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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mine! by Shutta Crum (A) & Patrice Barton (I)

In a good picture book, the pictures are just as important for telling the story. It's what makes picture books one of the most difficult to write. In Mine, Shutta Crum, a veteran of picture books has done it again, along with Illustrator Patrice Barton. With one word, Shutta tells a story that young children will enjoy and can "read" to their adults. Barton effectively collaborates with Shutta's concept and creates high quality images that makes the story moving "along" with the core text.

While parents of young children will love this book because their child(ren) can take over the reading, authors are also winners with this book. Aspiring authors of picture books will find this book a seminal text for understanding how economy of words is critical to storytelling with pictures. Show don't tell is the guide to this story, and makes for interesting study of word choice to move forward an idea.

What some people don't realize is that the author constructs the story and how it arcs. They craft the concept and themes. The illustrator takes the text and concept to create the pictures to "show" the story. Not easy.

Picture books such as Mine! is a great tool to explicitly show aspiring authors that each word must have an important role in the story. Otherwise, delete. From the perspective of teaching writing styles, Mine! should take its place along with among others John Jakes, Maya Angelou, and Ernest Hemmingway.