Posts Tagged ‘picture book structure guidelines’

Look at a Book: The Princess and the Pig

Filed under: Favorite Picture Books | January 25, 2013


I happened upon The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene (published by Walker and Company, a division of Bloomsbury. Originally published in Great Britain by Macmillan 2011) at my local bookstore. I was browsing for some inspiration and I found some with this book! I was so impressed by this very strong story paired with these very strong illustrations… Together they made MAGIC for me! (That’s the sweet spot all of us illustrators and writers strive for).

This is a story of switched fates blamed on good AND bad fairies (although there are no fairies in this book at all). As events unfold, the characters come to conclusions based on books like Sleeping Beauty, Thumbelina, The Prince and the Pauper, The Frog Prince, and Puss in Boots. This book is funny and serious with a large theme of fate and things working out for the better even if by accident or not.


This book (which is now on my favorites list) is unusually long for a modern picture book. I only noticed because I counted about 800-900 words. But I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. It flows so seamlessly with perfect exciting pace, and didn’t once feel long. With that being said, my 2-year-old got antsy, but I was glued! The length and the humor is probably best for 4-5 year-olds.


I like to compare stories I like to the “picture book structure guidelines” I learned from a webinar instructed by literary agent, Mary Kole. These guidelines seem strict to me, but more often than not, I see that she is usually correct. This story doesn’t follow her formula perfectly until spreads 9-11 where the stakes rise, then climax at spread 12, and spreads 13 and 14 are the resolution pages. This book also is dead on with Mary’s statement that a picture book is usually 14.5 spreads.


So, as you can see, I just had to add this book to my collection! This is a great find and a great book!

Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author