As a picture book author, editor and writing teacher, I spend a lot of time thinking about the “rules” of the craft. Several new picture books suggest that the rules are becoming more flexible. Here are five of my favorites that chart new territory and inspire me to think outside the rule box:
Little Brown (Marla Frazee) – A shelter dog wonders whether being friendless makes him cranky, or
is the result of his crankiness.
BROKEN RULES: Disagreeable protagonist, existential concept, unresolved ending.
I Will Not Eat You (Adam Lehrhaupt, Scott Magoon) - A dragon considers who is meal-worthy, and
BROKEN RULES: Passive protagonist; unexpected, quirky take-away
The Stuff of Stars (Mariod Dane Bauer, Ekua Holmes) – A poetic exploration of the Big Bang.
BROKEN RULES: Philosophical non-fiction; abstract (but magnificent) illustrations
The Iridescence of Birds (Patricia MacLachlan, Hadley Hooper) – Biography of Henri Matisse.
BROKEN RULES: 2nd person narrative voice; advanced vocabulary
Tie: I Need a New Bum (Dawn McMillan, Ross Kinaird) and Monsters New Undies (Samantha Berger,
Tad Carpenter) Fun with backsides and underwear.
BROKEN RULES: Risky content, language and illustrations (these books might get banned – but kids
Emma is giving away one Editor in a Box for Picture Books revision kit to one lucky winner. To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 4, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.
Emma Walton Hamilton is a best-selling children’s book author, editor and writing coach. She serves as director ofcertificate program, now in its 7th year, as well as the annual . A co-founder of and , Emma also hosts her own writing courses and resources for writers online at .