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Board Books and Early Readers

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Hi all,
I apologize in advance if my questions are silly, lol, but as I wandered through
Barnes and Noble today, I wondered a few things. Some board books don't
have the complete text of the original picture book. Others, like Room on
The Broom, do, and it surprised me to begin with to see it in that format,
as the picture book has quite a few words. So, if that length of book can
have the text shrunken to fit a board book, why do other books have shorter
versions for their board books?

Also, early readers - when a picture book explodes with popularity, is that
when publishers ask their authors to also write early readers with those
characters, hence all the Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Splat the Cat, etc, etc
early readers? Or do authors write them because they want to?

Thanks, you guys!
#1 - September 10, 2013, 06:16 PM

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Hi Nanci,

Not silly at all! I think it's just the publisher's choice as to whether they truncate an originally-published PB text for a board book format or keep it the same length. Perhaps some of it is based on the rhyme (if it rhymes) and whether the story is effective shortened.

As to early readers, for the titles you mention, yes, pubs ask their authors to write ERs after their PBs explode. I think it's rarely the other way around.

Jody
#2 - September 11, 2013, 04:54 AM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, BUSY BUS series, EMERGENCY KITTENS, and more!
Twitter @jodywrites4kids

Thanks, Jody.
 :fireworks
#3 - September 11, 2013, 10:27 AM

Jody's right, Nancy. It's the publisher's choice.

I can speak specifically about my board book THIS TREE, 1, 2, 3 which has the same title and only includes the counting illustrations of my picture book THIS TREE COUNTS! The picture book is about 650 words and it was actually a lot of fun to trim it down to 80 words for the board book. specifically revising for the toddler/preschool market.

 
#4 - September 11, 2013, 12:01 PM
THESE THINGS COUNT! award-winning nature series Albert Whitman
TWIGS (YA)  Merit Press
www.alisonashleyformento.com

Hi Alison,
That does sound like a fun challenge - to trim as much
as you did! I'm going to look for your books on my next
trip to the bookstore.
#5 - September 11, 2013, 05:39 PM

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One of the reasons for the trimming can be to adapt a picture book that is really for older children to a younger audience, as Alison A did. But it may also be a cost-cutting move. From a production point of view, a 32-page board book is MORE expensive to produce than a 32-page softcover picture book, but parents expect it to cost less! Publishers can do larger print runs to cut unit costs, but that will only do so much, so they may choose to cut a 32-page book in paper down to 24 pages on board. I compiled some notes on board books some time ago--it gives some more background on this:  http://www.underdown.org/board-books.htm

Harold
#6 - September 11, 2013, 07:40 PM
Harold Underdown

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

That was interesting to read - thanks, Harold!
And somehow, while reading that info about
board books, I started remembering all of the
pop-up and lift-the-flap books that used to be
around - so much fun. Miss them!
#7 - September 11, 2013, 11:21 PM

mark.pritchett

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I meant to write a picture book, but by the time I got done it was 1,800 words.  Are you guys saying that it is very hard to write ERs if you don't have a picture book first?
#8 - November 03, 2013, 12:45 PM

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No, I don't think that's what they are saying. They are saying some very popular PBs have been turned into readers, but it doesn't usually work in reverse. Also, no one mentioned this (I don't think) but it's not always the same author and illustrator that work on the ER. Sometimes you'll see it's just based on their work, and the ERs have been licensed and done as  a work for hire project.

But you might not actually have an early reader just because your intended PB has a too long word count. PBs are meant to be read by adults out loud to children, ERs are for young children just learning to read on their own, so there are very strict rules for writing these.the vocab and difficulty of sentence structure ismgoing to be apples and oranges for these types of books and they usually have a low word count. It could be possible to adapt your ms to fit a chapter book format.

My upcoming series is for emerging readers, and it was an eye-opening experience learning to write for that market. It's a completely different skill set than writing PBs.

That being said, it is an extremely difficult market to break into..
#9 - November 03, 2013, 01:26 PM
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 01:34 PM by Artemesia »
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

mark.pritchett

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I got it critiqued and the other person said something similar to it being turned into a chapter book or maybe even a graphic novel because it has a lot of dialogue in it. I don't know if it would make a good chapter book though, as it's about a stuffed skunk and his friends as they try to become pirates. I'm thinking that it's too childish to be a chapter book.
#10 - November 03, 2013, 02:12 PM

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I hope you aren't confusing chapter book with middle grade novel. Chapter books are the step between easy readers and novels. And there are different levels within chapter book category.

My series is an early chapter book series aimed at 5-7 year old emerging readers, fully illustrated, each volume about 2500 words, about a second grade superhero chicken. If the execution is good, I think your concept would work just fine. I would go to the bookstore or library and read a lot of chapter books to get an idea of the different formats and pacing, etc. It will give you a better idea of if and how your ms can be adapted.
#11 - November 03, 2013, 02:28 PM
« Last Edit: November 03, 2013, 02:30 PM by Artemesia »
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

mark.pritchett

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Thank you very much for your help and input. I definitely think that I am confused with each category. I love your chicken theme also by the way.
#12 - November 04, 2013, 04:02 AM

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Aw, thanks, Mark. And glad I could be of help.  :chickendance
#13 - November 04, 2013, 08:45 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

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Regarding Nanci's quote:
That was interesting to read - thanks, Harold!
And somehow, while reading that info about
board books, I started remembering all of the
pop-up and lift-the-flap books that used to be
around - so much fun. Miss them!

You shouldn't confuse BOARD BOOKS and NOVELTY BOOKS... though they can easily be confused since quite often, they are on the same shelf because many novelty books look like board books.

Board book editions of picture books are a different category from the lift-flap and die-cut board books (which I call NOVELTY) and early concept board books. They are different in the way they are produced, acquired, and published. Just totally different animals. Or books, rather.
#14 - November 04, 2013, 08:57 AM

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