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What category is it?

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Katey Howes
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I'm new and just getting used to definitions in this writers/agents/editors world.  I'm seeing a lot of comments about how short and concise a picture book needs to be - and that it should be aimed to a certain age group (3-7?)  What would a book with illustrations but more text (say, text page with facing illustration page or longer text across a 2-page spread) be called?  My current project is more in line with the amount of text in Mirette on the Highwire, for example.  Still a "picture book" - but more text and a topic appealing to the higher end of the age range (6-8 more than 3-7).  Is this a separate category?  Is there a place for it?  (and yes, it does for a 32-pg spread beautifully). 
#1 - February 16, 2014, 09:15 AM

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They used to call picture books with more text on the page--storybooks. However, there's very little interest in longer picture books these days. Pbs and storybooks are both intended to be read to the child by an adult. These days pbs are concise with only one or two sentences on each page because...

1. Parents often read picture books to children at night. An exhausted parent wants a book that is concise and can be read quickly, if necessary.
2. Children's attention spans are shorter than they used to be.
3. Children six and above often are starting to read beginning readers and chapter books, which they peruse by themselves. So picture books are mostly for younger children.

Agents report having little success in selling longer picture books in the last few years.

Of course these are generalizations that don't apply to any specific child or book--there ARE exceptions, but not many. In addition, nonfiction picture books can be more text-heavy, as these are often read by older children for book reports, etc.
#2 - February 16, 2014, 09:43 AM
« Last Edit: February 16, 2014, 01:06 PM by Betsy »
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
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Yes, as Ellen said, that sounds like a "picture storybook" and yes, there's not much demand for them. However, they still do get published, though you may need to look beyond the big houses.


For a good guide to the different kinds of picture books (and different kinds of children's books more generally), I always recommend A Family of Readers -- it is presented as a guide for parents, but it's a very useful reference for writers as well.
#3 - February 16, 2014, 11:40 AM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
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Katey, I did a guest post for Cynsations a while back about "Writing the Longer Picture Book":

http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2012/04/guest-post-mara-rockliff-on-writing.html


I don't know what your book's about, but you might find some titles for comparison that are a little more recent than MIRETTE ON THE HIGH WIRE.
#4 - February 16, 2014, 02:19 PM
AROUND AMERICA TO WIN THE VOTE
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more at mararockliff.com

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Thanks Mara for sharing! There was a lot of good information in there, that I will be using.  :)
#5 - February 16, 2014, 04:09 PM
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

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Mara, your guest post was helpful to me, also. Thank you.
#6 - February 17, 2014, 10:03 AM

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Glad it helped!  ;D
#7 - February 17, 2014, 01:31 PM
AROUND AMERICA TO WIN THE VOTE
ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY ADDIE
MESMERIZED
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more at mararockliff.com

Katey Howes
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Thanks to all for sharing!  I've had a few  "I really like it but I'm not sure I can sell it" style responses from agents - and now I know why.  Will try to refocus into the current trends.  Mara - the post is very helpful.  Thanks a lot! 
#8 - February 17, 2014, 05:00 PM

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