Here are some examples to show what I mean:
1. WON TON AND CHOPSTICK by Lee Wardlaw and Eugene Yeltsin
This tale of a cat and a dog is told in haiku and enormously fun to read aloud, full of humor, natural-sounding. WHAT I GLEAN: Always read my work out loud to myself.
2. LOCOMOTIVE by Brian Floca
At 64 pages, Locomotive is longer than most picture books but the length is perfect for the combo of rich prose and gorgeously detailed artwork, packed with a ton of fascinating info in both the text and illustrations. WHAT I GLEAN: It’s good to be aware of publishing standards and rules, especially if you are new to the business, but don’t be afraid of experimenting with new reader experiences.
I was genuinely scared when I read this picture book! WHAT I GLEAN: It’s ok to be dark and edgy in a picture book. It’s also okay to have a young reader feel scared, as long as the ending comforts, and brings them back to a safe place.
4. THIS IS SADIE by Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad
So inspired by the perfect partnership of text and illustration in this book from beginning to end, showing how Sadie can become anything or anyone she wants to be. WHAT I GLEAN: Think about how I want the reader to feel at the end of my book.
Yes, Ruth is my sister! But I genuinely admire her writing as well as illustrating, and her FOX AND SQUIRREL MAKE A FRIEND is no exception. I loved how the friendship between Fox and Squirrel evolved in this story. WHAT I GLEAN: Make the readers care about what happens to your characters.
Debbie Ridpath Ohi is a children’s book writer and illustrator whose illustrations have appeared in books by Judy Blume and Michael Ian Black. She is author/illustrator of WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? (Simon & Schuster BFYR). Find her at DebbieOhi.com and on Twitter at @inkyelbows.