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A question in a PB?

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Can Picture books have a particular question in the story that gets asked a few times. For example, let's say there's a story about a girl who stays with her aunt. She desperately wants to go home. The scenes show she's unhappy. But I wanted to also add a question to express what she's thinking. Like asking, "Why can't I just go home?" I put a question like this in about 4 different spots with 4 different scenes. Is it okay to do this? Or is this kind of breaking the show don't tell rule?
#1 - November 19, 2015, 06:26 PM

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Yes. And remember that dialogue is showing! I think 4 times is overkill though for such a question. You can say it in different ways. Maybe she misses her kitties or her special bear she forgot to bring or her mommy. I like the rule of 3 because it really does feel just right for something important.

Best wishes in writing your story. You can also post in the SCBWI critique section when you're ready to get some opinions.

Vijaya
#2 - November 19, 2015, 06:41 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
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Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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If the question is such that the child reader/listener knows it's coming in a repeated call-and-response sort of way, and delights in shouting out the question along with the narrator, I think it could be fun.

So, for example, if the story is about a missing cookie and the repeated question is

"Crocodile, are you SURE you didn't eat my cookie?"

it could be lots of fun.


But I'm not sure this is the type of question you're talking about. It really depends on the story.

Good luck!
#3 - November 20, 2015, 12:24 PM
Jean Reidy
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Thanks for your replies. I think I am just going to cut the question. It's more of a "why can't I" question. I thought it sounded cute of the character's thought. But if a agent or editor would frown at something like this then I rather remove it. Thanks for your help!
#4 - November 20, 2015, 03:06 PM

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