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The A-Z Game of Picture Book Devices

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Tea Drinker Extraordinaire
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Okay, so I thought this might be fun....and maybe helpful to see what we could be adding to our WIPs. Who would like to play?

The rules:

1. Each person posts one device that can be used by picture book authors (writers and/or illustrators).
2. Each device posted starts with a new letter of the alphabet - one per letter, in alphabetical order. Cause we're picture book authors so, what else...?  :whistle
3. Include an example from a published book - either using a direct quote or by describing how it's used in the book.

I'm guessing you're still not entirely sure what I'm going on about, so I'll start  :P

A is for....
ALLITERATION

Example:
THE MONSTORE by Tara Lazar and James Burks

"No more sneaky sister snooping, sleepwalking, or snatching his stuff."

Now, someone else does 'B'...
#1 - May 21, 2015, 02:02 AM

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B is for Bad Behavior!

BAD KITTY by Nick Bruel

I don't have the book so I'll have to describe it.  Bad Kitty misbehaves in ways from A to Z. (That's one of the FOUR ways Bruel takes us through the alphabet.)

(This is going to be hard)
#2 - May 21, 2015, 03:54 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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C is color, because pictures. Gee, I'm not to creative this morning. Stayed up to watch the last Letterman.

C for creativity! Which I don't have!
#3 - May 21, 2015, 04:58 AM
Kell Andrews
www.kellandrews.com
Twitter @kellandrewsPA

THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

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D for dialogue!

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein features :bluesad dialogue between a tree and a boy/man. And makes me openly weep.
 :bluesad  :cry2
#4 - May 21, 2015, 05:06 AM

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E is for epistolary -- a story written in letters. Used in I Wanna Iguana, The Jolly Postman, Dear Mrs. Larue, and one of my favorite PBs for grown-ups, Griffin and Sabine.
#5 - May 21, 2015, 05:17 AM
POETREE coming Spring 2019
Uncommon stories for uncommon children: http://www.shaunalavoyreynolds.com
find me on twitter @slr

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G is for global appeal, or universality.

H is for humor --a BIG plus these days.
#6 - May 21, 2015, 05:32 AM
www.andriawarmflashrosenbaum.com
Twitter: @andriawrose
Trains Don't Sleep, HMH 2017
Big Sister, Little Monster, Scholastic Press, 2017

www.tammisauer.com
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Andi, you missed F. Ha!

F is for FEELING.

You want your reader to FEEL something.

Example:  Mostly Monsterly

(I picked one of my books so I wouldn't have to think too hard this morning.)

We feel for Bernadette when she tries and tries to show her monster friends how much she cares, but nothing goes her way. Then, when she comes up with the perfect plan, we feel for her in an entirely different way.
#7 - May 21, 2015, 05:38 AM
« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 05:46 AM by Tammi »
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE

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Ha! I thought Shauna's F was "find me on twitter" tee-hee.

Here's another F. Few --as in use as few words as possible.
#8 - May 21, 2015, 05:42 AM
www.andriawarmflashrosenbaum.com
Twitter: @andriawrose
Trains Don't Sleep, HMH 2017
Big Sister, Little Monster, Scholastic Press, 2017

Fun game! I think we're on "I."

There are so many "I" words for picture books: innovative, interesting, and of course, illustrations, but another word to keep in mind is INTELLIGENT. Trust the reader to be intelligent and resist the urge to over-explain (back to Andi's "use as few words as possible.")

It's okay to use an occasional BIG word, which our intelligent readers will understand in context, or their parents can define, and then those intelligent readers will expand their vocabulary. The word has to be the absolute best fit, perfect, except being above the reading level.   

Click, Clack, Moo
Cows That Type

By Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

"Duck was a neutral party, so he brought the ultimatum to the cows."

When I first read this to my son he had an inkling about what "neutral" meant, but "ultimatum" was a new word. He definitely knows it now: we read that book at least fifty times over the years, and all of the others in the series, too!
 :fireworks
#9 - May 21, 2015, 06:40 AM
Ten Clever Ninjas (picture book, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)
Butterfly Girl (middle grade novel, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)

Twitter: @kidlitSarah

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J is for Joy.

Kitten's first full moon by Kevin Henkes.

This word captures everything that writing should be. And this book is joyful.

What a night! :cat

Vijaya

#10 - May 21, 2015, 09:01 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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K is for Kinetic (? It took me ages to come up with that) because movement is important in stories and illustrations.

From one of my favorite books Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and illustrated by the immeasurable Robert Lawson.

We see Ferdinand's hooves in the air, an angry bee and a part of the cork tree they're under flung into the air. The motion is almost tangible.

"Wow! Did it hurt! Ferdinand jumped up with a snort. He ran around puffing and snorting, butting and pawing the ground as if he were crazy."
#11 - May 21, 2015, 09:07 AM
« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 09:09 AM by emmaapple »

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L is for LISTS!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle:

"On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake and one slice of watermelon."

