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First person for picture books?

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I am working on a couple of mss that I think are suitable to be picture books.  One is 650 words written with an omniscient narrator, interspersed with a bit of dialog from the 2 kids.   My other mss is 370 words, written in first person (narrator is a 5 y/o boy), with some dialog as he communicates with others.

My question is, is there a right/wrong?  Is one a more believable/usable vehicle than the other?  I think I'm ready for input on both of these, but maybe not quite ready for critique yet.   I'm a real newbie.    Would appreciate suggestions.
Thanks!
#1 - April 21, 2015, 01:09 PM

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Both POVs (point of views) that you are using work for picture books. There isn't a right/wrong. If it works for your story, then that's what you should use. I'd suggest reading as many current picture books (published within the last few years) as possible to see how others do it.
#2 - April 21, 2015, 02:29 PM
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Exactly what Stephanie said. But to take it a bit further, sometimes it's good to rewrite a few pages with a different POV, just to see how it works. You'll be amazed at how that can change a story, sometimes for the better! (But always save your original drafts.) Have fun and good luck! :cheesy
#3 - April 21, 2015, 06:19 PM
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Thank you both for your advice.  I really appreciate your input.  I have been reading lots of picture books, (old and new) and have learned some of the answers to my question, in a way.   As I look at my 2 mss, I'm thinking one might be for parents to read aloud, and the other might, almost, be an easy reader if I shorten the sentences. 

I understand what you mean about re-writing from a different POV and getting a whole different take on the story.  Thank you.  I'll experiment.
#4 - April 21, 2015, 06:58 PM

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There certainly isn't a right or wrong way. Something to consider, though, is that it is usually an adult reading the book out loud. This means the adult is saying "I," but the voice is that of a 5 year old. Depending upon the story, this might be confusing to a child listener. Laurie
#5 - April 22, 2015, 08:27 AM
Laurie Wallmark
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Thank you Laurie.  I agree with you.  In fact, my first-person story could possibly be suitable for an easy reader.  It is a very short story geared to kids maybe 3-5 years old.  But then, does easy reader put the manuscript into a whole different realm of trying to find a "home" for it?
#6 - April 22, 2015, 09:51 AM

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My daughter loved 'Pinkalicious' at age 3 onwards. This is in first person.
I suspect if the character is very strong then it can work.
I'm struggling with the same issue. I've switched up the POV to first person and felt that the story really came alive, but now concerned about the adult reading it problem.

Tricky one.
#7 - April 23, 2015, 03:40 PM

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Hi Barbara - As others have said, both POVs are used in great picture books. A lot depends on the voice and language of the book and the nature of the story you are telling. When you play with different POVs, make sure you're reading them aloud to hear how your narrator sounds.  In most cases the POV comes to me right from the start, because it's the way the idea or language first presents itself. And every once in a while, I've switched POV and it's made all the difference.
Good luck!
#8 - April 24, 2015, 06:48 AM
Jean Reidy
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Thank you all...I have re-written in 3rd person (and kept my original).  In 3rd person I have found a bit of detail that I was not able to put into the 1st person.  I have read Pinkalicious, Zombelina and other 1st person PBs, and you guys are right...if the character is strong, I believe kids will get into it.   It looks like the story still needs a lot of work, no matter which way I go! 
#9 - April 24, 2015, 07:07 AM

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Thank you Laurie.  I agree with you.  In fact, my first-person story could possibly be suitable for an easy reader.  It is a very short story geared to kids maybe 3-5 years old.  But then, does easy reader put the manuscript into a whole different realm of trying to find a "home" for it?

Easy readers are for ages 5-7 or so. Most three year olds wouldn't be able to read it. Some picture books have simple enough text to qualify as both, but I'd sell as a picture book and let board book and easy reader book versions follow if the picture book does well enough.
#10 - April 27, 2015, 08:02 AM
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Debbie.  Thank you so much for the insight.  It really helps me with strengthening this story.
#11 - April 27, 2015, 09:23 AM

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