Tuesday, March 24, 2020

ReFoReMo Day 17: Author/Illustrator Jannie Ho explores the Interplay of Dialogue and Illustrations


As an author/illustrator I am fascinated by picture books that have visual appeal of the text being mostly in dialog. The text can be set in speech bubbles which gives the book another dimension and a slight graphic novel feel. Even when it is sprinkled throughout a book,  it can provide a wonderful secondary story too. This list shows how little or much can be said to create a wonderful story, with the rest being told in the illustrations. In turn, a perfect marriage of what picture books are all about.


Nobody’s Duck by Mary Sullivan












Moo Moo in a Tutu by Tim Miller











Duck, Duck, Porcupine by Salina Yoon











Snail and Worm Again by Tina Kugler












I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty illustrated by Mike Boldt



Jannie is giving away Tummy Time Animal Parade  and  The Little Engine's Easter Egg Hunt   to one lucky winners! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 2, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.


Jannie Ho is a children’s book writer and illustrator. Her artwork appears in books, magazines, toys, crafts and digital media. She is the author/illustator of BEAR AND CHICKEN (Running Press Kids/Hachette). Find her at JannieHo.comand instagram at @chickengirldesign.





114 comments:

  1. It’s amazing what wonderful stories can be told through dialogue alone. Thanks for this list of mentor texts.

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  2. Dev Petty and Salina Yoon are amazing in their ability to say so much with so few words. It's fun to study their books. And also to see that it can be done if you are not an author/illustrator. THanks for a great post.

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  3. Thank you for this list. I'm not an illustrator - i missed the artistic gene. But i did get the writing gene; words are my world. I will look at these books when the library opens for business again.

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  4. A marriage is a great way to view this relationship...teamwork!

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  5. Thanks for sharing a great list of balanced perfection, Jannie!

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  6. Thank you Jannie for these great examples of true partnership between text and illustrations.

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  7. These are hilarious! Nobody's Duck had me cracking up and I was totally surprised at the end! I adored the heart shaped speech bubble near the end-it was a perfect touch!

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  8. Thank you for this great books to read Jannie. I have a couple of dialogue only books so I’m really curious to see how they do this and then a parallel stories that the illustrator created.

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  9. Thank you for the interesting selection of titles. I am amazed by the word count.

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  10. Thanks for sharing. Salina Yoon is a master author/Illustrator. And I connect with the humor and phrasing in Dev Petty's Frog series.

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  11. Great mentor text recommendations! Thank you!

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  12. Great dialogue can really draw the reader in as well. Thank you for the great texts.

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  13. I don't want to be a frog is a great picture book. Kids just love it! Thank you for your selections.

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  14. I love the humor in BEAR AND CHICKEN - and your recommendations have that same giggle worthiness :)

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  15. These are fun books. Thanks for sharing your list. I really like I Don't Want to be a Frog. Looking forward to reading, Duck, Duck, Porcupine!

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  16. These books look fun and the covers are great. I can't wait to find them.
    Thanks.

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  17. Such fun books today. Thanks so much.

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  18. Wonderful books! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  19. Thanks for your book recommendations. I'm looking forward to reading them.

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  20. This is the perfect list of mentor texts for my WIP>

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  21. When given the opportunity to look through a bag or box of picture books, these are often the types of books my young grandsons choose. They also love listening to the stories as I pretend to be the different characters by changing my voice intonations.
    I love hearing their giggles! Thanks, Jannie Ho, for fun books to explore together.

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  22. Such an important point to keep in mind...especially for those of us who only write.

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  23. TY, Janie. I like the idea of creating "slightly graphic novel" feel to my PBs via dialogue. TY for the recs.

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  24. Thanks for the reminder about what a challenge it is to combine the two parts into one great story.

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  25. Wow - as a librarian I love good reading aloud!

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  26. JANNIE: I LOVE this POV from someone who is a both a children's book writer and an illustrator! THANK YOU for the inspiration to dig into your book examples to find ways to make the picture book "marriage" work between the words and illustrations. SO IMPORTANT!!!

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  27. A great collection of books! Thank you!

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  28. Looking forward to getting all of these from the library when it reopens.

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  29. I love your work, Jannie! Thanks for the post.

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  30. Jannie, this is exactly what I needed!!! I haven't had a chance to read the mentor texts yet, but they will be SO helpful for one of my current mss! Thank you!

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  31. "I love books with dialogue!"

