understand the genre. Perhaps there are some grade school libraries willing to at least let you spend time looking at the books. If you tell them what you're doing, I've found most librarians and schools very supportive. Or perhaps you can start a group of interested people, Scholastic regularly runs  school fairs with MAJOR savings. If you had three or four people pool resources you could have a nice little library for about $20-$40 per. (they often have a two for one, or buy two get one free, and generally run around $3-6.oo per book, so you see how it can add up.) Scholastic generally runs sales two to four times a year. The added benefit, my kids get to read some wonderful books as well.

No matter what you do, keep doing it. Perhaps joining a crit group would be of benefit, so you're not so cut off, and you can learn more about what makes successful picture books.

Great good luck!
Agy Wilson
this last is our crit groups site, there might be some stuff to help you there!
#5 - October 16, 2003, 10:24 AM


Agy, thanks so much for the reply...well, and to anyone that answers my inane questions.
Oscilis is the roman name for a village in central Spain where I lived for years. It is now called Medinaceli. Look it up on Google.
There that's another post up. ;D
#6 - October 20, 2003, 07:34 AM


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