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Picture Book or Early Reader?

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Hi all, I am having a little trouble understanding the distinction between early readers and longer picture books. I'd like to write a humorous book along the lines of The Day the Crayons Quit, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales or James Stevenson's Could Be Worse.

I know these books aren't exactly alike but would you consider them picture books or early readers? Stinky Cheese Man, for instance, is almost 3,000 words. As I understand it, that's considered too long for a modern picture book.
#1 - February 07, 2019, 01:26 PM

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Those are all picture books.

Early readers are geared toward children learning to read. They contain controlled vocabulary and sentence structure appropriate to the reading level and art that supports, rather than compliments, the text. Picture books are meant to be read to the child. The language can be more sophisticated. Traditionally these books were for ages 4-8, but that range is skewing younger these days. This is why the books are getting shorter. The current sweet spot appears to be between 300 and 500 words.

The Stinky Cheese Man is an exception in that it is almost a compilation of tales. (Typical word count at that time was under 1000). Also, this was not the first book for the author and illustrator and their first sold well. It's possible no one would've taken a chance on it if not for that.

I hope this helps you decide what you have.
#2 - February 07, 2019, 07:39 PM
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 06:23 PM by Debbie Vilardi »
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Here's a very helpful post with examples: http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2011/05/wordcount-dracula.html   
#3 - February 08, 2019, 05:54 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Just to add to Debbie and Vijaya's helpful comments, one way to get a handle on the different types of books published for different ages is to read a guide like A Family of Readers, which although presented as a guide for parents to children's and YA is actually a very good introduction to the whole range of books in our field. It covers all the different categories, explains how they match up with the needs of the children for whom they are written, and includes examples of published books. The link I included takes you to a longer review I wrote about the book.
#4 - February 08, 2019, 09:14 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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Thanks all! This is super helpful! Debbie, your explanation is perfect and really crystallized things for me. Vijaya and Harold, thanks for the suggestions - I will check those out!
#5 - February 08, 2019, 11:48 AM

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