    "Me too!"

    "They are fun to read together."

    "And take turns!"

    Thanks Jannie!


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  32. interesting post, Jannie. Kids (and adults) love dialogue in books. Using bubbles like in some cartoons makes it stand out from the rest of the text. Great post!

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  33. This makes me wonder... how would an author denote thought/comment bubbles in a MS? I noticed most of the texts were by Author/Illustrators. Thanks for the inspiration and for the great mentor texts.

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  34. I really enjoy finding dialogue in picture books like these. Thanks for the mentor text book list.

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  35. Good to see some examples of books that focus on dialogue. Thanks for sharing.

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  36. These look adorable! Thanks for the book suggestions.

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  37. Great choices - can't wait to read them.

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  38. This is a fun way to write a book. Thanks!

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  39. Thank you, Jannie, for the great samples of blending text and illustrations together, using the technique of mostly dialogue. With graphic novels becoming all the rage, it's interesting to see how a scaled-down version of that can be used in picture books. Inspiring mentor texts! [Posted by LouAnn Silva]

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  40. Wish I was an illustrator/author! Hard to write these books unless one has a great visual imagination as the illustrations make the dialogue work so well.

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  41. Thank you so much for this fun list!

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  42. Thank you, Jannie! Love these books!

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  43. These books look like so much fun, thanks.

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  44. Loved making dialogue bubbles when a kid. And that was long ago. Some things are always with us.

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  45. I'm a fan of dialogue-driven texts and like to write them. I've read several of these, and love them! Thanks for sharing your favorites with us!

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  46. Great examples of dialogue in a story! Thank you!

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  47. Super list of dialogue texts--thanks, Jannie! Just what I needed while I revise mine!

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  48. I've been studying the different ways to add dialogue in books, so thanks for these great new titles!

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  49. Such fun favorites to study and play around with. Thanks for sharing!

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  50. Thank you for sharing picture books with an interplay of dialogue and illustrations. I look forward to reading them.

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  51. Thanks for these suggestions, Jannie--I Don't Want to Be a Frog is so much fun!

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  52. Thank you for these suggestions. I look forward to reading the ones I haven't yet, particularly Moo Moo in a Tutu. Looks fun!

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  53. Great list of books for different ways to use dialogue. Thanks!

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  54. Great selection. Thanks.

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  55. Thanks for your list of mentor texts. Looking forward to reading them.

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  56. Have got to read these books so I'll feel more comfortable writing PB dialogue. Thank you.

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  57. I haven't been able to read all of your suggestions, but the ones I did are truly wonderful. Thanks for your insights!

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  58. Thank you, Jannie, for sharing these fun reads for mentor study.

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  59. I had so much fun reading these books! (Although I had to catch the last two titles being read online, since I didn't have them from the library yet.) Thanks, Jannie. I love how humor can be expanded by witty dialogue matched with the perfect art. I tend to use lots of dialogue, and in the past industry professionals have said a PB should be 1/4 dialogue at most, so I'm happy to see more new releases with mostly dialogue texts.

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  60. As someone who struggles with dialogue, these stories were really a good study for me. Thank you!

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  61. Looking forward to reading and studying the dialogue/illustration relationships in all your suggested mentor PBs when my library reopens! Thanks, Jannie!

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  62. Books combining dialogue and illustration are so much fun and are perfect for emerging readers. Thanks for sharing.

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  63. Wow, I'm learning a new long list of craft approaches to look for in mentor texts. Yum!

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  64. These books are great example of dialogue only. Thank you.

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  65. This post is just what I needed today. I just finished a story that is all in dialogue - with the potential for great illustrations. Several people question whether this will work. Now, I can point to these wonderful mentor texts to say yes it will.

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  66. Thanks, great examples of words and pictures sharing the storytelling!

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  67. Thanks for this list of mentor texts. Sure makes me wish I were an illustrator too! I love I Don't Want to be A Frog. I purchased it for the library in our mentoring program, and the kids truly enjoy it. It has a great message too.

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  68. Love, “I Don’t Wanna Be a Frog!”

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  69. I love dialogue too. And as the person said above me, I really liked it I Don't Want to be a Frog.

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  70. I Don’t Want to Be Frog is the only one of these I was able to read, but dialogue is a winner nearly every time!

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  71. These are fun to read and write. I DON'T WANT TO BE A FROG is classic. Great list, Jannie.