That was my favourite part when I was young.
#12 - May 21, 2015, 10:32 AM

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M is for "magical." The Velveteen Rabbit. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Two older, but timeless, masterpieces.
#13 - May 21, 2015, 09:35 PM
Carol Samuelson-Woodson

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N is for naughty.
Kids love naughty characters - actually, it's something we can all identify with.
eg DIARY OF A WOMBAT by Jackie French. You wouldn't believe what mischief that wombat gets up to!
#14 - May 21, 2015, 11:32 PM
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink (August 2018)

www.juliemurphybooks.com

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N is for Nostalic or Narrative( a strong narration makes a huge difference in a good book or a great one.)

You want your readers to connect to your book. We all have that one book that is dear to us and memorable.

Example would be paddington bear (my favorite) for Nostalic, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for its narration.

 :flowers2
#15 - May 21, 2015, 11:56 PM

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 :innocent  I'm such a party pooper. http://literary-devices.com/   :grin4 :mademe :bellydancer 
#16 - May 23, 2015, 06:24 PM

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O is for onomatopoeia. Click Clack Moo Cows That Type (or about a million other books)
#17 - May 24, 2015, 06:25 AM
www.Facebook.com/MythRiderBook
- 4RV Publishing, April 2015
NO MORE MR. DAWDLE (Caramel Tree, April 2015)
UNGLUED (Caramel Tree, June 2015)

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(Aside: I completely misunderstood the directions.  I thought you were supposed to name a device that had been used in an ABC book and I thought it would be impossible.  You guys obviously read better than I do. Carry on.)
#18 - May 24, 2015, 07:40 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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Poetry: "Rhymers Will Be Readers" (Mem Fox) Nursery Rhymes, Early American School Books, I'm Going To Pet A Worm Today, Hairy MacLary series (terrific, btw), Stella Unleashed, Emily Dickinson (selection for children), the ABC song/rhyme to Twinkle, Twinkle which makes it so much easier to learn the ABC's in order (didn't exist when I was learning 'em so I know). Poetry/rhyme will never go out of style with small children (and some of us older children!) no matter how unpopular it is with certain adults.
#19 - May 24, 2015, 07:52 AM
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 07:13 PM by Carol Samuelson-Woodson »
Carol Samuelson-Woodson

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Q is for Question. Many Picture book titles are written as a question, proceeding then to answer the question in the course of the tale.

How Much is a Million?
Mama Do You Love Me?
What Does A Fox Say?
What Do You Do, Dear?
Did I Ever tell You How Lucky You Are?
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

#20 - May 24, 2015, 06:54 PM

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R is for
REPETITION!

Aaaarrgghh, Spider by Lydia Monks is a masterclass in using repetition - in both the structure of the book and the many many repeated phrases used, the main one being:

"Aaaarrgghh, spider!
Out
You
Go!"


#21 - May 25, 2015, 10:15 AM

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S is for SETTING. Such an important component of a picture book. Fixes a story to time and place. Some PBs have setting etched upon our brains. Here are just a few:

OWL MOON
THE LORAX
GOODNIGHT MOON
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS

#22 - May 25, 2015, 10:31 AM

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T is for tempo.  Some picture books are slow and quiet (Goodnight Moon) while others have more zip (Jamberry or Chicka Chicka Boom Boom).
#23 - May 25, 2015, 12:51 PM

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U is for Understanding. Understand your targeted reader. Understand his/her age group, their  likes and dislikes, their reading level, their language skills...what makes them tick? What makes them laugh? What makes them want to turn the page...  :bookclub
#24 - May 25, 2015, 10:24 PM
Creative blessings to you ~

www.trinegrillo.com

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V is for Voice. The unforgettable voice of many picture books.

THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT
CLICK, CLACK, MOO, COWS THAT TYPE
Any book at all by Dr. Seuss

_______________________________

V is also for Verse. Most of the time this usually means rhymes, but not always.

ALL THE WORLD
BLUE ON BLUE
GOOD NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE
Again...Any book at all by Dr. Seuss
#25 - May 26, 2015, 11:22 AM

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W is for Write!

Just do it. The worst thing you DO write is better than the best thing you DON'T write.

#26 - May 26, 2015, 01:24 PM
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

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xoxoxox  Because we have to show love to the words, images, and readers and because this is how we want them to feel about our books and to share with the caregivers who read with them. (And because x is just plain tough, but I don't accept writer's block. Carry on.)
#27 - May 26, 2015, 03:49 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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That's a good one, Debbie!  I was hurrying so I wouldn't have to do X, but you nailed it.
#28 - May 26, 2015, 03:51 PM
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

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Y is for You the writer! Be true to your writing.
Sure things will change in your story based on feedback from your CPs, agent, editors. But I think it is important that your heart is still vested in your story in order for it to shine.
#29 - May 28, 2015, 08:24 AM
How to Wear a Sari (HMH Books/Versify, Fall 2020)
www.darshanakhiani.com - Children's Book Author

 Z - Zippy, Zesty, Zany 

Use the Z word for an end like how the end of a story would could or should tie up the loose ends for a great story.
#30 - May 29, 2015, 09:27 AM

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