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14:14 PB ELEMENT – I Wonder Why Creepy-Crawlies – PATTERNS

February 16, 2015

Non-fiction picture books differ from picture books–by definition, of course.  But there are other ways they differ as well. The way that picture book elements apply, and are effective, differ somewhat for the facts, figures, history, and information that are provided.

Creepy-Crawlies 1While I can’t seem to put my finger on just how they differ in that aspect, I kinda get a sense of it from today’s title.

I Wonder Why, Creepy-Crawlies
Karen Wallace, author
illustrated by Tudor Humphries
(c) 2008, Kingfisher (Henry Holt & Co.)

(703 words, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 3.8)

Wallace and illustrator Humphries have come together on a fun topic to deliver a delightful eye and mind pleaser smack full of fun facts. From publisher Kingfisher (an imprint of Henry Holt & Co.)  in a series called “I Wonder Why” comes “Creepy-Crawlies.”

With the first page definition through six more sections, this book uses, in a unique way, the picture book element of PATTERNS.  Imagine the surprise of a young reader when he turns past the contents page to discover a bug-littered spread with a half-page of questions leaping outward!

Yes, the pattern here is physical, not just in the text or story.  I immediately was impressed with the idea of half-pages with questions jutting out between the spread. A quick peek behind the question page reveals the answers to common questions that a kid may have about the creepy-crawly being featured.

Sure, the text employs patterns as well. Expected Q&A’s per critter–‘three’ questions per critter, “three” answers per critter.  Numbered.  A reliable pattern, surrounded by easily anticipated full-bleed, full-color, labeled illustrations.

When I leave the Ladybugs pages, I can expect the same on the Ants pages.  Same on the Spiders pages. Same on the Butterflies pages.Creepy-Crawlies 2

While I’m not sure I’d know what to call this pattern combination, perhaps the publishers have coined the proper term. It’s in the corner of the cover:  “flip the flaps.”

I like it.  The patterns mentally engage the reader (setting up expectations) and physically engage the reader (flipping the flaps).

What kinds of patterns have you seen that are uniquely done?  Are they effective for the content and/or the story? Share your comments.

 (See a list of other reviewers posts in Christi’s latest post at Write Wild.)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2015 1:31 am

    Damon…what a beautiful book…and so perfect to show the element of patterns…thanks for sharing it in Christie’s great picture book challenge.

  2. ManjuBeth permalink
    February 17, 2015 6:15 am

    I like how this book engages young readers by being interactive with the flap.

    • February 17, 2015 11:18 am

      It was a nice surprise and I’m curious if it was the author’s or publisher’s idea.

      • February 19, 2015 8:27 pm

        I was wondering the same thing about the flaps! In fact, I’ve written a PB that I envision as having flaps, but I’m wondering, can I even suggest that when I send it out? And if I do, what is the best way to go about that — putting it in the query letter? in the manuscript itself? I too think that the flaps will keep the reader engaged!

  3. February 17, 2015 2:47 pm

    This book looks really exciting. Yet another to share with the grandbabies. Thanks Damon!

  4. Christie Wright Wild permalink
    February 17, 2015 3:31 pm

    I love you mentioned that the pattern is reliable and expected once established. For each animal, questions and answers with a pattern of 3, too. Great book to exemplify patterns!

  5. February 18, 2015 4:08 pm

    Non-fiction picture books are a great way for kids to learn in a fun way. This book looks liek a good teaching tool as well as just a nice book for curious kids to read on their own. And the illustrations are lovely.

    The use of pattern in this book gives it a bit more structure I guess. Now I am wondering how many other non-fic pic books also utilize pattern.

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