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  72. Great mentor texts here, and great topic. This is something I'm becoming increasingly aware of in my PBs.

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  73. These were fun to read. Thank you for sharing how dialog is used in sparse texts!

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  74. Great additions to my study list. Thank you.

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  75. A wonderful point of view to keep in mind while reading and researching! Thanks.

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  76. What a wonderful post and such fun mentor texts! Thank you!

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  77. Fun books! Duck Duck Porcupine really cracked me up! haha.

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  78. Dialogue books can be hard. Thanks for sharing these great examples.

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  79. What good examples. I am looking forward to seeing and studying them. Thank you.

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  80. It's with a heavy heart that I've decided to officially drop out of Reforemo for this year. In addition to being a lover of reading and writing, I'm also a teacher of young students and with the pandemic, I'm pretty maxed out with learning technology and resources for our school's new home-study program. I hope to catch up with the posts and books later this year. Thank you Carrie, Kristi, and all the bloggers for the hard work you've put into this! I gained a lot from the little time I was able to participate. Keep on reading, everyone!

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    1. Rhonda, I know what you mean! Just remember that all the knowledge will still be here, and you can come back when you're ready & continue on. All the best!

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  81. I wouldn't have thought to research dialogue books only. Thanks for the post.
    -Ashley Congdon

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  82. The idea of creating something of a graphic novel through dialogue is fantastic. Thank you for the input!!!

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  83. LOL. Ok, I was dying laughing at some of these. We read (my grands and I) and they were captivated. Thank you!

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  84. Thanks, Jannie! I look forward to getting some of these from my library when it re-opens. My book that's coming out this summer has speech bubbles. It definitely adds another dimension to a story!

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  85. I had not read any of these books. I have used a tiny bit of illustrator drawn dialogue, but I definitely need to experiment with more.

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  86. I am always impressed how author-illustrators balance these elements so perfectly. Thanks for suggesting these titles!

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  87. Thank you, Jannie, for introducing me to some new picture book titles.

    Suzy Leopold

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  88. Thanks for highlighting these wonderful books!

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  89. Yes to dialogue! My earliest readers also love how accessible dialogue typically is for them as readers.

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  90. Love Moo Moo in a Tutu! Can't wait to read the other books you've highlighted.

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  91. Ooh, books told in dialogue are so much fun! Thanks for a great list to study more closely.

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  92. Thank you. Dialogue can be a fun approach.

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  93. Great mentor texts in brevity! I loved how much story was told in so few words.

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  94. Author/illustrators have it made, don't they -- no art notes required, LOL! Not only were these stories quite short, but as mentioned, the illustrators did the majority of the storytelling. These books are fantastic for what I tell me students to do who are just learning to recognize letters & words--take a picture walk & see the story that way. Thx for some new additions to my picture walk shelf!

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  95. These are such fun, thank you! I love little duck's "takes" to the audience, and Snail and Worm are so charming. All great examples.

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  96. Thank you for sharing some mentor texts to look to for letting the illustrations do the work.

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  97. Fabulous choices! I can use all of these as mentor texts, at present, because my March 12x12 draft is all dialogue.

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  98. I couldn't help but be envious of authors/illustrators when II read these books. They are a perfect marriage. Thank you for the examples.

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  99. I’ve only been able to read I Don’t Want to Be A Frog so far, but I look forward to reading the others.

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  100. What great books! Especially I Don't Want To Be A Frog!

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  101. Yes! I have been looking for more mentor texts that use art and dialogue together.

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  102. Wonderful list! I've only created traditionally structured books so far (3 published) and am working on a dialogue-only one for the first time now, thank you! I'm really trying to get a better sense of how the eye travels when there are boxes, not just pages.

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  103. I own Duck, Duck Porcupine. I'll certainly look for the others. they will be helpful as i try to writer short texed book that give the illustrator freedom to create.

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  104. These are really fun - the supportive relationship between Snail and Worm reminded me a little of Arnold Lobel's brilliant Frog and Toad stories.

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  105. Most were new texts for me. Thanks.

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  106. Love snail and worm. Riding a bicycle, lol.

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  107. These were all new titles to me. Thank you!

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  108. Super fun! This is how Mo Willems writes most of his stories, and they're always amazing.

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  109. THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA, is another great example.
    Thank you Jannie, for your post!

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  110. Learned so much with these texts. Great examples of how the art set the scene to support the dialogue and drive story. Thanks so much!

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